a file written while drunk on vodka
i constantly see home pages with a lurid background graphic and text over
the top in a colour you can't read. Did the page's creator not look at the
page they'd created? What's the point of a page you can't read? i'm reasonably
tolerant - i'll highlight the page and read it that way. Most people don't
even know how to do that... so, what's the solution? You've got to make your
page display in a way that will be readable at the lowest common denominator.
maybe that sounds a little warm'n'fuzzy but it's true. i can't say that i
normally give a shit about the lowest common denominator, in fact my friends
can vouch for how low my opinion of the masses is. But that aside, you've
got to think about the lowest common denonminator when you design your pages.
We're talking about good web design.
While this is something i think about as soon as i put cursor to Qedit, most
people seem not to notice how bad their html is... EVER. They happily put
it online and then wonder why they get about 2 hits a month.
SO... What do you need to design good html?
- THOUGHT. You need to think about what you want the page to look like before
you start coding the html. Then you have to think about whether this works
or not. Sit back and have a look... can you read it? Could an idiot find
all the links? (apart from those you want to hide of course :))
- PATIENCE. You need to work at it until you achieve the look you want.
It's no use having a good idea if you get the shits when it doesn't work
straight away. You may need to work on it for a few hours, across a couple
of days. It may come out just right first go, but it probably won't.
- AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE MEDIUM. You need to understand the medium you're
using... ie web browsers, or html if you prefer to think of it that way.
It's an electronic medium, a silicon dream that needs a browser to be seen.
So, you have to think about the way your page is going to come out when
John Doe views it through MSIE(sucks). People will persist in using crap
proggies, but what can you do. [A confession here - i support people
using Lynx, but i haven't tested my page in it. My humblest apologies to
any lynx users who view my page.]
- NEVER USE INTERNAL BROWSERS. They just don't seem to work the same way
as any other browsers that you may actually use. I don't know why exactly,
but the pages always look different.
- UNDERSTAND THE LIMITATIONS. Internet is still used through modems... i
for instance still use my 14.4k internal. This is not a fast connection
anymore! You can't use loads of graphics on your page and expect people
with slow modems or low bandwidth to wait forever while it loads. People
don't have that much patience - there are thousands of pages out there.
If yours takes too long to load they'll spin on to the next one. Besides
this... there are heaps of things you can do just using code. You can achieve
many interesting looks without having to use anything other than pure html
code. (Naturally, the exception is photo/graphics pages, which by definition
will be graphics heavy.)
- DON'T FORCE THINGS ON YOUR AUDIENCE. Don't embed huge audio files, have
your page spawn new windows or trap people inside frames. People will get
pissed off. One thing i am guilty of is using fonts in my code... well,
bite me, i've provided the fonts. Half the people who look at my page will
probably want them anyway (if they don't already have them).
- MUSIC. Good music. Listen while you code...
- VODKA? :)
© heretic 1998