Re: The Netscape / Microsoft / Future Quagmire

F. E. Potts (fepotts@fepco.com)
Tue, 22 Oct 1996 09:04:19 -0600


Date: Tue, 22 Oct 1996 09:04:19 -0600
From: fepotts@fepco.com (F. E. Potts)
Message-Id: <96Oct22.090523mdt.18433@gw2.fepco.com>
To: pflynn@curia.ucc.ie
Subject: RE: The Netscape / Microsoft / Future Quagmire
Cc: www-html@w3.org

Within this thread, somebody said: 
> When choosing a certain company, they are more likely to quickly
> leave a page which contains only text, and stays behind the times.

And on Tue, 22 Oct 1996 05:02:26 -0600, Peter Flynn responded:
> Absolutely, which is why graphics play such an important part, both
> in attraction and in ergonomics, and especially on the front page.
> But once you pass the portal, it's uncertain which keeps the visitor
> at the site: the hardcore info or the glitzy graphics. My money's on
> the information every time, and especially on its reusability.

It seems to me that Peter is correct about this.  On my public service
site (which currently contains 159 pages), I use three graphics on the
index.html page to set the mood of the site, and one graphic on the
noframe TOC page for the book that is the site's main content.  Beyond
this, only one of the associated articles has graphics (2) on its main
page.  All the other pages are pure text, and for the book (53
illustrations) and the articles (3 illustrations), each illustration is
contained on a separate page with its own caption and credits (where
required).  Along with this, the illustrations also have their own
TOC.

This type of structure permits those with slow connections, or those
using UAs like lynx, to access the content quickly and easily (and the
site's main reason for existence _is_ its content).

For those who are interested in the illustrations (the book also has
links in each chapter to it's relevant illustrations), the Illustration
TOC seems to help greatly, for the site's daily logs show that it is
much used.

These pages are available to all types of UAs, and, though written
using 3.2, seem to work reasonably well.

Beyond that, I have a 2nd (and separate) frame TOC for the book for
those who like to use frames.  This frame page is just a TOC which
links to the 48 chapters or sections of the book (using target="_top"
:-), and so provides the advantages of a more compact TOC (than the
normal TOC) without the disadvantages of frames as they are usually
implemented.

What it all gets down to (in at least this person's view) is that
content is what is of primary importance (for otherwise, why bother?),
with presentation serving the auxiliary function of making the site
easy to use and navigate.  Taking care with all the elements that go
into a site's makeup is of real importance, for they impact the site's
usability.  And usability should be the key goal in our site
_designs_.

-fep

--
fepotts@fepco.com
http://www.fepco.com/