Appearance and Content

Jason O'Brien (jaobrien@fttnet.com)
Mon, 21 Oct 96 12:41:00 CDT


From: "Jason O'Brien" <jaobrien@fttnet.com>
To: "'www'" <www-html-request@w3.org>, "'www_list'" <www-html@w3.org>
Subject: Appearance and Content
Date: Mon, 21 Oct 96 12:41:00 CDT
Message-ID: <326BB5EB@smtpgate.ftt.com>


Peter Flynn writes:
 ----------
From:  Peter Flynn[SMTP:curia.ucc.ie!pflynn@uunet]
Sent:  Saturday, October 19, 1996 4:39 PM
To:  jaobrien
Cc:  www-html
Subject:  RE: The Netscape / Microsoft / Future Quagmire


>This is because you design your pages with appearance only in mind.
>Many of us design pages for _content_, which needs to transcend
>appearance if it is to prove durable and persistent. I cannot afford
>the luxury (and nor can my clients) of restricting their market to
>users of a specific browser.

I do not design my pages with appearance in mind -- it's content first
(believe me, I'm a free-lance writer as well as web designer and I know   
    

what's important) and then appearance -- however, I do give great weight   
    

to appearance as well -- let me give you an example of a situation :

You're walking around hungry as can be and decide you want a nice chicken   
    

sandwich and fries -- you walk up and see two restaurants -- both have
signs outside saying how great their chicken sandwiches and fry specials   
    

are and they are both charging the same price for this entire meal -- so   
    

your decision has to be made on appearance.   You open to the door to
Restaurant #1 -- the floors are dirty, there are only a couple of seats   
    

so the place looks very barren, the place smells bad, smoke fills the
air, and the rating sheet shows a 52.  You close the door.

You open the door to Restaurant #2 -- a person is there to greet you
right away -- the air smells good, there are plenty of seats, light music   
    

is playing the background, the place is spotless, and the rating on the   
    

sheet shows a 99.

Now you tell me which restaurant you choose.

No different with web pages -- it's a known fact that people have a
better chance of exploring your web site if it's appearance "grabs" them   
    

 -- when you're dealing with corporate sites and competition, that's a
very important thing.   A potential customer will get a good feeling
going to a page designed by a company that has an interesting style, is   
    

designed with nice graphics, offers a lot of new features, AND of course   
    

offers a lot of good textual detail of their products and services.
  When choosing a certain company, they are more likely to quickly leave   
    

a page which contains only text, and stays behind the times.
As another example, imagine being a manager trying to hire someone for a   
very important position -- two people apply -- both are highly qualified   
and can fulfill the requirements of the job --

Person #1's resume looks something like this:

Resume of Personks #1
I am lookingfora job as listed intherhecent newspaireseeexperience belwie   
 --

Even forgetting the spelling errors, if the text was not formatted   
properly, how would you ever pick this one?   Now if the other one had   
centered text, with bold text separating different sections, justified   
text and margins, now who's going to get the job?   They both have the   
same content -- the appearance made the difference.   If there is to be a   
future for HTML, it must advance into more advanced and polished   
features, which everyone must incorporate as a standard -- otherwise, it   
will never work, and these arguments will go on and on.

Sorry for the food example -- it must be time for lunch..

Jason O'Brien
jaobrien@fttnet.com