RE: Good Design

I appreciate your response and replies -- see my comments interspersed :

From:  Murray Altheim[]
Sent:  Monday, October 21, 1996 5:29 PM
To:  jaobrien
Cc:  www-html
Subject:  Good Design: [Was: The Netscape / Microsoft / Future Quagmire]

Jason O'Brien <> writes:
>The main page hooks them in through appearance and the rest is pure
>content -- a plainly designed main page wouldn't bring anybody in --

Well, you asked...

Might I recommend validating this page. The comment directly before   
should start with "<!--" and end with "-->", not as you have it now "<!!   
your comment -- !!>". You also need to quote attribute value literals   
have plus signs in them, such as "+4". ABSCENTER is unknown to me, and   
have several other small errors (well, about 30, but due to only a few
problems such as CENTER closing your paragraphs -- try align=center
attributes instead).

Yes I do agree that ALIGN=CENTER is better --

I don't really mean to be hard on you, but do you really have the rights   
all of those photos?

These are public domain photos --

In terms of good design, there's a lot of
inconsistencies in font size, the buttons are overly large, you have red
text on black background, your graphics are overly pixelated, etc.

Font size inconsistencies are not a bad thing -- in fact, I believe they   
help separate lots of different text by varying the size -- overly large   
buttons tend to help people with smaller pixel size to their screens, and   
I guess red on black is a personal preference -- it's not used throughout   
the main page -- simply for a bolded title bar which I think looks good   
on the black background -- you probably have a good argument on the   
graphics --

backgrounds are considered rather out-of-style now.

Where is this written?   I think black backgrounds can be very stylistic   
when used properly -- I don't think for in-depth readings (like the   
essays that make up the majority of that page) that black works well at   
all -- that's why all those essays are on white background.

If you had used
hypertext links rather than graphic buttons (which don't have ALT
attributes, so handicapped users can't navigate them),

I do provide hypertext links to the same material just below the image   
links -- and yes, ALT is needed -- thank you for pointing that one out.

it'd probably look
better, load faster, and be easier to maintain. And if your pages are   
browseable with older browser versions, why are you telling people to
upgrade? I take it (with your left-leaning politics) that you might mind
playing the corporate pawn, providing free advertising to large corporate

I don't look at it as free advertising -- like I stated before in   
postings, I look at the web and where it's going, and I truly feel that,   
like or not, and believe me I don't like it, MS and Netscape will be the   
future of what people will refer to as the Internet.   My pages look best   
under those environments, thus I provide links and buttons for these two   
 -- I do not feel I am a corporate pawn by any means -- I simply look at   
the software, and can anyone out there deny that MSIE 3.0 is a very good   
product (and write-ups on MSIE 4.0 look even better) besides the fact   
that it does not support standards -- I wouldn't care if Joe Bob came out   
with a browser -- if it's a good product, it's worth supporting, and I   
would tell people so -- it's not the company I want to promote, it's the   
quality of the product.

If people are interested in your content, they will be interested in your
content regardless of how you spruce it up. Look at the Green Party:   
a pretentious lot, are they? Glitz might turn off your readers. Your page
is about 8.5K of HTML followed by 34 images files (155K) taking up about
320K of space in my cache. One of your 8.5K HTML pages is taking up 1/3MB
on my hard disk! I don't need to tell you how long that would take to   
on a modem.

You have a good point --

Note that the favorable comments you receive are by nature biased. You   
hear from those who care enough to comment, and then only those motivated
to bother writing. It's a terrible but widely used choice for filters of
public opinion.

I understand that -- I know that most people visiting a page don't take   
the time to write anything to comment --

Jason, I'm really not trying to hammer on you, but good design isn't
glitzy. Look at how clean most advertising is nowadays; compare that with   
goofy carpet or auto-dealer ad on VHF television. What do you aspire to?

I never meant to imply that good design had to be glitzy.   I was talking   
about appearance, and a good design with good graphics, and any other   
features, make a page stand up above the rest -- that would apply to any   
area of business -- it's what makes you stand up above the rest that   
counts -- because it's always appearance first that gets people, only   
then do they delve in to find out more.

I do appreciate your comments and the time you took to look over that   
page --

Jason O'Brien

Received on Tuesday, 22 October 1996 10:03:55 UTC