> > I'd have to agree with Terry about this point. I do actually think that
> > an increasing percentage of pages will not be authored using WYSIWYG
> > tools, but that being said, our experience with Word is consistant with
> > Terry's comments. 90% of Word users don't use styles because it requires
> > a top down systemic model for authoring that doesn't come naturally to
> > them.  That doesn't mean that Styles are a bad idea, just that it is
> > hard to show that Styles improve an authoring UI's usability.
> But, just like my experience with Word, small documents can survive without
> style, but long and complex documents make the overhead work required to set
> up the styles pay off in the long run.
> Likewise, making a stylesheet for a small web page will be too tiresome when
> one can simply put a STYLE attribute somewhere and be done with it.
> BUT, if you're planning something in the large site range, you'll need a
> stylesheet to retain your sanity.

The "average" user doesn't use the styles in Word. Neither would the
"average" web page author creating a single web document. However,
we are moving into the age where the "average" person does far more
than author a single document. 

It isn't uncommon for someone to post meeting minutes on an Intranet
week after week. It isn't uncommon for people to post a personal
FAQ to save themselves from phone call interruptions. It isn't uncommon
for a person to have to write a status report every week in Word.
And lastly it isn't uncommon for people to attach signature files
to every email (automagically of course).

These things are related. They are all communication. Stylesheets
(whether in Word or HTML) are just another automated communication
technique like a signature that the "average" person would benefit from 
if they knew that it existed and how to achieve it. Of course I
do believe that the "average" person is far more likely to pick
from a stylesheet library (akin to a template library) instead of
"rolling their own". But the general concept is that, at this point
it is creation of a generic library and education that should be
done to bring "automated communication enhancements" to the awareness
of the "average" person.

Arguing about what they may do today only solves the issue for the next
24 hours (or a few months of time). Enlightening them on how efficient
they can be is much more effective in the long run. I does take 
time to teach people to do things well, but it is time well spent.

I personally spend considerable time educating managers and executives
on the "lifecycle of information", teaching them that a document isn't
"done" the day that you put it on the web. Like software, that document
requires maintenance and cleanup as the information and the need for
that information evolves. It is a mindset change, but if we want to
have real information on the web - not a huge pile of data that has
become worthless through inflation (data inflation that is - print
more data and each piece becomes worth less just like money) we must
work towards adding structure, both presentationally and meta-information

Mary E. S. Morris
Idealist Extrodinaire

Received on Monday, 12 May 1997 12:46:50 UTC