Re: The Netscape / Microsoft / Future Quagmire

Scott E. Preece (preece@predator.urbana.mcd.mot.com)
Mon, 21 Oct 1996 16:09:56 -0500


Date: Mon, 21 Oct 1996 16:09:56 -0500
Message-Id: <199610212109.QAA17048@predator.urbana.mcd.mot.com>
From: "Scott E. Preece" <preece@predator.urbana.mcd.mot.com>
To: murray@spyglass.com
CC: jaobrien@fttnet.com, www-html@w3.org
In-reply-to: murray@spyglass.com's message of Mon, 21 Oct 1996 16:18:17 -0500
Subject: Re: The Netscape / Microsoft / Future Quagmire

 From: murray@spyglass.com (Murray Altheim)
| 
| >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
| 
| It's not a well-known fact, it's an example of pure marketing crap. People
| go to some sites for entertainment, but I would argue that most are looking
| for CONTENT. A well-designed site can pull in readers by having
| well-presented content; it doesn't take flashing lights. If the content
| suffers at the hands of being obscured by featuritis, or by not being able
| to view it due to incompatibilities or because one's machine isn't up to
| par, then they don't come back at all.
---

It's not all marketing crap.  Appearance *does* count and not all
attention to appearance is vanity or flash.  Each site has an intended
audience and an intended message to send to that audience.  In some
cases the best approach is pure data (when I go to American's flight
schedule page, I don't need anything back but the data, preferably as
quickly as possible and in a form that is easy to cut and paste into my
notes).  Other sites are meant to convey messages beyond data, about the
style and values of the organization or product the site represents
(when I'm choosing a hotel, pictures of the view, the rooms, and the
fitness center may be much more useful to me than a text description and
a well-designed map may be much more useful than textual instructions
for getting there).  Other sites are meant to provide information that
has no reasonable text analog (when I go to a software vendor's site, I
want to see screen shots, not descriptions of features).

In each case, the CONTENT is qualitatively different.  Good designers
consider their audience, their sponsor's goals, and the technological
realities in designing a site.  Not all flair is flash.  Not all content
can be provided in ASCII text.  Not all information can be meaningfully
presented to people with sight or hearing problems.

---
| Why is it that some people assume that their content is so important that
| they think a viewer is willing TO BUY A NEW COMPUTER TO READ IT? Simply
| amazing.
---

I doubt many providers would say they expected anyone to buy a new
machine to access their site.  I also question how large a percentage of
the net user community would need to buy a machine to access any
particular site.  Providers can, however, reasonably expect that the
average capability of the machines accessing their sites will increase
with time.  They can also expect that people buying new machines will
want to see the benefits of the power they have paid for, making
advanced features a selling point for some potential customers.

scott

--
scott preece
motorola/mcg urbana design center	1101 e. university, urbana, il   61801
phone:	217-384-8589			  fax:	217-384-8550
internet mail:	preece@urbana.mcd.mot.com