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Design difference Firefox<->IE

roN
Hi,

I'm creating a Website with divs and i do have some troubles, to make it
looking the same way in Firefox and IE (tested with IE7). I checked it with
the e3c validator and it says: "
This Page Is Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional!" but it still wouldn't look the
same.
It is on http://www.dvdnowkiosks.com/new/theproduct.php scroll down and
recognize the black bottom bar when you go ewith firefox(2.0) which isn't
there with IE7. Why does it appear in ff?
Thank you for suggestions!

PS: Yeah, I know. I took dirty Dreamweaver as help to design this
div-layered page. It was a quick and dirty solution and i try to get it done
nicely/cleanly by hand now... thank you for your help!

roN
Dec 14 '06 #1
17 4539

roN wrote:
I'm creating a Website with divs
Good idea, but in point of fact you're not. That page is crappy old
1990's markup, with mis-used <table>, the stretchy spacer GIF and
Dreamweevil's favourite JS-rollovers. There is some CSS, but it's badly
thought out and adds little to the page, other than partial colour
settings and inappropriate font sizes.

Typical Dreamweevil output, in fact.
i do have some troubles, to make it
looking the same way in Firefox and IE (tested with IE7).
Why would you want to do that? Will you also insist that I buy a
smaller monitor, so that I can share the same tiny-screen experience as
others?

This is the Web. You the site publisher offer "documents" and I, the
viewer, feed those into my favourite display device and make the best I
can of them - according to the particular foibles of my chosen display.
Right now I'm looking at them on a desktop, last night I was web
browsing on my phone. dorayme of course uses the Standard Martian Sign
Language and a typical 14-tentacle touch browser. I don't _want_ them
all to be the same (particularly the tentacle sign for
"display:inline-probe;" )

Get off this whole "Must look identical everywhere" bandwagon. It's a
bad idea, it's incredibly hard work, it's usually impossible, and the
only person who will even notice is a web coder sitting there with two
different browsers open alongside each other.

Why _should_ it look identical? _WHY_ ?

Design instead so that "it works everywhere". This is a lot broader,
and a lot easier, target to achieve.

This Page Is Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional!" but it still wouldn't look the
same.
"Looks the same" depends on a whole lot more than mere validity,
although it's a good start.

I would question though why you're using either XHTML or Transitional.
Do it in 4.01 Strict instead.

PS: Yeah, I know. I took dirty Dreamweaver as help to design this
div-layered page. It was a quick and dirty solution and i try to get it done
nicely/cleanly by hand now...
It's quicker and easier to do it the easy way first. Much cheaper too.

Dec 14 '06 #2
On Wednesday 13 December 2006 20:59, roN [ex*****@example.com] wrote in
message <tQZfh.473016$1T2.16636@pd7urf2no>
Hi,

I'm creating a Website with divs and i do have some troubles, to make it
looking the same way in Firefox and IE (tested with IE7). I checked it
with the e3c validator and it says: "
This Page Is Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional!" but it still wouldn't look the
same.
It is on http://www.dvdnowkiosks.com/new/theproduct.php scroll down and
recognize the black bottom bar when you go ewith firefox(2.0) which isn't
there with IE7. Why does it appear in ff?
Thank you for suggestions!
Add style="margin-top:0" within the opening <ptag which contains the
bottom.png image. This can be done inline (as below) or in a stylesheet.

<td colspan="3"><p align="left" style="margin-top:0"><img
src="images/bottom.png" alt="bottom" width="819" height="74" /></p>

If you have Firefox2 you should also be able to install the excellent web
developer tools which, among other things, allows you to highlight various
page elements. It helps a lot with page layouts not behaving how you
expected.
Dec 14 '06 #3
On 2006-12-13, roN <ex*****@example.comwrote:
Hi,

I'm creating a Website with divs and i do have some troubles, to make it
looking the same way in Firefox and IE (tested with IE7). I checked it with
the e3c validator and it says: "
This Page Is Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional!" but it still wouldn't look the
same.
It is on http://www.dvdnowkiosks.com/new/theproduct.php scroll down and
recognize the black bottom bar when you go ewith firefox(2.0) which isn't
there with IE7. Why does it appear in ff?
It's the default margin on the <paround the <imgelement. Either set
that p's margin to 0, or just get rid of the <paltogether.

Then you will notice the width of the image at the bottom doesn't quite
match the width of the stuff above it the way Dreamweevil obviously
intended it to. But I expect you'll sort that out along with doing it
nicely/cleanly by hand :)
PS: Yeah, I know. I took dirty Dreamweaver as help to design this
div-layered page. It was a quick and dirty solution and i try to get it done
nicely/cleanly by hand now... thank you for your help!

roN
Dec 14 '06 #4
roN
"Andy Dingley" <di*****@codesmiths.comwrote in message
news:11*********************@73g2000cwn.googlegrou ps.com...
>
roN wrote:
>I'm creating a Website with divs

Good idea, but in point of fact you're not. That page is crappy old
1990's markup, with mis-used <table>, the stretchy spacer GIF and
Dreamweevil's favourite JS-rollovers. There is some CSS, but it's badly
thought out and adds little to the page, other than partial colour
settings and inappropriate font sizes.

Typical Dreamweevil output, in fact.
>i do have some troubles, to make it
looking the same way in Firefox and IE (tested with IE7).

Why would you want to do that? Will you also insist that I buy a
smaller monitor, so that I can share the same tiny-screen experience as
others?

This is the Web. You the site publisher offer "documents" and I, the
viewer, feed those into my favourite display device and make the best I
can of them - according to the particular foibles of my chosen display.
Right now I'm looking at them on a desktop, last night I was web
browsing on my phone. dorayme of course uses the Standard Martian Sign
Language and a typical 14-tentacle touch browser. I don't _want_ them
all to be the same (particularly the tentacle sign for
"display:inline-probe;" )

Get off this whole "Must look identical everywhere" bandwagon. It's a
bad idea, it's incredibly hard work, it's usually impossible, and the
only person who will even notice is a web coder sitting there with two
different browsers open alongside each other.

Why _should_ it look identical? _WHY_ ?

Design instead so that "it works everywhere". This is a lot broader,
and a lot easier, target to achieve.

>This Page Is Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional!" but it still wouldn't look
the
same.

"Looks the same" depends on a whole lot more than mere validity,
although it's a good start.

I would question though why you're using either XHTML or Transitional.
Do it in 4.01 Strict instead.

>PS: Yeah, I know. I took dirty Dreamweaver as help to design this
div-layered page. It was a quick and dirty solution and i try to get it
done
nicely/cleanly by hand now...

It's quicker and easier to do it the easy way first. Much cheaper too.
]Yeah I like your posting, can i give your # to my boss ;)
Thank you, it might help for future development! (I'm sure he likes to
design me something again one day... ;) )
Dec 14 '06 #5
In article
<11*********************@73g2000cwn.googlegroups.c om>,
"Andy Dingley" <di*****@codesmiths.comwrote:
dorayme of course uses the Standard Martian Sign
Language and a typical 14-tentacle touch browser. I don't _want_ them
all to be the same (particularly the tentacle sign for
"display:inline-probe;" )
When I came to earth and saw the web sites here, I honestly
thought the (hard-wired) browser machine I brought with me had
gotten heat damaged on the way in... Then it became clear that
not everyone belonged to html newsgroups like this or alt.html
and I stopped hammering it with this bit of 4x2" block of wood I
keep handy...

Get off this whole "Must look identical everywhere" bandwagon. It's a
bad idea, it's incredibly hard work, it's usually impossible, and the
only person who will even notice is a web coder sitting there with two
different browsers open alongside each other.

Why _should_ it look identical? _WHY_ ?
Because of that little tyrant in every earthling psyche...

--
dorayme
Dec 14 '06 #6
"Andy Dingley" <di*****@codesmiths.comwrote in message
news:11*********************@73g2000cwn.googlegrou ps.com...
....
Get off this whole "Must look identical everywhere" bandwagon. It's a
bad idea, it's incredibly hard work, it's usually impossible, and the
only person who will even notice is a web coder sitting there with two
different browsers open alongside each other.

Why _should_ it look identical? _WHY_ ?
Because it's a commercial site. "Identical" means you're able to present the
*exact* impression you want to give and guide the notoriously fickle surfing
consumer along your sales process. When all is said and done a commercial
site's purpose is to drive revenue - not ensure that the most obscure means
of browsing receive equal treatment.

In my case, 99.82% of our site's visitor view using IE, FF/Moz, Netscape,
Safari and Opera. Safe to say not a lot of people are using their
cellphones shopping for $5K vacation packages. I really couldn't care less
about the 0.18% of visitors who arrive other via means. Put bluntly, I'll
happily ignore a cell phone surfer if it means a minisculy better shot at
converting a sale from the next 554 'conventional' visitors to my site. And
the fact the OP's product is B2B-oriented will make my 0.18% look monstrous
compared to the non-PC usage statistics he'll see.

Non-commercial sites (i.e. governmental, research, education, etc.) and a
subset of commercial sites, namely Pagerank 8+ bohemoths, have the luxury of
designing around a "content is king" philosophy. For the rest of us, it's
all in the presentation. The vast majority of sites have about 3 seconds to
instill a sense of confidence in the consumer that *this* is the site
they want to be on. Knowing exactly what 99%+ of your visitors is going to
see makes that 3-second objective infinitely easier.

The consumer doesn't care if your site was handcoded to exact W3 specs or
made in FrontPage 98. They couldn't care less about XHTML, DTD-Strict,
tabled layout versus CSS, etc. Neither should the designer, unless that
designer is working for a client who wants it. Me... I work on my own site
only. I've long abandoned tabled-layouts but I don't care if anything
validates.

I'm always boggled by the number of small business sites I see that boast
all their "Validates In...!!!" links in their footers, yet have a marginal
(at best) call to action.


Dec 14 '06 #7

S.T. wrote:
Why _should_ it look identical? _WHY_ ?

Because it's a commercial site.
Again - Why? What's the commercially valuable advantage that this
conveys?
"Identical" means you're able to present the
*exact* impression you want to give
I've never seen a commercial site that had an "exact impression". To be
pedantic, I've seen an awful lot of _precise_ specification of sites
(.psd is the culprit) and very little _accuracy_ to it. Why is it so
crucial that a border is 3.5pixels wide when it only has that size in
the first place because of the caffeine-twitching mouse of some
pointybearded dezyner. These "decisions" that must be so vitally
preserved aren't even conscious decisions, they're random brushstrokes
in Potatoshop.

Again - you can't do identical, even if you try. FF on my large and
small screen machines varies more than FF vs. IE does. What are you
going to do, open a new fixed-size browser window?

When all is said and done a commercial
site's purpose is to drive revenue - not ensure that the most obscure means
of browsing receive equal treatment.
Yes, do things that are commercial valuable. Pixel-consistency isn't.
Nor is using sloppy techniques that exclude customers you can easily
support with competent standards-based work.

In my case, 99.82% of our site's visitor view using IE, FF/Moz, Netscape,
Safari and Opera.
Sure. 99+% easily, not counting bots. So how many of those use a
Gecko-like renderer and how many are still stuck with a Mosaic
derivative? The discussion here is about differences at that level, not
the obscure stuff. 40% of domestic browsers being FF in some EU
countries, this isn't an ignorable fraction.

>Safe to say not a lot of people are using their
cellphones shopping for $5K vacation packages.
How on earth do you predict that?

Would you be so ready to dismiss $5k short-notice business-class air
travel?
I'll
happily ignore a cell phone surfer if it means a minisculy better shot at
converting a sale from the next 554 'conventional' visitors to my site.
So what evidence do you have that you even _need_ to ignore a mobile
device ?
I'm particularly curious about your logic that deliberately breaking
standards will improve your conversion rates !

Non-commercial sites (i.e. governmental, research, education, etc.) and a
subset of commercial sites, namely Pagerank 8+ bohemoths, have the luxury of
designing around a "content is king" philosophy.
We all have this "luxury". Content is the thing that drives traffic,
damn near the _only_ thing that drives traffic.

There was a famous retail site that established the principle of
"design is king". It was called boo.com

The vast majority of sites have about 3 seconds to
instill a sense of confidence in the consumer that *this* is the site
they want to be on.
Right. So <tablemarkup and a few <font>s is how to do it?
The consumer doesn't care if your site was handcoded to exact W3 specs or
made in FrontPage 98.
The customer cares if it works _for_them_. The way to achieve this is
to use the standards. It's quick, it's cheap, it's applicable to a
broad range of targets and it _works_.

They couldn't care less about XHTML, DTD-Strict,
tabled layout versus CSS, etc. Neither should the designer, unless that
designer is working for a client who wants it.
A designer who doesn't understand this isn't a competent designer.

I'm always boggled by the number of small business sites I see that boast
all their "Validates In...!!!" links in their footers, yet have a marginal
(at best) call to action.
So you claim that bad commercial design is caused by good technical
implementation ? An interesting theory....

Dec 14 '06 #8
In article <45***********************@news.sonic.net>,
"S.T." <an**@anon.comwrote:
"Andy Dingley" <di*****@codesmiths.comwrote in message
news:11*********************@73g2000cwn.googlegrou ps.com...
...
Get off this whole "Must look identical everywhere" bandwagon. It's a
bad idea, it's incredibly hard work, it's usually impossible, and the
only person who will even notice is a web coder sitting there with two
different browsers open alongside each other.

Why _should_ it look identical? _WHY_ ?

Because it's a commercial site. "Identical" means you're able to present the
*exact* impression you want to give and guide the notoriously fickle surfing
consumer along your sales process.
There is a big gap in your argument. Two different website makers
could make equally good websites for a commercial venture. So the
money does not come rolling in just because the spenders see
exactly one thing. Any of a number of things, well made, tailored
to the business, will do. Identity is not a part of this story.
So you need to say more why you think it matters so greatly if
different people on different platforms and browsers and screens
and ISP speed connections have different "experiences". You need
to show how the same (difficult to achieve as AD points out)
experience is so important.

--
dorayme
Dec 14 '06 #9
Andy Dingley wrote:
Good idea, but in point of fact you're not. That page is crappy old
1990's markup, with mis-used <table>, the stretchy spacer GIF and
Dreamweevil's favourite JS-rollovers. There is some CSS, but it's badly
thought out and adds little to the page, other than partial colour
settings and inappropriate font sizes.

Typical Dreamweevil output, in fact.
There's nothing "typical" about poor code, Dreamweaver or otherwise.

A tool is only as good as its operator; like any tool, Dreamweaver
outputs largely what the user tells it to. If the user doesn't
understand basic HTML and CSS as well as the tool itself, the code
output is going to be lacking, generator or not.

(FWIW, a few minutes in Preferences to properly set it up, and DW can
produce HTML as clean as manual coding. You get out of it what you put
into it.)

--

*** Remove the DELETE from my address to reply ***

================================================== ====
Kevin Scholl http://www.ksscholl.com/
ks*****@comcast.DELETE.net
------------------------------------------------------
Information Architecture, Web Design and Development
------------------------------------------------------
We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of
the dreams...
================================================== ====
Dec 14 '06 #10
S.T. wrote:
>
Why _should_ it look identical? _WHY_ ?

Because it's a commercial site.

Again - Why? What's the commercially valuable advantage that this
conveys?
The advantage is time. Opportunity cost. Whatever you want to term it.
>"Identical" means you're able to present the
*exact* impression you want to give

I've never seen a commercial site that had an "exact impression". To be
pedantic, I've seen an awful lot of _precise_ specification of sites
(.psd is the culprit) and very little _accuracy_ to it. Why is it so
crucial that a border is 3.5pixels wide when it only has that size in
the first place because of the caffeine-twitching mouse of some
pointybearded dezyner. These "decisions" that must be so vitally
preserved aren't even conscious decisions, they're random brushstrokes
in Potatoshop.
First off, I have no idea what "dezyner" means.

I'm not worried about a few pixels here and there. If the site isn't
dead-on exact across browsers, doesn't really matter. Safari's giving some
div 2px of margin that other browsers aren't? So what? Provided it doesn't
*look* broken because of that minor shift, not much point worrying about it.
A few pixels here or there is unlikely to make-or-break a surfer's opinion
or experience. Anything that appears broken (i.e. a 2px contrasting streak
across the middle that doesn't look like it belongs there) is a huge cause
for concern as it doesn't convey a sense of reliability and consistency.
Again - you can't do identical, even if you try. FF on my large and
small screen machines varies more than FF vs. IE does. What are you
going to do, open a new fixed-size browser window?
I'm going to design based on an 800x600 browser, which covers 97%+ of my
audience if I trust Google Analystics. These are the glory days of web
design, as opposed to 2001 when 640px still had it's place. 800px is just
about perfect as I can keep a design compact enough to keep various eye-cues
within range of eachother, yet still present content with enough width to
entice (hopefully) reading said content while putting vital navigation
alongside.

Should the browser's width grossly exceed 800px, no problem as design will
still pull the eye where I want it to. Smaller than 800px (or more like
700px, really)... I can rest easy that dominant sites have that surfer used
to such inconveniences (with folks like the L.A. or N.Y. Times taking it a
step further and designing based on 1024)

Bottom line... fluid layouts for competive commercial websites are dead.
Unless you're Amazon.com.
>When all is said and done a commercial
site's purpose is to drive revenue - not ensure that the most obscure
means
of browsing receive equal treatment.

Yes, do things that are commercial valuable. Pixel-consistency isn't.
Nor is using sloppy techniques that exclude customers you can easily
support with competent standards-based work.
What you term "sloppy" is irrelevant. All things being equal, 'clean' code
is preferred over 'sloppy' code. But 99.5%+ of your audience really doesn't
care. If you can whip out a "sloppy" page in two hours using DW versus 4
hours handcoding validating markup, and use those spare two hours focusing
on your layout and visual cues to better your conversions from 2.1% to 2.15%
you're far off better in an economic sense. The overwhelming majority of
your audience uses browsers than can compensate for imperfect markup and
your improvements to marketing is pure gravy. W3C spitting out it's seal of
approval does exactly nothing for your bottom line.
>In my case, 99.82% of our site's visitor view using IE, FF/Moz, Netscape,
Safari and Opera.

Sure. 99+% easily, not counting bots. So how many of those use a
Gecko-like renderer and how many are still stuck with a Mosaic
derivative? The discussion here is about differences at that level, not
the obscure stuff. 40% of domestic browsers being FF in some EU
countries, this isn't an ignorable fraction.
I design so IE6+, FF1+ and Safari-whatever look like I wish. That's some 95%
of my market. I'm not really manipulating the DOM, so I'm fairly
comfortable the other 4.5% is probably right. Cover my bases with Safari
and IE's quirks and it's pretty likely it looks clean across the board.
Again, it's a "choose your battles wisely" situation. I would prefer to
KNOW it looks correct on all modern browsers but I'm not going to test the
padding of every float to ensure it's dead-on for some 0.3% market share
deviant. That time's better spent polishing copy for surfers or adding
content the Slurps and Googlebots will pick up.
>>Safe to say not a lot of people are using their
cellphones shopping for $5K vacation packages.

How on earth do you predict that?

Would you be so ready to dismiss $5k short-notice business-class air
travel?
If I really believed there was an economic model for cell/PDA surfers at my
company (which I don't, but that's not to say it'll always be the case) I'd
develop a WAP site or whatever for it. I've never bothered, but I'm almost
certain between .htaccess, httpd.conf and server-side scripting there's a
very reliable means to deliver content to these users without forcing me to
design for my bread-and-butter surfers under some sort of lowest common
denominator logic.

I've done a couple WML apps before. It's pretty trivial. If I thought the
market was there, I would certainly do it. I've no doubt over time I will,
but there's no way I'm altering presentation for 99.8% of my audience to do
so.
>I'll
happily ignore a cell phone surfer if it means a minisculy better shot at
converting a sale from the next 554 'conventional' visitors to my site.

So what evidence do you have that you even _need_ to ignore a mobile
device ?
I'm particularly curious about your logic that deliberately breaking
standards will improve your conversion rates !
I'm not saying deliberately write code that doesn't validate. I'm saying
there's infinitely better ways for most designers to spend their time than
worrying about W3 bitching you have a <ptag without a closing version.
For all the misery non-uniform browsers put us through, at least take solace
in the fact they all compensate for the minor 'errors' that may exist in our
code and take advantage of that time to better your site's conversion
performance.
>Non-commercial sites (i.e. governmental, research, education, etc.) and a
subset of commercial sites, namely Pagerank 8+ bohemoths, have the luxury
of
designing around a "content is king" philosophy.

We all have this "luxury". Content is the thing that drives traffic,
damn near the _only_ thing that drives traffic.
Content is crap in most business' websites, with the glaring exception of
SEO which requires an ungodly delicate balancing act between the two.

The most profound error most designers make it believing visitors on their
site are interested in their content. They're not. They're skeptical to
begin with and they know exactly where their Back button is. They are on a
site to find an answer or solution to their probelm. And they want that
answer or solution FAST. The designers job is to make it painfully clear
that what they are seeking can be found where they ended up.

If you can detail 99% of a product in 5 paragraphs or 70% of the same
product in 5 bullet points or 5 sentences, you're MUCH better off spitting
out the bullet points, with a small link to 'details' to cover the other 30%
that most consumers will never touch, and getting on to the next step in
solving that consumer's problem.

Why? Because nearly all your audience will never even ponder reading 5
paragraphs despite the fact that your content may be more useful to them
than any other site they'll find on the topic. Unless you're a proven
internet commodity they simply won't risk wasting 75 seconds of their time
for you to prove yourself. THEY WON'T READ IT. Period. Give them 5 bullets
they can read in 12 seconds and you've got a shot. Combine that with visual
cues that you know are in within eyesight of your bullets, and these cues
solve the next next solution or answer they now seek, and you really start
to have a chance for a conversion.

Design some fluid layout that caters to every screen ratio on the planet and
you're now risking them getting the answer to their first question from you
and moving elsewhere to solve their new problem. The surfer has no loyalty
to your site, despite it's ability to answer one question.
There was a famous retail site that established the principle of
"design is king". It was called boo.com

>The vast majority of sites have about 3 seconds to
instill a sense of confidence in the consumer that *this* is the site
they want to be on.

Right. So <tablemarkup and a few <font>s is how to do it?
If it's faster for someone to design like that, and that freedom allows them
to dedicate more time to focus on conversion techniques, then most
certainly... yes, that's how to do it.
>The consumer doesn't care if your site was handcoded to exact W3 specs or
made in FrontPage 98.

The customer cares if it works _for_them_. The way to achieve this is
to use the standards. It's quick, it's cheap, it's applicable to a
broad range of targets and it _works_.
Again, time is a fixed commodity. In most cases you're better off creating
a better experience for 90% of your audience than creating a neutral
experience for 100%. In current web design scenarios it's not even close as
you can design to cater towards 99%+ of your audience.
>They couldn't care less about XHTML, DTD-Strict,
tabled layout versus CSS, etc. Neither should the designer, unless that
designer is working for a client who wants it.

A designer who doesn't understand this isn't a competent designer.
Again, 99% of the surfers have no idea who's a 'competent' designer and
wouldn't care if they knew. Focus solely on those 99% of your surfers and
solving their problems, without the slightest regard to whether your site
will stand up to criticism in a CSS newsgroup, and you'll be in much better
shape.
>I'm always boggled by the number of small business sites I see that boast
all their "Validates In...!!!" links in their footers, yet have a
marginal
(at best) call to action.

So you claim that bad commercial design is caused by good technical
implementation ? An interesting theory....
Clearly that's not what I said. My point was priorities are totally out of
whack in far too many cases. I think you know what I was saying however...
perhaps you just don't like people questioning your opinions. Or perhaps
you do. Personally I find this thread an interesting exercise.


Dec 14 '06 #11
S.T. wrote:
>
they simply won't risk wasting 75 seconds of their time
for you to prove yourself. THEY WON'T READ IT. Period. Give them 5 bullets
they can read in 12 seconds
Yeah, no argument from me on this point, but...
Design some fluid layout that caters to every screen ratio on the planet and
you're now risking them getting the answer to their first question from you
and moving elsewhere to solve their new problem.
I'm confused. What does one have to do with the other? Nothing that I
can see.

--
Berg
Dec 14 '06 #12

S.T. wrote:
S.T. wrote:
Why _should_ it look identical? _WHY_ ?

Because it's a commercial site.
Again - Why? What's the commercially valuable advantage that this
conveys?

The advantage is time. Opportunity cost. Whatever you want to term it.
You're just constructing a straw-man argument out of nothing. What does
time have to do with anything, we're talking about the end result here.

Secondly, fluid design is quicker anyway. If you start being obsessive
about browser variation pixel-counting, then you're going to be
_really_ slow.

In particular, WYSIWYG design is slow. Yes, Dreamweevil is slower than
a crude text-only editor for any site more than a few pages long. The
problem is that WYSIWYG still sees a large site as no more than a
number of pages, and each page as its own design problem. Rather than
marking up the content, setting a site stylesheet and letting the
user's browser do the layout rendering, the WYSIWYG approach is to make
a human designer work over each page in turn. They apply a site style
guide to each page and turn it into one pixel-specific rendering, then
worry about preserving that rendering across platforms. Costly human
interaction on every page, not just once per site.

I'm not worried about a few pixels here and there. If the site isn't
dead-on exact across browsers, doesn't really matter.
Granted. So why are you advocating it?

I'm going to design based on an 800x600 browser, which covers 97%+ of my
audience if I trust Google Analystics.
That means 97% are capable of supporting it, not that 97% can't do
anything better or would want that low resolution.

800px is just about perfect as I can keep a design compact enough to keep various
eye-cues within range of eachother, yet still present content with enough width to
entice (hopefully) reading said content while putting vital navigation
alongside.
You have no idea if this is enough, because you have no idea how many
pixels I need to set a character to to be readable for my screen and my
eyes.

I've got a 3200px wide setup and your window isn't interested in
playing with any more than a quarter of that. How can that possibly be
seen as a good thing? Let _me_ set this as the user, not you as the
designer.
Bottom line... fluid layouts for competive commercial websites are dead.
Why, I'm still waiting for your evidence or argument here.
Probably because it's a ridiculous assertion.

If I _want_ 800px window width, then let me set it myself. No-one is
suggesting ruling it out,just not making it compulsory.
What you term "sloppy" is irrelevant. All things being equal, 'clean' code
is preferred over 'sloppy' code. But 99.5%+ of your audience really doesn't
care.
They care what it looks like, even if they don't now why. They care if
text spills over an image. They care if it's unreadably large or
unreadably small, for them, that day.
If you can whip out a "sloppy" page in two hours using DW versus 4
hours handcoding validating markup,
Production time of hand-coding over DW on typical sites is about 4
times faster (for typical sites of the scale I work on). It's not that
the work is easier, it's that you don't repeat the same work on every
page

On one of my sites last year, a hand-code approach into the crappiest
text-editor window you've ever seen and then an XSLT and CSS-based CMS
was running at _60_times_ faster than the old site technique of using
DW on each page.
The overwhelming majority of
your audience uses browsers than can compensate for imperfect markup
Why are you comparing poor markup to poor design ? I'm not talking
about badly nested tags, I'm talking about fixed-width vs. fluid. One
is fixable by browsers (and is) the other remains as an evident
limitation (which you are in fact claiming is a virtue).

Would you be so ready to dismiss $5k short-notice business-class air
travel?

If I really believed there was an economic model for cell/PDA surfers at my
company (which I don't, but that's not to say it'll always be the case) I'd
develop a WAP site or whatever for it.
What's a WAP site grandad, and why has anyone since 2001 cared ?

WAP and WML died on its arse, closely followed by the whole
walled-garden concept for mobile webs. Now the market is about how you
make your existing sites and pages usable through mobiles, when you
don't even recognise that they _are_ mobiles.

My sites already work like this, yours don't. I'm eating your lunch.

W3 bitching you have a <ptag without a closing version.
Why would the W3 bitch about that anyway? HTML is an SGML application,
elements close themselves perfectly adequately (if you do close with a
</p>, that's for the human coder's clarity benefit as much as
anything).

If you think this is what HTML validation is about, let alone what
fluid design is about, then you're still at a level of ignorance where
you're not really in a position to judge their benefits.
If you can detail 99% of a product in 5 paragraphs or 70% of the same
product in 5 bullet points or 5 sentences,
[sub-Nielsen trivia deleted]
So what? You've read Tom Peters and a few other airport books. Big
deal.

Now tell me again, what does this have to do with design, in terms of
the fixed vs. fluid debate ?

Dec 15 '06 #13
Andy Dingley wrote:
S.T. wrote:
>Bottom line... fluid layouts for competive commercial websites are dead.

Why, I'm still waiting for your evidence or argument here.
Circular logic. Many commercial sites do it, so it must be true.

--
Berg
Dec 15 '06 #14
>The advantage is time. Opportunity cost. Whatever you want to term it.
>
You're just constructing a straw-man argument out of nothing. What does
time have to do with anything, we're talking about the end result here.
I wish time wasn't a factor. As it stands, it's my most scarce resource.
Perhaps we're not on the same wavelength when I'm talking about time as I
can't imagine how you could simply dismiss developer time as anything but
crucial.
Secondly, fluid design is quicker anyway. If you start being obsessive
about browser variation pixel-counting, then you're going to be
_really_ slow.
Fluid is faster to create than fixed. However it's faster to create good,
sales-centric fixed design rather than the equivalent fluid, if the latter
is even possible.
In particular, WYSIWYG design is slow. Yes, Dreamweevil is slower than
a crude text-only editor for any site more than a few pages long. The
problem is that WYSIWYG still sees a large site as no more than a
number of pages, and each page as its own design problem. Rather than
marking up the content, setting a site stylesheet and letting the
user's browser do the layout rendering, the WYSIWYG approach is to make
a human designer work over each page in turn. They apply a site style
guide to each page and turn it into one pixel-specific rendering, then
worry about preserving that rendering across platforms. Costly human
interaction on every page, not just once per site.
I handcode everything. I've run a few trials of DW over the years and it's
not a tool for me. I've been playing with MS's new WYSIWYG tool and sort of
like it for spot details, but only really use it after a layout is 95% done
anyhow though. And it still has some novelty value to it, good chance I'll
scrap it once the trial runs out. So I'd tend to agree with you that
handcoding is more efficient than DW and it's kin and never argued
otherwise. However I've been doing this stuff for 10 years or so, as I'm
sure you have as well. For a relatively new designer, or someone who won't
be laying out pages very often, the accelerated learning curve of a WYSIWYG
editor more than compensates for the rather trivial sacrifices found in it's
output code. There's also another set of DW users who seem to have a true
mastery of the program, for whom the program is very much more efficient
than handcoding.
>I'm not worried about a few pixels here and there. If the site isn't
dead-on exact across browsers, doesn't really matter.

Granted. So why are you advocating it?
Dismissing a few pixel difference is not the same as ambivilence towards
page elements being +/- 500px from where I believe these elements will best
perform.
>800px is just about perfect as I can keep a design compact enough to keep
various
eye-cues within range of eachother, yet still present content with enough
width to
entice (hopefully) reading said content while putting vital navigation
alongside.

You have no idea if this is enough, because you have no idea how many
pixels I need to set a character to to be readable for my screen and my
eyes.
I don't care about *you*, or any individual surfer, or any tiny subset of
surfers. I care about conversions. I care about my demographic. You, the
300px PDA surfer, are not my demographic. As such you're best off moving
along to another site that might serve your needs better. I'll go ahead and
pitch my products, and pitch them well, to the next 554 surfers before
another one of you comes along.
I've got a 3200px wide setup and your window isn't interested in
playing with any more than a quarter of that. How can that possibly be
seen as a good thing? Let _me_ set this as the user, not you as the
designer.
If I was working for the IRS and writing a page about filling out tax forms,
you'd have a point. Or any research/education, maybe even
entertainment-based site. Hell, if I was a company designing a part of it's
site dedicated namely to product/customer support, I'd tend to agree with
you. Because the customer is king. The consumer/shopper is NOT. Not until
they're your customer.

How come when I go to a grocery store the household staples (milk, bread,
etc.) I need to buy require me to walk damned near the entire circumfrance
of the store?

How come the 2 liter bottles of Coke are sold on special for 3 @ $4.98, even
though they'll happily sell me one for $1.66? Wouldn't it be more useful
for the shopper to clearly know that the special is actually $1.66 per
bottle? And why are the bottles of Coke between one and 2.5 feet below a
5'6" shopper's eye level anyhow, rather than other rows on the 7 foot tall
shelving? How come the bottle of Pepsi I actually have on my shopping list
is down by my feet?

And why is the sign promoting that Coca Cola special some extravagant,
multi-colored illustration with jagged text that is, frankly, quite hard to
read? Wouldn't some large black serif font on a plain white background be
more pleasing on the eye?

So one day you buy a grocery store, just like the above. It's doing pretty
well as-is, but there are about 25 potential shoppers out of your 10,000
regular customers that find your layout too 'commercial' or confusing and
just don't care for it overall - so they don't come. So you redesign the
layout so the most needed items are consolidated in a convenient region of
the store. You redo the signage to emphasize readability. You mandate a
common price and shelving order, so all prices are shown in the same unit
and all similar products are displayed alphabetically. I'll guarantee you
shoppers to your new grocery store will absolutely love the convenience and
appreciate the new layout, unlike any other stores in the area. Those 25
potential shoppers are now yours as well! And your grocery store will fold
in 6 months in the face of steep competition who know exactly how to trigger
consumer response as opposed to your fantasy-land values of the
most-consumer friendly approach to shopping.

Your obligation as a designer of a commercial site is to drive revenue, NOT
an obligation to please the surfer. The two aren't mutually exclusive -
most scenarios and decisions will find that the choice that best drives
revenue and best pleases the surfer are one in the same. But not always.
And when deciding whether or not to turn over control of your layout to the
surfer or not, you're almost always best siding with keeping as much control
of your layout as possible.

Giving surfers an easy means to view your content as they wish has it's time
and place. But that time and place sure as hell is not on a site designed
to drive new and incremental revenue. Seriously, do you think Expedia
spends $50 million annually driving visitors to it's site without *knowing*
it's fixed-800px layout flush on the left sidebar isn't the correct choice
for it's product? Or BestBuy.com Or Walmart.com Or IBM.com. And on and
on. Do you honestly think these guys haven't tested and re-tested dozens of
layouts, fluid and fixed, to determine what will best produce shareholder
value and market share? Are their designers just not smart enough to see
the light?

Off the top of my head I can only think of three large commercial sites
that use fluid layouts - Amazon, Ebay and NewEgg. Ebay's almost more a
portal, so I'm hesitant to even include them. Amazon displays such a
mindboggling amount of content on each page I can actually see it makes
sense for them to go fluid (though it 'breaks' at sub-800). And NewEgg
caters so heavily to the high-tech it'll likely to be viewing on
mega-resolution screens I can see it's logic as well (though it too will
break at sub-800px). Certainly there's more large fluid sites than that,
but fluid is the exception - for a reason.
>What you term "sloppy" is irrelevant. All things being equal, 'clean'
code
is preferred over 'sloppy' code. But 99.5%+ of your audience really
doesn't
care.

They care what it looks like, even if they don't now why. They care if
text spills over an image.
That would be an error in coding, not an error related to fixed vs. fluid,
or css vs table, or valid vs. non-validating code.
They care if it's unreadably large or
unreadably small, for them, that day.
Same 'ole, same 'ole. I'll risk the shot a fractional % of my audience for a
better presentation to the overwhelming majority.
>If you can whip out a "sloppy" page in two hours using DW versus 4
hours handcoding validating markup,

Production time of hand-coding over DW on typical sites is about 4
times faster (for typical sites of the scale I work on). It's not that
the work is easier, it's that you don't repeat the same work on every
page

On one of my sites last year, a hand-code approach into the crappiest
text-editor window you've ever seen and then an XSLT and CSS-based CMS
was running at _60_times_ faster than the old site technique of using
DW on each page.
Again, you'll get no argument from me about DW. I'm not a fan but there are
very valid reasons many use it.
>The overwhelming majority of
your audience uses browsers than can compensate for imperfect markup
Would you be so ready to dismiss $5k short-notice business-class air
travel?

If I really believed there was an economic model for cell/PDA surfers at
my
company (which I don't, but that's not to say it'll always be the case)
I'd
develop a WAP site or whatever for it.

What's a WAP site grandad, and why has anyone since 2001 cared ?

WAP and WML died on its arse, closely followed by the whole
walled-garden concept for mobile webs. Now the market is about how you
make your existing sites and pages usable through mobiles, when you
don't even recognise that they _are_ mobiles.
Archaic or not, WML seems to do the rare cellphone jobs I need done...
reliably and efficiently to boot!
My sites already work like this, yours don't. I'm eating your lunch.
I highly doubt whatever fraction of a percent of mobile users having access
to my site could ever compensate for designing to a lowest common
denominator. In my case, at least. A local search service or something
similar... then you might be on to something.
>W3 bitching you have a <ptag without a closing version.

Why would the W3 bitch about that anyway? HTML is an SGML application,
elements close themselves perfectly adequately (if you do close with a
</p>, that's for the human coder's clarity benefit as much as
anything).

If you think this is what HTML validation is about, let alone what
fluid design is about, then you're still at a level of ignorance where
you're not really in a position to judge their benefits.
Perhaps.

I might counter that, while I believe you do have a very strong technical
foundation, you seem to have a truly naive understanding of sales and
marketing and the consumer versus the customer - more akin to what a new
employee at a Walmart is spoon-fed rather than real-world understanding of
the subject.
>If you can detail 99% of a product in 5 paragraphs or 70% of the same
product in 5 bullet points or 5 sentences,

[sub-Nielsen trivia deleted]
So what? You've read Tom Peters and a few other airport books. Big
deal.

Now tell me again, what does this have to do with design, in terms of
the fixed vs. fluid debate ?
It doesn't. That was in reference to a "content is king" fallacy someone
was pitching. In case you haven't noticed we're on about eight tangents in
this thread.


Dec 15 '06 #15
S.T. wrote:
>
Seriously, do you think Expedia
spends $50 million annually driving visitors to it's site without *knowing*
it's fixed-800px layout flush on the left sidebar isn't the correct choice
for it's product? Or BestBuy.com Or Walmart.com Or IBM.com.
People tend to do business with such sites *in spite of* the design, not
because of them. That's a benefit of being a big name in the industry.
It is rare for anyone to speak up about issues with a site anyway. Most
will either silently bear problems, or turn around and go elsewhere
without ever saying why.

Their fixed-800px layouts have always been thus, and will remain so
until somebody important enough challenges it. It's probably too much
work to change them now, anyway.

--
Berg
Dec 16 '06 #16
S.T. wrote:
The advantage is time. Opportunity cost. Whatever you want to term it.
You're just constructing a straw-man argument out of nothing. What does
time have to do with anything, we're talking about the end result here.

I wish time wasn't a factor.
Probably because if we do count it, it's just another counter argument
against fixed-width design.

As you admit yourself:
Fluid is faster to create than fixed.
800px is just about perfect as I can keep a design compact enough to keep
various eye-cues within range of eachother,
Your argument "fixed-width pixel-placement design is best" seems to be
based on two propositions:

1. There is some magic layout that causes people to buy.
This depends on precise accuracy of display.

2. Marketeers know what #1 is.

I don't know which of these is the more ridiculous. The first appears
somewhere between Cargo Cults and the nam-shub of Enki in credibility.

Your attitude to your customers is best described as patronising, and a
business that underestimates its customers like this (PT Barnum
notwithstanding) can sometimes find itself suddenly surprised that it
has also alienated them. Customers aren't stupid -- or else you're in
the daytime-TV loans market and you really are trading on ignorance. As
I'm sure you remember from the Marketing 101 course you're so fond of
quoting it's much cheaper to retain the customers you have than to
acquire new ones, so why do you want to insult them in this way? Your
"strategy" seems to be based on "Hook 'em in quick and flog 'em
something while they're still dazzled". That's no way to run long-term
customer relations.

I highly doubt whatever fraction of a percent of mobile users having access
to my site could ever compensate for designing to a lowest common
denominator.
You still seem to think that "fluid design" requires "lowest common
denominator". It doesn't, any more than it requires "web safe colours"
or working on NS4.

Dec 16 '06 #17
In article <45***********************@news.sonic.net>,
"S.T." <an*******@anonymous.comwrote:
I don't care about *you*, or any individual surfer, or any tiny subset of
surfers. I care about conversions. I care about my demographic. You, the
300px PDA surfer, are not my demographic. As such you're best off moving
along to another site that might serve your needs better. I'll go ahead and
pitch my products, and pitch them well, to the next 554 surfers before
another one of you comes along.


I would be very surprised if providing for some expansion of
width to be comfortable both at 800 and 1100px wide would in any
way affect your conversions

[I love the terminology! Conversion. Sounds like the fraud
visited upon the poor schmuck sheep at a Billy Graham (or worse)
meet. I might as well go on. Though you do not do it directly and
obviously, you need to be careful:

Every time someone objects or is imagined to object to some
awkwardness of looking at your fixed site(s), you can come up
with some stats like this. Don't be like the theologian who comes
along with a bagful of bad arguments for the existence of God.
When challenged, he always relies on the idea that this is just
one of them, there remaining the others to hold up His Existence.

It would be interesting to know more about those 554 surfers to
whom you are keen to pitch at, to actually see them at their
monitors, to see how many are slightly irritated or not. To see
the effect of not providing at least to limit with max-width at
say 1024 rather than fix at 800. On them and on the ones that are
already customers.]

--
dorayme
Dec 17 '06 #18

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