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Re: Web Site is up!!



On Tue, 18 Apr 2000 20:31:48 Derek Lyons <elde@HURRICANE.NET> wrote:
> It's not as hard as most believe to design for the most common monitors /
> browsers.  On my 14 inch 800x600 with Netscape 4.5 the site is a horror...
> And that's very near the most common combination on the web.  (Based on
> anecdotal evidence (for monitor size) and my site statistics program.)  The
> problem is usually the web designer is more stuck on a cool design than on
> functionality.
>
> It's actually easy to avoid most problems...  Don't use layers, avoid style
> sheets, and don't use DIV ABSOLUTE.  The website in question could have
> been done without all these things and still look as outstanding.

Being the web editor of several pages, but by no means a web expert, it can
sometimes be very difficult to combine design with functionality.  In my
opinion, functionality has to be foremost if you want a broad audience to look
at your pages.  But this does not mean you have to give up style.  If your pages
don't look good, then who wants to view them anyway?

I think browser and platform are more important to test than monitor size and
resolution.  I am fortunate to have a 19" monitor which makes editing web pages
very easy.  But in one of my final checks, I change my screen resolution to
640x480, which represents the lowest common demoninator for screen
size/resolution.  So when designing, I try to keep pages within this size,
especially the width.  It is easier to scroll down to read text than to scroll
across.

The thing that will screw up your design the most is browser and platform,
though.  What looks good in Internet Explorer on my Mac may not look good in
Netscape on my Mac.  I then will try both browsers on Windows and find that it
looks even more screwy.  Macs and Windows dispay elements different, such as
type, which is displayed larger in Windows than on the Mac (96 dots per inch vs.
72 dpi).  So then it is back to the drawing board (or the web editor) and I try
it again and check it again.

When you get to Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), I have found that over 95% of
browsers visiting my site and the GBW site support them.  The problem is how
they support them.  Not every CSS command is supported in either browser,
especially the older versions.  But CSS is a great way to make sure your design
looks (almost) consistent across browsers and platforms.  One good site to learn
more about CSS and which also explains which commands work on what
browsers/platforms is on Webmonkey.  The specific article on CSS can be found
at:
http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/authoring/stylesheets/tutorials/tutorial1.ht
ml
The entire Webmonkey site is worth looking at for web designers.

And last, but not least, browsers are customizable.  You can turn off CSS or
Javascript or graphics or change the size/style of text or any other number of
elements.  If you are a web designer and have never looked at the Preferences
(or Options or Properties) set up for your browser and see how much of your
design can be lost when a viewer decides to supercede your HTML code.

So, in a nutshell, if you don't loose your mind designing web pages, you will
certainly come close.  Try to keep you pages clean and simple but make them
stand out in ways that all will be able to see.

Eric

*******************************************
 Eric Alstrom         Hanover, NH
 Guild of Book Workers WebBinder
 http://palimpsest.stanford.edu/byorg/gbw/
 GBWweb@dartmouth.edu
*******************************************

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