Re: Web Page Appearance

Subject: Re: Web Page Appearance
From: Matt Ion <soundy -at- NEXTLEVEL -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 18 Jan 1997 18:50:49 -0800

On Sat, 18 Jan 1997 15:36:10 -0600, Kristine J. Olberg wrote:

>> Regardless, as I browse the Web I've been noticing a consistent pattern:
>> flashy graphics and crummy typography. For example, em dashes and curly
>> quotes seem to be unavailable. Or are the people creating Web pages
>> ignorant of their use? Is this a limitation of HTML, or other?
>
>HTML, for HyperText Markup Language, was not designed (originally) to
>support formal publication practices with respect to typography and page
>layout. Regardless, many web makers stretch it to the limit to get it to do
>even simple document elements such as tables with rules, etc. It does
>support characters such as em dashes, but one needs to know the appropriate
>"code" for the em dash if coding raw HTML, or one needs to know how to
>create the em dash in the software used to generate HTML. If my memory
>serves me right, the code is either &em; or &151; -- not exactly user
>friendly.

It's also very dependant on the client side's browser and system setup.
"Special" characters don't always show up the same (if at all),
especially if the person viewing them is using a different codepage or
different language support. I go to some pages that are SUPPOSED to
have, say, a "registered trademark" symbol, that instead show a
high-bit "IBM graphic" character.

>In addition, many who publish on the web are ignorant of common typography.
>We should expect that to happen in a medium where everybody can be a
>publisher.

Yep.

>Regarding graphics, we're still seeing alot of "newness" in which web
>publishers are still fascinated with creating graphics and animations.

Many of those seem to be created and tested only on the author's local
machine, as well, with no regard for people loading them over links as
slow as 9600bps; graphics are huge, expansive, and often full 24-bit,
making for page transfer times counted in minutes rather than seconds.
Of course, the user can disable image loading, but chances are the
author has also neglected to use <ALT> tags or make any kind of
compensation for those without graphics-capable browsers.

Your friend and mine,
Matt
<insert standard disclaimer here>
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