Re: Web Page Design

Subject: Re: Web Page Design
From: David Locke <locke -at- SUGAR-LAND -dot- ANADRILL -dot- SLB -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 8 Nov 1996 15:58:53 +0000

At 04:39 PM 11/8/96 -400, you wrote:

>One of the hardest things about web page design is to recognize that
>"screenful" doesn't really have any meaning for public access HTML
>pages. People viewing the page could be operating a variety of
>different platforms, screen resolutions, and browser window sizes. A
>page that just fills the screen at 640 X 480 is woefully sparse at
>1024 X 768, and that doesn't even take into account the user
>adjustments in base font and header font sizes.

>There's a lot of usability research yet to be done on best practices
>for HTML presentation.

You can specify your ideal browser configuration on the page itself. other
approaches would be to capture the browser's type (not easy, see c|net site)
and setting (maybe not even possible) and generating a page from your server
that matches to those specifications (easiest of the three).

Best practices will break down along the same lines that divided the
hypercard community years ago. To scroll, or not to scroll. The fact is that
HTML pages come under the heading nothing new under the sun. If you did
multimedia back before the web, you can do it now without changing how
things get done.

The problem is that to scroll means that you ignore a major part of the
headaches inherent in hypertext. Not that you actually can, just that you
will. Discipline is better than a lack of it.

The scroll community has its own advocates in the HTML community as well.
They have found that a narrow column of centered text is the easiest to read
when scrolling. And, experience with online editing shows us that if you
can't read it, you can always improve readability by shortening the line
length. I think that the sites that make my eyes glaze over are the ones
with wall to wall text.

I'm not choosing sides here, just delineating some of the argument.

Locke -at- sugar-land -dot- anadrill -dot- slb -dot- com
Engineering - Drilling Information Products
200 Gillingham Ln. Voice: 281 285 4722
Sugar Land, TX 77487 Fax: 281 285 8098

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