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Keeping Web Page at Fixed Width

P: n/a
How do I keep my entire web page at a fixed width?

************************************************** *******************
Signed,
SoloCDM

Jul 20 '05 #1
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P: n/a

"SoloCDM" <de******@aculink.net> wrote in message
news:3F**************@aculink.net...
How do I keep my entire web page at a fixed width?


Why would you want to do that?

Page layout should be specified in terms of percentages, which allow the
pages to be flexible. This allows for a more efficient use of screen real
estate and puts the user back in control of his or her web surfing
experience.

Usability studies substantiate very clearly that this is a preference of web
users. It is unfortunately a realization that has not soaked into a lot of
the largest companies in the world.

Human Factors International
http://www.humanfactors.com/downloads/oct022.htm

Real World Browser Size Stats

http://evolt.org/article/Real_World_...297/index.html

Getting a perfect fit

http://webdesignclinic.com/ezine/v1i...fit/index.html

Sizing Up The Browsers

http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/99/41/index3a.html

What size monitor screen or browser window should I design for?

http://www.allmyfaqs.com/faq.pl?AnySizeDesign


--
Karl Core

Charles Sweeney says my sig is fine as it is.

Jul 20 '05 #2

P: n/a
EightNineThree wrote:
"SoloCDM" <de******@aculink.net> wrote in message
news:3F**************@aculink.net...
How do I keep my entire web page at a fixed width?


Why would you want to do that?

Page layout should be specified in terms of percentages, which allow the
pages to be flexible. This allows for a more efficient use of screen real
estate and puts the user back in control of his or her web surfing
experience.

Usability studies substantiate very clearly that this is a preference of web
users. It is unfortunately a realization that has not soaked into a lot of
the largest companies in the world.

Human Factors International
http://www.humanfactors.com/downloads/oct022.htm

Real World Browser Size Stats

http://evolt.org/article/Real_World_...297/index.html

Getting a perfect fit

http://webdesignclinic.com/ezine/v1i...fit/index.html

Sizing Up The Browsers

http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/99/41/index3a.html

What size monitor screen or browser window should I design for?

http://www.allmyfaqs.com/faq.pl?AnySizeDesign


Some things look sloppy if spread out. Even some of your link
references use control over the width of their web pages, which
clearly contradicts their preaching.

************************************************** *******************
Signed,
SoloCDM

Jul 20 '05 #3

P: n/a
In article <3F**************@aculink.net> in
comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html, SoloCDM <de******@aculink.net>
wrote:
How do I keep my entire web page at a fixed width?


Print it and distribute the paper.

Otherwise, expect that people will see it at different widths. This
is a good thing, not a bad thing as you seem to think.

--
Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Cortland County, New York, USA
http://OakRoadSystems.com/
HTML 4.01 spec: http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/
validator: http://validator.w3.org/
CSS 2 spec: http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-CSS2/
2.1 changes: http://www.w3.org/TR/CSS21/changes.html
validator: http://jigsaw.w3.org/css-validator/
Jul 20 '05 #4

P: n/a

"SoloCDM" <de******@aculink.net> wrote in message
news:3F**************@aculink.net...
EightNineThree wrote:
"SoloCDM" <de******@aculink.net> wrote in message
news:3F**************@aculink.net...
How do I keep my entire web page at a fixed width?
Why would you want to do that?

Page layout should be specified in terms of percentages, which allow the
pages to be flexible. This allows for a more efficient use of screen real estate and puts the user back in control of his or her web surfing
experience.

Usability studies substantiate very clearly that this is a preference of web users. It is unfortunately a realization that has not soaked into a lot of the largest companies in the world.

<snip>
Some things look sloppy if spread out. Even some of your link
references use control over the width of their web pages, which
clearly contradicts their preaching.


I guess you didn't read my post.
"Usability studies substantiate very clearly that this is a preference of
web users."

Do you have any empirical evidence to contradict this?
--
Karl Core

Charles Sweeney says my sig is fine as it is.
Jul 20 '05 #5

P: n/a
On Mon, 08 Sep 2003 19:40:36 -0600, SoloCDM <de******@aculink.net>
wrote:
Some things look sloppy if spread out.


You mean if the window is rather wide for the selected font size? Then
the user is free to make his/her window a bit narrower. That only takes
a moment. But if your fixed page width is too large for the reader's
screen, he/she is stuck.

--
Stephen Poley

http://www.xs4all.nl/~sbpoley/webmatters/
Jul 20 '05 #6

P: n/a
OJ
"EightNineThree" <ei************@REMOVEeightninethree.com> wrote in message news:<bj**********@ngspool-d02.news.aol.com>...
"SoloCDM" <de******@aculink.net> wrote in message
news:3F**************@aculink.net...
How do I keep my entire web page at a fixed width?
Why would you want to do that?


Why can't you answer peoples questions without preaching to them? You
don't know either the context or the application.

If you don't know the answer, stay out.

oj

Page layout should be specified in terms of percentages, which allow the
pages to be flexible. This allows for a more efficient use of screen real
estate and puts the user back in control of his or her web surfing
experience.

Usability studies substantiate very clearly that this is a preference of web
users. It is unfortunately a realization that has not soaked into a lot of
the largest companies in the world.

Human Factors International
http://www.humanfactors.com/downloads/oct022.htm

Real World Browser Size Stats

http://evolt.org/article/Real_World_...297/index.html

Getting a perfect fit

http://webdesignclinic.com/ezine/v1i...fit/index.html

Sizing Up The Browsers

http://hotwired.lycos.com/webmonkey/99/41/index3a.html

What size monitor screen or browser window should I design for?

http://www.allmyfaqs.com/faq.pl?AnySizeDesign

Jul 20 '05 #7

P: n/a
OJ wrote:
"EightNineThree" <ei************@REMOVEeightninethree.com> wrote in message news:<bj**********@ngspool-d02.news.aol.com>...
"SoloCDM" <de******@aculink.net> wrote in message
news:3F**************@aculink.net...
How do I keep my entire web page at a fixed width?
Why would you want to do that?


Why can't you answer peoples questions without preaching to them?


This is not a helpdesk. People raise issues. Others discuss them.
We've seen plenty of fixed designs, either from posts here, or simply
in our travels on the www. They are (nearly?) always unnecessary and
create problems when the browsing situation is a little different than
the one imagined by the designer.
You don't know either the context or the application.
That's because the op didn't specify them. If there's a reason, then
the op should respond and explain them. Mind, I'm hard-pressed to
think of a reason for fixing the width of an "entire web page."
If you don't know the answer, stay out.


Welcome to Usent.

[remainder of excessive quoting snipped]

--
Brian
follow the directions in my address to email me

Jul 20 '05 #8

P: n/a
OJ wrote:
"EightNineThree" <ei************@REMOVEeightninethree.com> wrote in
message news:<bj**********@ngspool-d02.news.aol.com>...
"SoloCDM" <de******@aculink.net> wrote in message
news:3F**************@aculink.net...
> How do I keep my entire web page at a fixed width?
Why would you want to do that?


Why can't you answer peoples questions without preaching to them?


What about the following scenario:
> How do I shoot myself in the foot?


Put the bullet in the gun, aim, and squeeze the trigger.
When somebody asks something that sounds like a bad idea, generally, you
should point that out to them instead of deliberately letting them screw
up.

You don't know either the context or the application.
That's probably why Karl asked:
Why would you want to do that?


If you don't know the answer, stay out.


I didn't see you answer the question either, but I don't see anybody telling
you to stay out.
--
Jim Dabell

Jul 20 '05 #9

P: n/a
On Tue, Sep 9, OJ inscribed on the eternal scroll:
Why can't you answer peoples questions without preaching to them?
Welcome to usenet.
You
don't know either the context or the application.
Maybe you hadn't noticed, but this isn't misc.misc, it's
comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html: eacn of those elements has a
reason for being there and sets the context of the discourse.
If you don't know the answer, stay out.


Welcome to the killfile.
Jul 20 '05 #10

P: n/a
SoloCDM <de******@aculink.net> wrote in message news:<3F**************@aculink.net>...
How do I keep my entire web page at a fixed width?

************************************************** *******************
Signed,
SoloCDM


To keep your entire page at a predetermined width, set up a table to
the required width and put the page contents inside. It doesn't have
to be a single table, you can run a succession of tables each to the
required width (heading, intro, body text, footer, etc, down the
page). This has worked for me on several sites.

I take on board everything the naysayers have hit you with about
leaving it to the viewer to decide the width they view at; however, I
have also seen sites whose designs have been destroyed by width
expansion.

In my (purely empirical/anecdotal) experience, the majority of
computer users are not sophisticated enough (or care enough about what
they're looking at or interested enough to take the trouble - take
your pick) to keep adjusting their window size in an effort to find
what the page designer was trying to achieve. They have their browser
set to screen size and take the pages as they come. I also think it
somewhat arrogant of designers to expect users to change their
settings in order to achieve the best design view.

Why shouldn't we designers give what we believe to be the best
presentation of our work, or more often our clients'
products/services? Surely we can have the same freedom of expression
as anyone else.

peter stokes
Jul 20 '05 #11

P: n/a

"EightNineThree" <ei************@REMOVEeightninethree.com> wrote in message
news:bj**********@ngspool-d02.news.aol.com...

"SoloCDM" <de******@aculink.net> wrote in message
news:3F**************@aculink.net...
How do I keep my entire web page at a fixed width?
Why would you want to do that?

Page layout should be specified in terms of percentages, which allow the
pages to be flexible. This allows for a more efficient use of screen real
estate and puts the user back in control of his or her web surfing
experience.

Usability studies substantiate very clearly that this is a preference of

web users. It is unfortunately a realization that has not soaked into a lot of
the largest companies in the world.


<span style="flame" intention="sincere">
One wonders how readers of books and magazines have managed all these years!
Has there ever been a call by the magazine reading community for publishers
just to mail them sequences of words with annotations as to their respective
roles, so that the readers could produce their own mock-ups to enjoy?

Believe it or not, many producers of web-based material are trying to
provide a specific and approximately consistent appearance to people having
one of several current-day browers (including Netscape 4.x, etc.). The small
portion of the population that wants to shrink the browser to a window 200
pixels wide and 600 high, or 1000 wide and 100 high, and still have a
legible presentation is not really a fundamental target.
</span>

Jul 20 '05 #12

P: n/a
Harlan Messinger wrote:
<span style="flame" intention="sincere">
One wonders how readers of books and magazines have managed all these
years!
The limitation of the print industry is not a limitation of the web. Paper
is cut at fixed size where the width is decided at printing time. This
"event" happens much later on the web - or sometimes browser window width
is irrelevant to the particular user. Imposing a print limitation on the
web just because it exists in print is short-sighted and counter to the
web's flexibility and strengths.
Has there ever been a call by the magazine reading community for
publishers just to mail them sequences of words with annotations as to
their respective roles,


Considering the more accurate analogy is about editors and writers on one
side, and printing houses on the other - yes. There has been a time where
editors and writers did not define how a page was printed, and instead they
defined (by marking up) which parts of the text corresponded to which
logical structure, and the printer/renderer used a stylesheet to translate
the logical structure into what inks and font-faces were used. On the web
rendering time happens within the user's browser - so the user's browser is
effectively the print/render process.

This separation is still in effect within the print industry - as evidenced
by novels and newspapers. Novels tend to come out as hardback first -
larger page size, larger font size, larger margins and paddings. Then a few
months later a paperback edition is released. And funny enough, the author
doesn't have to write the entire book out again because of the paperback
edition - they reuse the same copy and add a different presentation on top
- a presentation more appropriate for the smaller paperback page sizes.

Newspapers tend to syndicate columns. The columnist does not retype their
column for each newspaper it is syndicated on - she just transfers the copy
which allows the newspaper printers to add their custom styles to the copy.

--
Iso.
FAQs: http://html-faq.com http://alt-html.org http://allmyfaqs.com/
Recommended Hosting: http://www.affordablehost.com/
Web Standards: http://www.webstandards.org/
Jul 20 '05 #13

P: n/a
On Mon, 08 Sep 2003 19:40:36 -0600, SoloCDM <de******@aculink.net>
wrote:
Some things look sloppy if spread out.
Such things are clearly candidates for "max-width" settings, preferably
specified in em units. It is perfectly possible to have a fluid layout
that doesn't spread out beyond a certain point, but still contracts
properly when someone is using, for example, a PDA.
Even some of your link
references use control over the width of their web pages, which
clearly contradicts their preaching.


Yes, I didn't bother to read anything that these sites had to say. I
did pay attention to the clueful ones.

--
Greg Schmidt (gr***@trawna.com)
Trawna Publications (http://www.trawna.com/)
Jul 20 '05 #14

P: n/a
On Tue, 9 Sep 2003 15:19:58 -0400, "Harlan Messinger"
<h.*********@comcast.net> wrote:
<span style="flame" intention="sincere">
One wonders how readers of books and magazines have managed all these years!
Has there ever been a call by the magazine reading community for publishers
just to mail them sequences of words with annotations as to their respective
roles, so that the readers could produce their own mock-ups to enjoy?
For many years, the only fastener we had was the nail. We used it by
pounding it hard with a hammer. One day, someone invented the screw.
Screws work best if they are *not* pounded hard with a hammer. Screws
are superior to nails in many ways, although there are still places that
nails are best. Both are trying to solve very similar problems, but the
ways in which we apply them are very different. Builders who wanted to
start using screws but refused to learn how to use the screwdriver
presumably didn't last very long.

Paper used to be the best way to present the material. In some cases it
still is. The web is very different from paper, and the sooner people
realize it, the better off we'll all be.
Believe it or not, many producers of web-based material are trying to
provide a specific and approximately consistent appearance to people having
one of several current-day browers (including Netscape 4.x, etc.). The small
portion of the population that wants to shrink the browser to a window 200
pixels wide and 600 high, or 1000 wide and 100 high, and still have a
legible presentation is not really a fundamental target.
</span>


Many producers of web-based material are former (or current) desktop
publishing experts who are trying to shoehorn a new medium into a
familiar shape to avoid having to learn something new. The very real
portion of the population that wants to use a browser window less than
800 pixels wide and not have to scroll horizontally to read the
information, and the small but growing portion of the population that is
using PDAs with screens less than 600 pixels wide are targets that are
ignored by these desktop publishing gurus, to the detriment of the
companies that hire said gurus to design their online presence.

And I'd wager that the percentage of people still using Netscape 4.x is
not much larger than the percentage of people who want to use a 200
pixel wide browser window. Netscape 4.x is *not* a "current-day"
browser, it is several years and several versions old. All
"current-day" browsers are quite capable of providing a "specific and
approximately consistent appearance" of an attractive liquid design, in
the hands of a talented designer.

--
Greg Schmidt (gr***@trawna.com)
Trawna Publications (http://www.trawna.com/)
Jul 20 '05 #15

P: n/a
OJ
Jim Dabell <ji********@jimdabell.com> wrote in message news:<_K********************@giganews.com>...
OJ wrote:
"EightNineThree" <ei************@REMOVEeightninethree.com> wrote in
message news:<bj**********@ngspool-d02.news.aol.com>...
"SoloCDM" <de******@aculink.net> wrote in message
news:3F**************@aculink.net...
> How do I keep my entire web page at a fixed width?

Why would you want to do that?
Why can't you answer peoples questions without preaching to them?


What about the following scenario:
> How do I shoot myself in the foot?

Put the bullet in the gun, aim, and squeeze the trigger.
When somebody asks something that sounds like a bad idea, generally, you
should point that out to them instead of deliberately letting them screw
up.


Hi,

I guess they didn't ask you for your opinion of what they were doing.
Just how to do it.
You don't know either the context or the application.
That's probably why Karl asked:
Why would you want to do that?


Not in that context. That was more like "Are you an idiot? Why would
you want to do something insane like that.

If you don't know the answer, stay out.


I didn't see you answer the question either, but I don't see anybody telling
you to stay out.


I wasn't responding to the original poster.

oj
Jul 20 '05 #16

P: n/a

"OJ" <or*******@aol.com> wrote in message
news:77**************************@posting.google.c om...
"EightNineThree" <ei************@REMOVEeightninethree.com> wrote in

message news:<bj**********@ngspool-d02.news.aol.com>...
"SoloCDM" <de******@aculink.net> wrote in message
news:3F**************@aculink.net...
How do I keep my entire web page at a fixed width?


Why would you want to do that?


Why can't you answer peoples questions without preaching to them? You
don't know either the context or the application.

If you don't know the answer, stay out.


Congratulations, you've just won the "dickhead of the week" contest.
Welcome to my killfile.
--
Karl Core

Charles Sweeney says my sig is fine as it is.
Jul 20 '05 #17

P: n/a
Harlan Messinger wrote:

<span style="flame" intention="sincere">
One wonders how readers of books and magazines have managed all these years!
Has there ever been a call by the magazine reading community for publishers
just to mail them sequences of words with annotations as to their respective
roles, so that the readers could produce their own mock-ups to enjoy?


at the moment my eyesight is such that reading books is a real pain in the
proverbials...unless I can get them in large print...I manage by only
reading for a quarter of an hour or so at a time with the book held quite
close...thanks for asking

--
eric
www.ericjarvis.co.uk
"Hey Lord don't ask me questions
There ain't no answer in me"
Jul 20 '05 #18

P: n/a
EightNineThree wrote:
"OJ" <or*******@aol.com> wrote in message
news:77**************************@posting.google.c om...
"EightNineThree" <ei************@REMOVEeightninethree.com> wrote in
message news:<bj**********@ngspool-d02.news.aol.com>...
Why can't you answer peoples questions without preaching to them? You
don't know either the context or the application.

If you don't know the answer, stay out.


Congratulations, you've just won the "dickhead of the week" contest.


Wow. And it's only Tuesday. :-D
Welcome to my killfile.


And you were kind enough to tell him. Imagine how many other
killfiles he joined without even knowing it.

--
Brian
follow the directions in my address to email me

Jul 20 '05 #19

P: n/a
Peter Stokes wrote:
SoloCDM <de******@aculink.net> wrote in message
news:<3F**************@aculink.net>...
How do I keep my entire web page at a fixed width?

To keep your entire page at a predetermined width, set up a table to
the required width and put the page contents inside. It doesn't have
to be a single table, you can run a succession of tables each to the
required width (heading, intro, body text, footer, etc, down the
page). This has worked for me on several sites.


5 years ago, that was the way it was done. It was really the only way to do
it. Then this wonderful thing called CSS was created. Now we don't need to
use tables for anything other than tabular data. Novel idea, really.
I take on board everything the naysayers have hit you with about
leaving it to the viewer to decide the width they view at; however, I
have also seen sites whose designs have been destroyed by width
expansion.

Only because the designer didn't know what they were doing.
In my (purely empirical/anecdotal) experience, the majority of
computer users are not sophisticated enough (or care enough about what
they're looking at or interested enough to take the trouble - take
your pick) to keep adjusting their window size in an effort to find
what the page designer was trying to achieve.
So the page should be designed to display nicely at any width, not the one
width the designer had in mind.
They have their browser
set to screen size and take the pages as they come.
Many users do not have their browser maximised. IE by default is not
maximised.
I also think it
somewhat arrogant of designers to expect users to change their
settings in order to achieve the best design view.

ISTM that you are arguing against yourself here.
Why shouldn't we designers give what we believe to be the best
presentation of our work, or more often our clients'
products/services? Surely we can have the same freedom of expression
as anyone else.


Why do you seem to think that the best presentation of your work and a
liquid design are mutually exclusive?

--

Mark Parnell
http://www.clarkecomputers.com.au
Jul 20 '05 #20

P: n/a

"Brian" <us*****@mangymutt.com.invalid-remove-this-part> wrote in message
news:XX*******************@rwcrnsc52.ops.asp.att.n et...
EightNineThree wrote:
"OJ" <or*******@aol.com> wrote in message
news:77**************************@posting.google.c om...
"EightNineThree" <ei************@REMOVEeightninethree.com> wrote in
message news:<bj**********@ngspool-d02.news.aol.com>...
Why can't you answer peoples questions without preaching to them? You
don't know either the context or the application.

If you don't know the answer, stay out.


Congratulations, you've just won the "dickhead of the week" contest.


Wow. And it's only Tuesday. :-D


Yeah, sometimes they come charging in for that award early.
Heck, sometimes there's a waiting list for that award! ;-)
Welcome to my killfile.


And you were kind enough to tell him. Imagine how many other
killfiles he joined without even knowing it.


It is a basic principle of usability to let the user know what you expect.
lol
--
Karl Core

Charles Sweeney says my sig is fine as it is.
Jul 20 '05 #21

P: n/a
OJ
"Alan J. Flavell" <fl*****@mail.cern.ch> wrote in message news:<Pi******************************@lxplus015.c ern.ch>...
On Tue, Sep 9, OJ inscribed on the eternal scroll:
Why can't you answer peoples questions without preaching to them?
Welcome to usenet.
You
don't know either the context or the application.


Maybe you hadn't noticed, but this isn't misc.misc, it's
comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html: eacn of those elements has a
reason for being there and sets the context of the discourse.


Hi,

That doesn't mean you know the application. Maybe his application is
a larger version of a photo in it's own window that requires a certain
dimension. Maybe it's a game field whose parts make up a certain
size. You don't know what he is doing from his original question, so
don't pretend to.
If you don't know the answer, stay out.


Welcome to the killfile.


OOohhhh.

oj
Jul 20 '05 #22

P: n/a
OJ
"EightNineThree" <ei************@REMOVEeightninethree.com> wrote in message news:<bj**********@ngspool-d02.news.aol.com>...
"OJ" <or*******@aol.com> wrote in message
news:77**************************@posting.google.c om...
"EightNineThree" <ei************@REMOVEeightninethree.com> wrote in

message news:<bj**********@ngspool-d02.news.aol.com>...
"SoloCDM" <de******@aculink.net> wrote in message
news:3F**************@aculink.net...
> How do I keep my entire web page at a fixed width?

Why would you want to do that?


Why can't you answer peoples questions without preaching to them? You
don't know either the context or the application.

If you don't know the answer, stay out.


Congratulations, you've just won the "dickhead of the week" contest.
Welcome to my killfile.


Hi,

Won't you miss that award on your wall for this week?

oj
Jul 20 '05 #23

P: n/a
OJ wrote:
"EightNineThree" <ei************@REMOVEeightninethree.com> wrote in
message news:<bj**********@ngspool-d02.news.aol.com>...
Welcome to my killfile.


Hi,


It seems that you have missed the meaning of "killfile". It means that he
is not going to see any more of your posts. This means that there is no
point in replying to him (or Alan).

--

Mark Parnell
http://www.clarkecomputers.com.au
Jul 20 '05 #24

P: n/a
Peter Stokes wrote:

In my (purely empirical/anecdotal) experience, the majority of
computer users are not sophisticated enough (or care enough about what
they're looking at or interested enough to take the trouble - take
your pick) to keep adjusting their window size in an effort to find
what the page designer was trying to achieve.


I think you will find that the average user could care less about "what
the designer was trying to achieve". They just want the content. The
wrapping it comes in has very little importance in most cases. So put
your ego aside and concentrate on getting the user where they want to be
with the least amount of pain and confusion.

I'm not saying the wrapping doesn't have to be attractive, but it most
certainly takes a back seat to usability. Fixed designs, by nature,
only really "work" at one screen resolution, one text size, one window
size, thus they are inherently less usable than fluid designs.

--
To email a reply, remove (dash)ns(dash). Mail sent to the ns
address is automatically deleted and will not be read.

Jul 20 '05 #25

P: n/a
Peter Stokes wrote:

To keep your entire page at a predetermined width, set up a table
to the required width and put the page contents inside. It doesn't
have to be a single table, you can run a succession of tables each
to the required width (heading, intro, body text, footer, etc, down
the page). This has worked for me on several sites.
<sigh> Yes, that's a wonderful, uh, "solution." But you're solving
the wrong problem. Either it will work, and you'll annoy the visitor,
or the visitor will simply override such cluelessness, in which case
it was a waste of effort to try to force this -- what did I call it?
oh, right, "solution" -- on her/him.
I take on board everything the naysayers have hit you with about
leaving it to the viewer to decide the width they view at;
Apparently, you didn't.
however, I have also seen sites whose designs have been destroyed
by width expansion.
That is a case where fixed design failed. So I guess, after reading
this, one should avoid fixed design.
In my (purely empirical/anecdotal)
So, which is it? empirical or anecdotal?
experience, the majority of computer users are not sophisticated
enough (or care enough about what they're looking at or interested
enough to take the trouble - take your pick) to keep adjusting
their window size in an effort to find what the page designer was
trying to achieve. They have their browser set to screen size and
take the pages as they come.
So you're saying that visitors won't adjust their browser size to make
your design look nice. Well, then, fixing the design for one text
size, resolution, etc, is a bad idea.
I also think it somewhat arrogant of designers to expect users to
change their settings in order to achieve the best design view.
It is arrogant. And doomed to fail. Thus, we see again how fixing a
design is wrong.
Why shouldn't we designers give what we believe to be the best
presentation of our work, or more often our clients'
products/services?
Indeed you should. And since we don't know the characteristics of the
display medium, we should not fix the size of the presentation.
Surely we can have the same freedom of expression as anyone else.


Oh my, we've entered the realm of philosophy. But the visitor always
gets the last word. Ultimately, her/his freedom wins out in the war
of presentation.

--
Brian
follow the directions in my address to email me

Jul 20 '05 #26

P: n/a
Tim
On Tue, 9 Sep 2003 15:19:58 -0400,
"Harlan Messinger" <h.*********@comcast.net> wrote:
One wonders how readers of books and magazines have managed all these years!
You obviously haven't had the need to go looking for special large print
editions of books so that you can actually manage to read them.
Believe it or not, many producers of web-based material are trying to
provide a specific and approximately consistent appearance to people having
one of several current-day browsers (including Netscape 4.x, etc.).
Impossible goal.
The small portion of the population that wants to shrink the browser to
a window 200 pixels wide and 600 high, or 1000 wide and 100 high, and
still have a legible presentation is not really a fundamental target.


The fool who thinks that they always know the best way to show a page to
their audience, is still a fool.

It's going to be difficult to cater for extreme variations, but there's
plenty of non-extreme variations that are used, and don't need to be
controlled by the author.

--
My "from" address is totally fake. (Hint: If I wanted e-mails from
complete strangers, I'd have put a real one, there.) Reply to usenet
postings in the same place as you read the message you're replying to.
Jul 20 '05 #27

P: n/a

"Greg Schmidt" <gr***@trawna.com> wrote in message
news:5i********************************@4ax.com...
On Tue, 9 Sep 2003 15:19:58 -0400, "Harlan Messinger"
<h.*********@comcast.net> wrote:
<span style="flame" intention="sincere">
One wonders how readers of books and magazines have managed all these years!Has there ever been a call by the magazine reading community for publishersjust to mail them sequences of words with annotations as to their respectiveroles, so that the readers could produce their own mock-ups to enjoy?
For many years, the only fastener we had was the nail. We used it by
pounding it hard with a hammer. One day, someone invented the screw.


Your analogy is inaccurate in significant ways. The presentation is the
nail. Print media are the hammer. The web is a new tool that is
backwards-compatible with nails and also works with various newfangled
fasteners. When choosing a fastener for a given purpose, the goal is not to
choose a fastener that works only with the new tool, so that we can boast
that we are taking full advantage of the latest technology. The goal is to
choose the fastener that will provide the required fastening qualities. That
fastener may well be the nail.

Have you seen print ads from the 1920s? TV ads from the 1950s? The design
industry has learned much about adding impact to presentations since then. A
decision to *give up* techniques that are proven impact-producers because
*some* people may be using a viewer on which those techniques don't function
so well is not lightly made.

In visual presentations, what counts is what appeals to the eye, and if the
principles that determine that don't happen to have anything to do with
letting people put their browsers' capabilities to a full test, that's fine.
Screws work best if they are *not* pounded hard with a hammer. Screws
are superior to nails in many ways, although there are still places that
nails are best. Both are trying to solve very similar problems, but the
ways in which we apply them are very different. Builders who wanted to
start using screws but refused to learn how to use the screwdriver
presumably didn't last very long.

Paper used to be the best way to present the material. In some cases it
still is. The web is very different from paper, and the sooner people
realize it, the better off we'll all be.
Believe it or not, many producers of web-based material are trying to
provide a specific and approximately consistent appearance to people havingone of several current-day browers (including Netscape 4.x, etc.). The smallportion of the population that wants to shrink the browser to a window 200pixels wide and 600 high, or 1000 wide and 100 high, and still have a
legible presentation is not really a fundamental target.
</span>
Many producers of web-based material are former (or current) desktop
publishing experts who are trying to shoehorn a new medium into a
familiar shape to avoid having to learn something new. The very real
portion of the population that wants to use a browser window less than
800 pixels wide


.... is small and shrinking
and not have to scroll horizontally to read the
information, and the small but growing portion of the population that is
using PDAs with screens less than 600 pixels wide
There are no legitimate expectations that a single presentation is going to
be as effective or useful at 7 cm width as it is at 35, or that either
device is going to be able to take unformatted, tagged information and be
counted on to figure out an effective presentation on its own! And if you
think I'm wrong, then you're contradicting yourself. A web browser on a
computer monitor and a web browser on a PDA may be alike in name, and the
transport mechanism for getting information into them may be the same (HTTP
over the Internet), but they are very different media, just as radio and
television are very different media in spite of the fact that they are fed
by the same transport mechanism (radio waves traveling through the air).
Expecting one type of design to serve both computer monitor and PDA is at
least as misguided as you think applying print design principles to the web
is.

Expecting not to have to scroll horizontally when your screen is 2" wide is
not realistic. Heaven forbid an information provider should want to display
a clickable map of North America, or a legible table of data that's more
than two columns wide.
are targets that are
ignored by these desktop publishing gurus, to the detriment of the
companies that hire said gurus to design their online presence.
Certainly, the more you generalize your code to accommodate a wider number
of platforms, the more you have to discard design factors that work best
within a narrow range, and the less effective the outcome will be on any
given platform. The less effective, the less allure, the less you draw
people in, the less time they spend, the less you entice them to buy, the
less money you bring in. You may reach more people, but you also have less
impact on each of them. So the question is, which is the overriding factor?
Maybe you pick up 10% more people if your code is more flexible, but maybe
your presentation on the major platform is 50% less effective at closing the
sale. Maybe not, but maybe. (I'm using "sale" in a broad sense--maybe you're
selling goods or services, maybe you're trying to win people over to a
cause, maybe you're trying to increase public awareness of some issue. In
each case, success is the "sale".) It's not so cut and dried as you make it
out to be.

And I'd wager that the percentage of people still using Netscape 4.x is
not much larger than the percentage of people who want to use a 200
pixel wide browser window.
I'd be surprised if most people using a PDA-based--or even a
phone-based--browser expected most web sites to be effective in them.
Certainly, *experience thus far* won't lead them to such an expectation. So
unless they're cutting off their noses to spite their faces, I suspect many
of them browse on computers as well. It's a circular situation, but I
suspect that's the way it is.
Netscape 4.x is *not* a "current-day"
browser, it is several years and several versions old. All
"current-day" browsers are quite capable of providing a "specific and
approximately consistent appearance" of an attractive liquid design, in
the hands of a talented designer.


At this point I consider Netscape 4.x to be on the cusp, and intend to
strongly urge new customers to consider not supporting it. IE 4.x too, for
that matter.

Jul 20 '05 #28

P: n/a
Harlan Messinger wrote:
Your analogy is inaccurate in significant ways. The presentation is the
nail. Print media are the hammer.
So what gives you the right to demand _my_ hammer to knock in your screw and
then stand there in amazement when I tell you where to shove your screw?

The presentation is being rendered by the visito's user-agent, not your
servers. The sooner you realise that the better.
A web browser on a
computer monitor and a web browser on a PDA may be alike in name, and the
transport mechanism for getting information into them may be the same
(HTTP over the Internet),
gee, so is the content travelling over HTTP. Its a markup language that
isn't based on presentation.
Expecting one type of design to serve both computer monitor and PDA
is at least as misguided as you think applying print design principles to
the web is.
No. Dogmatically applying print principles to the web is nothing short of
shoehorning the web to fit your blinkers. HTTP and HTML are not visual only
representations. The web is both

* radio that can play a TV programmes sound-only alternative,
* television that can display the music video of the song played on a radio
broadcast.

It is further advanced than TV and radio, yet you insist on obstructing that
flexibility.

Expecting not to have to scroll horizontally when your screen is 2" wide
is not realistic.
Expecting normal text paragraphs not to demand horizontal scrolling is
certainly realistic.
Heaven forbid an information provider should want to
display a clickable map of North America,
This does not justify forcing horizonal scrolling for normal text.
or a legible table of data
that's more than two columns wide.
Properly structured tables offer more than one way of presenting a table.
(Have you ever used a spreadsheet before?)
I'd be surprised if most people using a PDA-based--or even a
phone-based--browser expected most web sites to be effective in them.
Certainly, *experience thus far* won't lead them to such an expectation.


So you've done a poor job before, and that justifies continuing to do so?
--
Iso.
FAQs: http://html-faq.com http://alt-html.org http://allmyfaqs.com/
Recommended Hosting: http://www.affordablehost.com/
Web Design Tutorial: http://www.sitepoint.com/article/1010
Jul 20 '05 #29

P: n/a

"Isofarro" <sp*******@spamdetector.co.uk> wrote in message
news:j9***********@sidious.isolani.co.uk...
Harlan Messinger wrote:
Your analogy is inaccurate in significant ways. The presentation is the
nail. Print media are the hammer.
So what gives you the right to demand _my_ hammer to knock in your screw

and then stand there in amazement when I tell you where to shove your screw?

The presentation is being rendered by the visito's user-agent, not your
servers. The sooner you realise that the better.


That philosophy is exactly like the one I suggested where I send you a
typewritten list of all the words in my presentation, and let you build your
own book or magazine about it. You don't like the way Newsweek lays out its
articles? Then damn Newsweek for having the presumption to dictate to you
how its articles should look to you! The audacity! The gall!

Jul 20 '05 #30

P: n/a
On Wed, Sep 10, Harlan Messinger inscribed on the eternal scroll:
Have you seen print ads from the 1920s? TV ads from the 1950s?
Have you seen web pages from the late 1990's? And folks are still
designing that HTML3.2(spit) presentational crud, despite the good
money being on something significantly better, the ideas for which had
been there from the start, but had been smokescreened by the quasi-DTP
crowd until relatively recently.
The design industry has learned much about adding impact to
presentations since then. A decision to *give up* techniques that
are proven impact-producers because *some* people may be using a
viewer on which those techniques don't function so well is not
lightly made.
Whoever said that _you_ (and anyone else who can use them) have to
give them up? It's just wise to be aware that not everyone is going
to use your particular hammer, but will put your nails into their own
favourite nail-gun regardless of your preferences (to go back to the
rather strange analogy you were trying to make).
In visual presentations, what counts is what appeals to the eye,
Tell that to an indexing robot, quite apart from some proportion of
your human readers.
familiar shape to avoid having to learn something new. The very real
portion of the population that wants to use a browser window less than
800 pixels wide


... is small and shrinking


So you seem to have to tell yourself, in order to stay down the hole
you've dug yourself into, but meantime I'm told that hand-held
displays have really taken off in Japan already, and they're getting
around here too. On the other hand I was reading about 32-inch plasma
displays for domestic use. What's clear to me is that presentation
situations are getting inexorably more diverse. Which, in a different
context, was at the core of why TimBL felt the web needed inventing,
so that's just fine by me.
There are no legitimate expectations that a single presentation is going to
be as effective or useful at 7 cm width as it is at 35, or that either
device is going to be able to take unformatted, tagged information and be
counted on to figure out an effective presentation on its own!
If I was in business, I'd welcome having competitors who are so
determined not to take advantage of the benefits of this medium, but
want it to be little more than a computer simulation of a glossy
brochure, or of a video.
And if you think I'm wrong, then you're contradicting yourself. A
web browser on a computer monitor and a web browser on a PDA may be
alike in name, and the transport mechanism for getting information
into them may be the same (HTTP over the Internet), but they are
very different media,
They are very different presentation situations, just as a video tape
or DVD played at home is very different from a full-size cinema, but
the web is still the web, and a film is still a film.
Expecting one type of design to serve both computer monitor and PDA is at
least as misguided as you think applying print design principles to the web
is.


You may have forgotten that this is an HTML markup group. You are
entirely welcome to offer different stylesheets for as many different
presentation situations as you want to consider; but the core idea is
that the HTML markup can be the same.

Anyway, if you're happy to dig yourself deeper into your hole, go
right ahead. Bye.
Jul 20 '05 #31

P: n/a
Harlan Messinger wrote:

You don't like the way Newsweek lays out its
articles? Then damn Newsweek for having the presumption to dictate to you
how its articles should look to you! The audacity! The gall!


apples vs. oranges. A web page is not a piece of paper.

--
To email a reply, remove (dash)ns(dash). Mail sent to the ns
address is automatically deleted and will not be read.

Jul 20 '05 #32

P: n/a
On Wed, 10 Sep 2003 15:11:28 -0400, "Harlan Messinger"
<h.*********@comcast.net> wrote:

"Greg Schmidt" <gr***@trawna.com> wrote in message
news:5i********************************@4ax.com.. .
On Tue, 9 Sep 2003 15:19:58 -0400, "Harlan Messinger"
<h.*********@comcast.net> wrote:
><span style="flame" intention="sincere">
>One wonders how readers of books and magazines have managed all theseyears! >Has there ever been a call by the magazine reading community forpublishers >just to mail them sequences of words with annotations as to theirrespective >roles, so that the readers could produce their own mock-ups to enjoy?
I missed the biggest hole in this argument before, and would now like to
address my oversight. A situation such as you describe requires
significant effort on the part of the reader. We all know that people
are lazy, and wouldn't bother with this level of effort. Handing people
web pages that their browser displays well requires no extra effort.
Handing them web pages that require massive horizontal scrolling does
require extra effort, and, based on the laziness principle, one can
reasonably assume that they won't bother, and will go elsewhere for
their news and purchases.
For many years, the only fastener we had was the nail. We used it by
pounding it hard with a hammer. One day, someone invented the screw.
Your analogy is inaccurate in significant ways. The presentation is the
nail.


The presentation is the end result of the process. In my analogy, the
end result is the thing you are building. The nail or the screw (and
the wood, I suppose) are the materials that are used to build it,
analagous to the content (text and pictures). The hammer or screwdriver
is the tool which is used to turn the materials (content) into the end
result (presentation). The printed page is the hammer; HTML, CSS and a
web browser are the screwdriver. Of course it's inaccurate, as are all
analogies, but not like you think it is.
When choosing a fastener for a given purpose, the goal is not to
choose a fastener that works only with the new tool, so that we can boast
that we are taking full advantage of the latest technology. The goal is to
choose the fastener that will provide the required fastening qualities. That
fastener may well be the nail.
Indeed, this is why we still have magazines and books, and we always
will. (Sci-fi authors take note.)
Have you seen print ads from the 1920s? TV ads from the 1950s? The design
industry has learned much about adding impact to presentations since then. A
decision to *give up* techniques that are proven impact-producers because
*some* people may be using a viewer on which those techniques don't function
so well is not lightly made.
Yes, I have. Amazingly, TV ads look nothing like print ads. Imagine,
that with the advent of a new medium, with new capabilities, the
presentation changed! TV advertisers did indeed decide to give up the
technique of presenting their wares with a static picture and text when
advertising on TV, because there are more effective ways to do it.

Usability studies have shown that people find it easier to use liquid
pages than fixed-width. Looks like it's time to make the decision to
forge ahead into a brave new world. But that doesn't mean throwing out
everything we have learned. Most of what we know about "producing
impact" will work just as well in a liquid design as in a fixed design.
We just have to give it a little thought and figure out how to best meld
the two. Just as you correctly point out, people once had to find the
best way to use print and TV, why do you now deny that the same process
can and will happen with the web?
In visual presentations, what counts is what appeals to the eye, and if the
principles that determine that don't happen to have anything to do with
letting people put their browsers' capabilities to a full test, that's fine.
I'm not sure quite what you're trying to say, nor how it is germane to
the discussion at hand. Can you elaborate?
The very real
portion of the population that wants to use a browser window less than
800 pixels wide


... is small and shrinking


Keep telling yourself that, if it helps you sleep. The second article
posted in this thread included a link to
http://evolt.org/article/Real_World_...297/index.html
which shows that the mean window size is 806 pixels, and the median is
783. This tells us that more than 50% of the population wants to use a
browser window less than 800 pixels wide. In my book, 50% is not small.
And the sales of PDAs and web-capable cell phones are increasing all the
time, so I don't buy the shrinking portion of your argument either.
There are no legitimate expectations that a single presentation is going to
be as effective or useful at 7 cm width as it is at 35, or that either
device is going to be able to take unformatted, tagged information and be
counted on to figure out an effective presentation on its own!
Nobody said that they would be equally effective. What we are saying is
that, with sensible design guidelines, the presentation can be perfectly
usable at both sizes. A good design will be able to take advantage of a
35cm display, yet still allow the content (okay, the content of a normal
page, not the bizarre statistical outliers that are always dreamed up
for arguments like this) to be readable without horizontal scrolling.
Contrast this to designing the page to be 14cm wide, so that some people
will be able to see it but be annoyed by the wasted space down both
sides of the screen, and some people will have to scroll around a lot.
A web browser on a
computer monitor and a web browser on a PDA may be alike in name, and the
transport mechanism for getting information into them may be the same (HTTP
over the Internet), but they are very different media, just as radio and
television are very different media in spite of the fact that they are fed
by the same transport mechanism (radio waves traveling through the air).
You make this argument, and yet you also argue that both of these "very
different media" are essentially just the same as print media. When you
find yourself contradicting your own position, it may be a sign that
it's time to rethink your position.
Expecting one type of design to serve both computer monitor and PDA is at
least as misguided as you think applying print design principles to the web
is.
I think you have your attributions confused. It is you who is insisting
on applying print design principles to the web. There was a quote
somewhere, ah here it is...
>Believe it or not, many producers of web-based material are trying to
>provide a specific and approximately consistent appearance to people

Expecting not to have to scroll horizontally when your screen is 2" wide is
not realistic. Heaven forbid an information provider should want to display
a clickable map of North America, or a legible table of data that's more
than two columns wide.
There's those statistical outliers I mentioned earlier. The fact that
there are some legitimate times when the content will exceed the window
size (and we can come up with such examples for any given window size)
in no way makes it okay to force horizontal scrolling when the content
doesn't warrant it. To use another inaccurate analogy, just because
some crimes are so horrific that their perpetrators should be put to
death, doesn't mean we should institute capital punishment for petty
theft. (I have a million of them. Before your next posting, please
visit http://www.analogies.r.us/analogy?type=inaccurate )
Certainly, the more you generalize your code to accommodate a wider number
of platforms, the more you have to discard design factors that work best
within a narrow range
This is true.
and the less effective the outcome will be on any
given platform.
I remain respectfully unconvinced that this necessarily follows from the
former. (Inaccurate analogy left as an exercise to the reader.)
I'd be surprised if most people using a PDA-based--or even a
phone-based--browser expected most web sites to be effective in them.
Certainly, *experience thus far* won't lead them to such an expectation.
And we should take advantage of these low expectations to allow us to
cut corners and not bother coming up with designs that will impress
them? Are people actually going out and spending hundreds of dollars on
things that they don't expect will work? Sounds like they have a lot of
disposable income, might be a good market to target with, oh I don't
know, say a web site that actually works on their new toy?
At this point I consider Netscape 4.x to be on the cusp, and intend to
strongly urge new customers to consider not supporting it. IE 4.x too, for
that matter.


At this point there is no reason other than laziness for anyone to be
using a version of IE, Netscape or Opera less than 6. (Don't talk to me
about schools and corporations, that's just institutional laziness. And
don't talk to me about old hardware, since all reports are that Opera
will run quite nicely right down to 386s.)

--
Greg Schmidt (gr***@trawna.com)
Trawna Publications (http://www.trawna.com/)
Jul 20 '05 #33

P: n/a
Greg Schmidt <gr***@trawna.com> wrote in
news:gg********************************@4ax.com:
Nobody said that they would be equally effective. What we are saying is
that, with sensible design guidelines, the presentation can be perfectly
usable at both sizes. A good design will be able to take advantage of a
35cm display, yet still allow the content (okay, the content of a normal
page, not the bizarre statistical outliers that are always dreamed up
for arguments like this) to be readable without horizontal scrolling.
Contrast this to designing the page to be 14cm wide, so that some people
will be able to see it but be annoyed by the wasted space down both
sides of the screen, and some people will have to scroll around a lot.


But isn't the thrust of the Device Independance activity at W3C all about
adapting content to different device and delivery contexts? Content size in
particular is something you can't ignore. Many devices have limited memory
and operate over slow connections so users can't and/or won't see your
content. Some devices want richer content, such as a video stream vs. a
transcript.. there are many examples of where content adaptation is a
better solution.

Visit www.google.com with a WAP enabled device. I think this is perfect.
Jul 20 '05 #34

P: n/a
"Harlan Messinger" <h.*********@comcast.net> writes:
That philosophy is exactly like the one I suggested where I send you a
typewritten list of all the words in my presentation, and let you build your
own book or magazine about it. You don't like the way Newsweek lays out its
articles? Then damn Newsweek for having the presumption to dictate to you
how its articles should look to you! The audacity! The gall!


Having seen some really badly-laid out printed documents, yes I
_would_ like to be able to re-layout them with a couple of clicks of a
mouse. Unfortunately, that feature isn't available on Paper/1.0

That the feature is available on the web is a good thing - if the
site's well designed (or at least appears well designed to whatever UA
I'm using today) then I won't mess with the design and I may even
appreciate it.

If it appears badly designed in whatever UA I'm using, then I'll take
whatever steps are necessary to get at the content. The first one of
these is usually 'look elsewhere'.

--
Chris
Jul 20 '05 #35

P: n/a
Harlan Messinger wrote:
You don't like the way Newsweek lays out its
articles? Then damn Newsweek for having the presumption to dictate to you
how its articles should look to you! The audacity! The gall!


There is a big difference. Newsweek print their articles themselves. They
know that what I see will be what they print[1]. On the web, there is no
such guarantee as the user renders it how they like.
[1] Assuming no printing mistakes

--
Chris Lambert (http://web.trout-fish.org.uk/)
Hey! It compiles! Ship it!
Jul 20 '05 #36

P: n/a
I V
On Wed, 10 Sep 2003 17:27:12 -0400, Harlan Messinger wrote:
"Isofarro" <sp*******@spamdetector.co.uk> wrote in message
news:j9***********@sidious.isolani.co.uk...
The presentation is being rendered by the visito's user-agent, not your
servers. The sooner you realise that the better.
That philosophy is exactly like the one I suggested where I send you a
typewritten list of all the words in my presentation, and let you build
your own book or magazine about it. You don't like the way Newsweek lays
out its


That must be the worst analogy I've seen for some time. The reason your
example behaviour from Newsweek would be so bad is because it would be
extremely cumbersome. This wouldn't be the case if I had, say, a machine I
could feed Newsweek's content and house style guide into, which would
produce a copy of Newsweek on whatever size paper I wanted. A Web browser
is precisely such a machine.
articles? Then damn Newsweek for having the presumption to dictate to
you how its articles should look to you! The audacity! The gall!


No-one is suggesting that Newsweek shouldn't be able to layout their
magazine how they see fit (that's what stylesheets are for). But why
should they be making arbitrary decisions (like what width their content
should be displayed at), and forcing these on users who disagree?

I'll attempt my own bad analogy: would you defend Newsweek attaching a
device to each copy of the magazine which allows it to be read only from
cover to cover, with each page being displayed for exactly ten minutes? Or
would you think it better to let readers choose in what order and for how
long they read each page?

--
"Don't want to be your tiger,
'cos tigers play too rough.'
http://huh.p5.org.uk/

Jul 20 '05 #37

P: n/a

"Alan J. Flavell" <fl*****@mail.cern.ch> wrote in message
news:Pi*******************************@lxplus068.c ern.ch...
On Wed, Sep 10, Harlan Messinger inscribed on the eternal scroll:
Have you seen print ads from the 1920s? TV ads from the 1950s?
Have you seen web pages from the late 1990's? And folks are still
designing that HTML3.2(spit) presentational crud, despite the good
money being on something significantly better, the ideas for which had
been there from the start, but had been smokescreened by the quasi-DTP
crowd until relatively recently.
The design industry has learned much about adding impact to
presentations since then. A decision to *give up* techniques that
are proven impact-producers because *some* people may be using a
viewer on which those techniques don't function so well is not
lightly made.


Whoever said that _you_ (and anyone else who can use them) have to
give them up?


Umm--the person to whom I was originally responding, who said that fixed
widths *shouldn't* be used.
It's just wise to be aware that not everyone is going
to use your particular hammer, but will put your nails into their own
favourite nail-gun regardless of your preferences (to go back to the
rather strange analogy you were trying to make).
In visual presentations, what counts is what appeals to the eye,
Tell that to an indexing robot, quite apart from some proportion of
your human readers.


An indexing robot cares whether your presentation is fixed width or not?
Whether it is usable on a 200-pixel-wide device?
familiar shape to avoid having to learn something new. The very real
portion of the population that wants to use a browser window less than
800 pixels wide
... is small and shrinking


So you seem to have to tell yourself, in order to stay down the hole
you've dug yourself into, but meantime I'm told that hand-held
displays have really taken off in Japan already, and they're getting
around here too. On the other hand I was reading about 32-inch plasma
displays for domestic use. What's clear to me is that presentation
situations are getting inexorably more diverse.


And there's no hope at all for producing a page that will magically arrange
itself effectively on all of those devices, especially if we leave it to the
devices and the person using them to determine what should go where on the
screen.

Consider magazine articles. They have side bars, pull quotes, various kinds
of graphics to supplement the main story. These are extremely effective way
of presenting information. Writing for browsers on computer monitors, I can
use these techniques. If I design the page to flow freely, and a PDA
scrunches everything together so that everything has to be read in a
two-inch-width, 30-inch-high field stream, then pull quotes and many of the
graphics are going to be useless. I'm not going to count on the PDA to
figure something better to do with them. If, meanwhile, I'm simultaneously
reducing my impact on the standard computer screen, then the exercise will
have been an unfortunate one.

If I *do* care about having my material read in PDAs, I'll publish a
separate PDA edition with layout intelligently designed for that purpose.
The separate layouts for the different kinds of screens will be determined
on *my* end.
Which, in a different
context, was at the core of why TimBL felt the web needed inventing,
so that's just fine by me.
There are no legitimate expectations that a single presentation is going to be as effective or useful at 7 cm width as it is at 35, or that either
device is going to be able to take unformatted, tagged information and be counted on to figure out an effective presentation on its own!
If I was in business, I'd welcome having competitors who are so
determined not to take advantage of the benefits of this medium, but
want it to be little more than a computer simulation of a glossy
brochure, or of a video.


I didn't imply I'm determined not to take advantage of the benefits. I'm
saying that the benefits as being described here are in some ways illusory.
Stepping away now from discussing just screen width, I really am much more
interested in controlling the impact I have on viewers who are interested in
the material than I do on pleasing those individuals whose focus is on
whether I'm permitting them to change my text to purple. Some people call
that a benefit. I call it fluff. I have to admit that I'm also not someone
who has all six colors that his cell phone case comes in or spends time
changing the skins on his application windows. The way in which so much
emphasis is placed on colors and skins and personal configuration, and the
*militant* stance some people take on having these interests catered to,
reminds me of someone who shows more interest in the gift box and the
ribbons than in the present.
And if you think I'm wrong, then you're contradicting yourself. A
web browser on a computer monitor and a web browser on a PDA may be
alike in name, and the transport mechanism for getting information
into them may be the same (HTTP over the Internet), but they are
very different media,
They are very different presentation situations, just as a video tape
or DVD played at home is very different from a full-size cinema,


I'm not sure what point you're making here. The proportions are similar, the
apparent size of the TV and the movie screen can be the same apparent size
depending on how far you sit from the screen. The devices do *not* decide on
the layout. If the film's layout needs to be changed for DVD, then the
people producing the DVD do that, *instead* of using some flexible format
that lets the TV decide! Or they provide several formats and let the user
choose one of them, but the user himself doesn't participate in deciding the
layout of any of those formats. So, really, this situation is comparable to
the one I'm going with, where the producer of the material designs the
layout for the device and, if he wants to support multiple devices, designs
multiple layouts, rather than providing no layout and letting the device
figure it out. You've sort of made *my* point.
but
the web is still the web, and a film is still a film.
Expecting one type of design to serve both computer monitor and PDA is at least as misguided as you think applying print design principles to the web is.


You may have forgotten that this is an HTML markup group. You are
entirely welcome to offer different stylesheets for as many different
presentation situations as you want to consider; but the core idea is
that the HTML markup can be the same.


Granted. Which means *I* am providing different layouts for different
purposes. *I* am producing the style sheets. My presentation will appear on
the PDA the way *I* design it for the PDA, and it will appear on the big
screen the way *I* design it for the big screen. This is vastly distinct
from telling me I shouldn't use fixed widths because the *one* format should
work on every device from PDA to big screen. That's all I'm saying.

And any way you slice it, a PDA screen is never going to be a great way to
use a lot of what's available on the web, simply because the eye can take
good advantage of the random visual access available on a large,
two-dimensional presentation, and PDA screens will always be tiny,
one-and-a-half dimensioned, and require lots and lots of scrolling. There's
a reason why nobody buys 3-inch monitors to use with their PCs.

Jul 20 '05 #38

P: n/a
This is getting comical.

Harlan Messinger wrote:

That philosophy is exactly like the one I suggested where I send
you a typewritten list of all the words in my presentation, and let
you build your own book or magazine about it.
That might take me days. Even someone experience in print layout
would need several hours or more to finish it. Fortunately, my pc and
browser program require less than 5 seconds to do that with html. As
little as 2 seconds if the author didn't stick in unnecessary bloat
like fixed tables for layout.
You don't like the way Newsweek lays out its articles? Then damn
Newsweek for having the presumption to dictate to you how its
articles should look to you! The audacity! The gall!


The bad analogy! The lame humor!

--
Brian
follow the directions in my address to email me

Jul 20 '05 #39

P: n/a
"Harlan Messinger" <h.*********@comcast.net> exclaimed in <bj************@id-114100.news.uni-berlin.de>:
displays for domestic use. What's clear to me is that presentation
situations are getting inexorably more diverse.
And there's no hope at all for producing a page that will magically arrange
itself effectively on all of those devices, especially if we leave it to the
devices and the person using them to determine what should go where on the


You did very well up until now, but the above is incorrect.

*You* - or any other author - cannot produce a page that will arrange
itself efficiently on my, or any other, device. You do not know what that
device *is*, nor do you know how I use it, what characteristics it has,
or any of the other information you need.

Which is why you create a logical document independent of the physical
device.

Consider magazine articles. They have side bars, pull quotes, various kinds
of graphics to supplement the main story. These are extremely effective way
of presenting information. Writing for browsers on computer monitors, I can
That would be paper. When you print a book you know very, very well the
physical characteristics of the paper, ink, printing press, and soforth.

When you send a document out over HTTP, you know *nothing*. And that is what
you plan for.
scrunches everything together so that everything has to be read in a
two-inch-width, 30-inch-high field stream, then pull quotes and many of the
graphics are going to be useless. I'm not going to count on the PDA to
You have no idea what will or will not be useless. Only the end user has
that knowledge.
If I *do* care about having my material read in PDAs, I'll publish a
separate PDA edition with layout intelligently designed for that purpose.
The separate layouts for the different kinds of screens will be determined
on *my* end.
That is a very odd definition of "care". I don't fancy it myself. See,
I don't think you *know* how I want things laid out on my PDA.
two-dimensional presentation, and PDA screens will always be tiny,
one-and-a-half dimensioned, and require lots and lots of scrolling. There's
a reason why nobody buys 3-inch monitors to use with their PCs.


Do enlighten us. I find using my PDA to access my workstation quite
nice. Perhaps ... my requirements are not your requirements, and perhaps
I handle information differently ?

Perhaps my physical reality is different from yours - and perhaps that
is good ?

So why don't you just give your users information that can adapt itself
to their reality. That's caring.

--
- Tina Holmboe Greytower Technologies
ti**@greytower.net http://www.greytower.net/
[+46] 0708 557 905
Jul 20 '05 #40

P: n/a
Harlan Messinger wrote:

Granted. Which means *I* am providing different layouts for different
purposes. *I* am producing the style sheets. My presentation will appear on
the PDA the way *I* design it for the PDA, and it will appear on the big
screen the way *I* design it for the big screen. This is vastly distinct
from telling me I shouldn't use fixed widths because the *one* format should
work on every device from PDA to big screen. That's all I'm saying.


Tis true that a single one-size-fits-none fixed design does not work
well across devices, but that is not the entire issue.

You shouldn't use fixed widths not so much because of any one particular
device, but because you cannot know what the browsing environment is for
even any one given @media type.

Not all [insert device here] environments are created equal. In my
particular desktop environment, how can you know what my monitor size
is? Screen size? Window size? Operating system? Browser? Default
text size? Or any one of scads of other variables?

A fixed design by nature only really "works" with a particular set of
variables. Chances are, mine ain't it.

BTW, you delude yourself if you think *your* fixed design is ideal for
my environment. I'd bet money you're wrong, and I never bet money
unless it's a sure thing. ;)

--
To email a reply, remove (dash)ns(dash). Mail sent to the ns
address is automatically deleted and will not be read.

Jul 20 '05 #41

P: n/a
Harlan Messinger wrote:
"Isofarro" <sp*******@spamdetector.co.uk> wrote in message
news:j9***********@sidious.isolani.co.uk...
Harlan Messinger wrote:
> Your analogy is inaccurate in significant ways. The presentation is the
> nail. Print media are the hammer.


So what gives you the right to demand _my_ hammer to knock in your screw

and
then stand there in amazement when I tell you where to shove your screw?

The presentation is being rendered by the visito's user-agent, not your
servers. The sooner you realise that the better.


That philosophy is exactly like the one I suggested


In your print world you would render the content before it is sent to the
user. On the web the rendering happens after the content has been received.
A strawman argument isn't going to help you.
--
Iso.
FAQs: http://html-faq.com http://alt-html.org http://allmyfaqs.com/
Recommended Hosting: http://www.affordablehost.com/
Web Design Tutorial: http://www.sitepoint.com/article/1010
Jul 20 '05 #42

P: n/a

"Tina Holmboe" <ti**@greytower.net> wrote in message
news:pI*******************@newsc.telia.net...
"Harlan Messinger" <h.*********@comcast.net> exclaimed in <bj************@id-114100.news.uni-berlin.de>:
displays for domestic use. What's clear to me is that presentation
situations are getting inexorably more diverse.
And there's no hope at all for producing a page that will magically arrange itself effectively on all of those devices, especially if we leave it to the devices and the person using them to determine what should go where on the
You did very well up until now, but the above is incorrect.

*You* - or any other author - cannot produce a page that will arrange
itself efficiently on my, or any other, device. You do not know what that device *is*, nor do you know how I use it, what characteristics it has,
or any of the other information you need.

Which is why you create a logical document independent of the physical
device.
If I expect that 5 million people will see my page at 800 x 600, and I feel
that 5 million pairs of eyes makes it worth my while to design a display for
that medium that will be maximally effective on that medium, why would it
concern me if there are a bunch of other people capable of receiving the
same stream but who won't be able to appreciate it? If there is a large
enough audience on yet *another* type of device--PDA, whatever, then it may
be worth my while to create another design that targets them, and that will
be maximally effective for them.

Consider magazine articles. They have side bars, pull quotes, various
kinds of graphics to supplement the main story. These are extremely effective way of presenting information. Writing for browsers on computer monitors, I can
That would be paper. When you print a book you know very, very well the
physical characteristics of the paper, ink, printing press, and soforth.

When you send a document out over HTTP, you know *nothing*. And that is what you plan for.
If I know that 100 million people use Netscape and IE on PC screens at
resolutions that allow comfortable use at 800 x 600, then I have a huge
market for which I can create a carefully engineered visual presentation,
the existence of users of *other* products notwithstanding.

Should I not write presentations in English because a German-speaking person
may come across it and then get ticked off because I didn't take him into
consideration? If the English-speaking market is large enough to justify an
English presentation, then I'll produce one, and if there are *also* enough
potential German-speaking viewers to justify it, I'll produce another one in
German. What I will *not* do is produce a presentation in one language, and
then place links for speakers of other languages that will let them
translate my page automatically into their languages. It may make them feel
catered to--and it will also mean they get a garbage presentation because
on-line translators at worst produce garbage and at best look awful.

The bottom line is that either the German-speaking audience is not large
enough for me to concern myself with, in which case I'm not producing a site
for them; or it is, in which case they'll get a professional translation
done or commissioned by me, not one delegated to arbitrary software over
whose translation I have no control.

scrunches everything together so that everything has to be read in a
two-inch-width, 30-inch-high field stream, then pull quotes and many of
the graphics are going to be useless. I'm not going to count on the PDA to


You have no idea what will or will not be useless. Only the end user has
that knowledge.
If I *do* care about having my material read in PDAs, I'll publish a
separate PDA edition with layout intelligently designed for that purpose. The separate layouts for the different kinds of screens will be determined on *my* end.


That is a very odd definition of "care". I don't fancy it myself. See,
I don't think you *know* how I want things laid out on my PDA.


I have a hard time believing this idea that most consumers of information
want to be able to tailor, or have any interest in spending the time
necessary to tailor, every article, every FAQ, every order form, every
catalog page, to look as they want it to, given that all these years people
have been reading print material and watching television, without *ever*
thinking, "Gosh, I wish they would use yellow backgrounds instead of pink
for their side bars. And I'm going to stop subscribing to Goat Farmer Today
until they use Rockwell instead of Times Roman for their headlines." And all
the years I and my colleagues and friends have been using the web, I've
never once heard any of them make any similar comment about a web page.
Sure, if a site is laid out *badly*, they are aware of it. But that's all.


two-dimensional presentation, and PDA screens will always be tiny,
one-and-a-half dimensioned, and require lots and lots of scrolling. There's a reason why nobody buys 3-inch monitors to use with their PCs.
Do enlighten us. I find using my PDA to access my workstation quite
nice. Perhaps ... my requirements are not your requirements, and perhaps
I handle information differently ?


How did you ever manage during pre-web days, without having all your
information presented in a 2-inch by 55-inch column? I'm sure that even for
you (unless you are visually impaired, which is an entirely different
discussion), a two-dimensional screen where your eye can scan and find the
Search field, the highlights, the navigation, the ads, and the content,
without once having to scroll is a more efficient way to work with a web
page than a PDA.

I'm stunned by your implication that I'm providing information, but somehow
have no idea for what purposes that information is useful or what
requirements it fills.

If I'm presenting data in a twelve-column-wide table, either you have a use
for that information or you don't. If you don't, it has nothing to do with
the layout, and I don't expect to include you in the audience. If you do,
well, here's your two-dimensional table with twelve columns. Either scroll
or don't use the table. If your PDA will display the columns one after
another, chained together vertically, so be it, but while you can get the
needed information from it, the visual impact of two dimensions will be
lost. I'm *certainly* not going to design the table so it appears in that
format by default.

If I'm presenting a map of the US that show all county boundaries, and each
county is color-coded to show some piece of pertinent information, then
either scroll, or don't use my page, because the map ain't gonna be usable
at 2 inches wide.

Perhaps my physical reality is different from yours - and perhaps that
is good ?

So why don't you just give your users information that can adapt itself
to their reality. That's caring.


People in the trade have spent decades figuring out what works visually. The
correspondence I'm getting here indicates a complete obliviousness to this
accumulation of knowledge and the benefits to be derived therefrom. The web
is here, so let's throw every last thing we've ever learned about effective
visual presentations out the window.

I can see applying your approach to advertising. Never mind the clever
Absolut ads, the Benneton ads, and so forth, that have emerged over the
years. Let's just send text that says "<ad>Absolut Citron--imagine a bottle
in the shape of a lemon</ad>"; "<ad>Benneton--we have colorful clothes.
Imagine them on two people of different races sitting on a seesaw and
throwing a bowling ball back and forth.</ad."

Jul 20 '05 #43

P: n/a

"kchayka" <kc*********@sihope.com> wrote in message
news:3f********@news.sihope.com...
Harlan Messinger wrote:

Granted. Which means *I* am providing different layouts for different
purposes. *I* am producing the style sheets. My presentation will appear on the PDA the way *I* design it for the PDA, and it will appear on the big
screen the way *I* design it for the big screen. This is vastly distinct
from telling me I shouldn't use fixed widths because the *one* format should work on every device from PDA to big screen. That's all I'm saying.


Tis true that a single one-size-fits-none fixed design does not work
well across devices, but that is not the entire issue.

You shouldn't use fixed widths not so much because of any one particular
device, but because you cannot know what the browsing environment is for
even any one given @media type.

Not all [insert device here] environments are created equal. In my
particular desktop environment, how can you know what my monitor size
is? Screen size? Window size? Operating system? Browser? Default
text size? Or any one of scads of other variables?

A fixed design by nature only really "works" with a particular set of
variables. Chances are, mine ain't it.

BTW, you delude yourself if you think *your* fixed design is ideal for
my environment. I'd bet money you're wrong, and I never bet money
unless it's a sure thing. ;)


And yet I've produced many 800 x 600 web pages that display just fine in a
variety of Netscape and IE versions and therefore are useful for millions
upon millions of people, which together make up, typically, 90-95% of the
people who visit the site. They work on screens from 800 x 600 to 1280 x
1024 and beyond (because no one is making people maximize their browsers),
and they work on Windows and Macs. I make no claim that they're usable by
everyone. I claim that they're usable by enough of the market to justify the
effort, and that the benefits of suiting the remaining market has not
clearly justified the additional effort to do so, or any detraction that
would result to the presentation on the primary platforms.

Jul 20 '05 #44

P: n/a
Greg Schmidt <gr***@trawna.com> wrote:
At this point there is no reason other than laziness for anyone to be
using a version of IE, Netscape or Opera less than 6. (Don't talk to me
about schools and corporations, that's just institutional laziness. And
don't talk to me about old hardware, since all reports are that Opera
will run quite nicely right down to 386s.)


I've used Opera 3.6 on a 386 laptop, and it was indeed very usable. But
that was the last version of Opera to support MS Windows 3.x, and the 386
doesn't have enough horsepower for later versions of MS Windows.

Maybe you could install Linux and a modern browser on a 386, but it would
be cheaper to buy a used P2 system (or equivalent) than to pay for the
expertise needed for the software upgrade.
--
Darin McGrew, mc****@stanfordalumni.org, http://www.rahul.net/mcgrew/
Web Design Group, da***@htmlhelp.com, http://www.HTMLHelp.com/

"If you ate pasta and antipasti, would you still be hungry?" - George Carlin
Jul 20 '05 #45

P: n/a
Harlan Messinger wrote:
"kchayka" <kc*********@sihope.com> wrote in message
news:3f********@news.sihope.com...

A fixed design by nature only really "works" with a particular set of
variables. Chances are, mine ain't it.


And yet I've produced many 800 x 600 web pages that display just fine in a
variety of Netscape and IE versions and therefore are useful for millions
upon millions of people, which together make up, typically, 90-95% of the
people who visit the site. They work on screens from 800 x 600 to 1280 x
1024 and beyond (because no one is making people maximize their browsers),
and they work on Windows and Macs. I make no claim that they're usable by
everyone. I claim that they're usable by enough of the market to justify the
effort, and that the benefits of suiting the remaining market has not
clearly justified the additional effort to do so, or any detraction that
would result to the presentation on the primary platforms.


Seems you are living in the 90's and don't see much benefit in moving
into this century. Oh well, your loss.

BTW, your description of the effort is really backwards. It actually
takes zero effort to make a fluid layout, since that is the natural
order of things. It takes effort to make a fixed layout. The more
inflexible it is, the more effort it takes and the more likely it will
fall apart in different viewing environments, so the narrower your user
base becomes.

--
To email a reply, remove (dash)ns(dash). Mail sent to the ns
address is automatically deleted and will not be read.

Jul 20 '05 #46

P: n/a

"kchayka" <kc*********@sihope.com> wrote in message
news:3f********@news.sihope.com...
Harlan Messinger wrote:
"kchayka" <kc*********@sihope.com> wrote in message
news:3f********@news.sihope.com...

A fixed design by nature only really "works" with a particular set of
variables. Chances are, mine ain't it.
And yet I've produced many 800 x 600 web pages that display just fine in a variety of Netscape and IE versions and therefore are useful for millions upon millions of people, which together make up, typically, 90-95% of the people who visit the site. They work on screens from 800 x 600 to 1280 x
1024 and beyond (because no one is making people maximize their browsers), and they work on Windows and Macs. I make no claim that they're usable by everyone. I claim that they're usable by enough of the market to justify the effort, and that the benefits of suiting the remaining market has not
clearly justified the additional effort to do so, or any detraction that
would result to the presentation on the primary platforms.


Seems you are living in the 90's and don't see much benefit in moving
into this century. Oh well, your loss.


No, I don't believe in changing from what works just because it's not new
and cool. It has to be to my advantage.

BTW, your description of the effort is really backwards. It actually
takes zero effort to make a fluid layout, since that is the natural
order of things.
It doesn't take zero effort to get it so that it looks the way I would like
it to look for people who *do* have standard computer monitors, and yet
flows well for everyone else trying to read large amounts of diverse
information on a screen the size of a matchbook.
It takes effort to make a fixed layout.
And the more effective the result, for those who can view it as it was
designed.
The more
inflexible it is, the more effort it takes and the more likely it will
fall apart in different viewing environments, so the narrower your user
base becomes.


Either the narrowing is not sufficient for me to care, or it is, in which
case I have a whole new medium for which I can create an appropriate design
separate from the one that works very well in the existing medium.

Following your logic, no one should bother printing books and magazines
because fewer people are reading them now that we have television and the
web. The fact is that both are media, both are used by tremendously large
numbers of people, and therefore each offers enormous returns for
presentations engineered specifically for those media.

Jul 20 '05 #47

P: n/a
"Harlan Messinger" <h.*********@comcast.net> exclaimed in <bj************@id-114100.news.uni-berlin.de>:
Which is why you create a logical document independent of the physical
device.
If I expect that 5 million people will see my page at 800 x 600, and I feel
that 5 million pairs of eyes makes it worth my while to design a display for


That is a huge expectation - and quite a mouthful of assumptions to boot.

First, you assume that people SEE.
Second, you assume that people see graphics.
Third, you assume that people run 800x600.
Fourth, you assume that people run their browser in 800x600
Fifth, you assume that they don't need 48pt font sizes.

There is a certain quote from "Under Siege II" which springs to mind;
looking it up is left as an excersise.
enough audience on yet *another* type of device--PDA, whatever, then it may
be worth my while to create another design that targets them, and that will
be maximally effective for them.
Please, Harlan. You are deluding yourself, and it is a pain to watch. There
is no way at all that you can know what is maximally effective for any
single situation.

If I know that 100 million people use Netscape and IE on PC screens at
resolutions that allow comfortable use at 800 x 600, then I have a huge
market for which I can create a carefully engineered visual presentation,
the existence of users of *other* products notwithstanding.
If you knew that - and you can't claim to do - then you have still not
explained your highly subject "comfortable use", dealth with browser
windows that are smaller than the actual resolution, virtual resolutions
and physical viewports, higher font sizes, smaller font sizes, and
a few other bits and pieces.

And that is talking IE on a PC. The very same variables apply to any
other user-agent or system you would care to mention.


Should I not write presentations in English because a German-speaking person
may come across it and then get ticked off because I didn't take him into
consideration? If the English-speaking market is large enough to justify an
Strawman argument. When you write it, you have control over what you write.
If, on the other hand, we all used an artificial language X to encode the
actual content, and that was translated into English or German on the
client side depending on preferences, THEN you would have an argument.

I have a hard time believing this idea that most consumers of information
want to be able to tailor, or have any interest in spending the time
necessary to tailor, every article, every FAQ, every order form, every
catalog page, to look as they want it to, given that all these years people
have been reading print material and watching television, without *ever*
You're actually right. What people *want* to do is configure their system
so that it functions the way they feel most comfortable with. I believe
Matt McIrvin and Todd Fahrner said it better than I ever can. An
excellent article is at

http://www.css.nu/articles/font-analogy.html

which with some imagination applies also to fixed widths.

thinking, "Gosh, I wish they would use yellow backgrounds instead of pink
You know what they have been thinking ?

for their side bars. And I'm going to stop subscribing to Goat Farmer Today
until they use Rockwell instead of Times Roman for their headlines." And all
the years I and my colleagues and friends have been using the web, I've
never once heard any of them make any similar comment about a web page.
Sure, if a site is laid out *badly*, they are aware of it. But that's all.
Then, Sir, I must be rude and claim that you've not used it very long. Those
comments are, with fear of being less than elegant, common. I hear them
daily, even from so-called "stereotypical" users.


Do enlighten us. I find using my PDA to access my workstation quite
nice. Perhaps ... my requirements are not your requirements, and perhaps
I handle information differently ?


How did you ever manage during pre-web days, without having all your
information presented in a 2-inch by 55-inch column? I'm sure that even for


It was a struggle, I assure you. Scarcely a day went by lest I wished I
could reduce The Times to a format that fit me, and didn't require me to
have the arms of a chimpanzee to open it. The bills for broken noses from
fellow passengers grew to untenable amounts.

Y'know what ? Today I can happily plucker The Times online to my PDA
with a nice little cron-job every night, pick it up on my way to the
office, and read it in peace and quiet. I can adjust the contrast. I can
adjust the fonts. I can adjust the colours.

Well, I can. If The Times had not insisted on fixed widths, I could have
run Opera on my phone instead. But Plucker'll do.

I'm stunned by your implication that I'm providing information, but somehow
have no idea for what purposes that information is useful or what
requirements it fills.
Forgive me, but did you read what I wrote ? I'm certain your information
is useful, as opposed to the 80% of crap that exist on the Web today. That
does not change the fact that you have *no idea* what information your
*users* will find useful, in what context, or on what device.

I think the web holds 80% crap. Most of what I consider crap, others
consider good information, and vice versa. I like reading webpages on
my PDA. Others don't. That lack of uniformity is good.

Well. In my mind.


If I'm presenting data in a twelve-column-wide table, either you have a use
for that information or you don't. If you don't, it has nothing to do with
the layout, and I don't expect to include you in the audience. If you do,
You are, then, claiming that if I HAVE a use for the information, I will
by Jove also accept that it is in a two-dimentional table with twelve
columns. If I don't accept that, I don't have a use for the information ?

If I need that table whilst twisted sideways between two sections of a
Caterpillar trying to figure out why the articulated bits and pieces
don't articulate, then my Rugged Handheld(tm) is, suddenly, an indication
to why I don't need the information ... ?[*]

If I got a PDA that can stand the heat outside the furnace of an steel
plant; a PDA that'll fetch your webpage with the information I need from
the web via Bluetooth, I'm not in your "audience" because said PDA don't
have a 14" monitor with 800x600 resolution and by *Jove* nother less
will do ?

Personally I think we are *seriously* miscommunicating here. You can't
possibly think say - in 2003 - that your table SHALL display at xxx pixels
come hell or high water.

or don't use the table. If your PDA will display the columns one after
another, chained together vertically, so be it, but while you can get the
needed information from it, the visual impact of two dimensions will be
lost. I'm *certainly* not going to design the table so it appears in that
format by default.
Who said you had to ? Just create a logically marked up table, suggest a
flexible style for it, and leave it be. That's all anyone can, and will,
ask.


People in the trade have spent decades figuring out what works visually. The


Strawman again. People "in the trade" have spent exactly 13 years trying
to figure out what works *on the web*. So far they have more or less all
failed.

This isn't a piece of paper. The physical characteristics are different;
glaringly different. Yes, that was a pun.
Others have answered you better. I'll leave it at that.

[*]
I don't know what information you provide. I really don't care, either. I'm
trying to show you why *your* physical reality might not fit *my* physical
reality - or anyone else' for that matter.

--
- Tina Holmboe Greytower Technologies
ti**@greytower.net http://www.greytower.net/
[+46] 0708 557 905
Jul 20 '05 #48

P: n/a

"Tina Holmboe" <ti**@greytower.net> wrote in message
news:WO*******************@newsc.telia.net...
"Harlan Messinger" <h.*********@comcast.net> exclaimed in <bj************@id-114100.news.uni-berlin.de>:
Which is why you create a logical document independent of the physical device.
If I expect that 5 million people will see my page at 800 x 600, and I feel
that 5 million pairs of eyes makes it worth my while to design a display for
That is a huge expectation - and quite a mouthful of assumptions to boot.
First, you assume that people SEE.
<sarcasm>
Yes, and damn the print industry all these years for making the same
assumption.
</sarcasm>

See how absurd your characterization of my position is? I suppose all
graphic design principles should have been ignored all these years,
regardless of their benefits in respect of the sighted audience, in favor of
only every producing linear text that a Kurzweil machine could read. Of
course not. That doesn't mean the print industry "assumed" every person
SEES.
Second, you assume that people see graphics.
Ditto.
Third, you assume that people run 800x600.
I *know* that a sufficiently large audience *does* to justify my targeting
that market.

When you write in English, are you assuming everyone knows English? Are you
going to go out of business because you're limiting your audience to English
speakers?

Fourth, you assume that people run their browser in 800x600
Or more. I *know* that a sufficiently large audience *does* to justify my
targeting that market.
Fifth, you assume that they don't need 48pt font sizes.
See 1 and 2, above.
Please, Harlan. You are deluding yourself, and it is a pain to watch. There is no way at all that you can know what is maximally effective for any
single situation.
Well,darn it, I have no way to know what language is spoken by any person
using a given device, and there is no universal language, so I might as well
just not trying to reach anyone.

[snip]


Should I not write presentations in English because a German-speaking
person may come across it and then get ticked off because I didn't take him into consideration? If the English-speaking market is large enough to justify an
Strawman argument. When you write it, you have control over what you write.

When I write for IE and Netscape, I have control over what I write. It's you
who insists that I'm also writing for other platforms without giving me any
say in the matter.
If, on the other hand, we all used an artificial language X to encode the actual content, and that was translated into English or German on the
client side depending on preferences, THEN you would have an argument.
I have a hard time believing this idea that most consumers of
information want to be able to tailor, or have any interest in spending the time
necessary to tailor, every article, every FAQ, every order form, every
catalog page, to look as they want it to, given that all these years people have been reading print material and watching television, without *ever*


You're actually right. What people *want* to do is configure their

system so that it functions the way they feel most comfortable with. I believe
Matt McIrvin and Todd Fahrner said it better than I ever can. An
excellent article is at

http://www.css.nu/articles/font-analogy.html

which with some imagination applies also to fixed widths.

thinking, "Gosh, I wish they would use yellow backgrounds instead of pink

You know what they have been thinking ?
LOL. Come down to earth.
for their side bars. And I'm going to stop subscribing to Goat Farmer
Today until they use Rockwell instead of Times Roman for their headlines." And all the years I and my colleagues and friends have been using the web, I've
never once heard any of them make any similar comment about a web page.
Sure, if a site is laid out *badly*, they are aware of it. But that's all.
Then, Sir, I must be rude and claim that you've not used it very long. Those comments are, with fear of being less than elegant, common. I hear them
daily, even from so-called "stereotypical" users.
Do enlighten us. I find using my PDA to access my workstation quite
nice. Perhaps ... my requirements are not your requirements, and perhaps I handle information differently ?
How did you ever manage during pre-web days, without having all your
information presented in a 2-inch by 55-inch column? I'm sure that even

for
It was a struggle, I assure you. Scarcely a day went by lest I wished I
could reduce The Times to a format that fit me, and didn't require me to
have the arms of a chimpanzee to open it. The bills for broken noses from fellow passengers grew to untenable amounts.
<grin> But I don't think a 2-inch by 55-inch column would have been the
answer. Or, worse yet, a newspaper published each day on adding machine
rolls.

Y'know what ? Today I can happily plucker The Times online to my PDA
with a nice little cron-job every night, pick it up on my way to the
office, and read it in peace and quiet. I can adjust the contrast. I can
adjust the fonts. I can adjust the colours.

Well, I can. If The Times had not insisted on fixed widths, I could have
run Opera on my phone instead. But Plucker'll do.

I'm stunned by your implication that I'm providing information, but
somehow have no idea for what purposes that information is useful or what
requirements it fills.


Forgive me, but did you read what I wrote ? I'm certain your information
is useful, as opposed to the 80% of crap that exist on the Web today.

That does not change the fact that you have *no idea* what information your
*users* will find useful, in what context, or on what device.
If I had no idea, then it wouldn't have occurred to me to provide it to
anyone.

I think the web holds 80% crap. Most of what I consider crap, others
consider good information, and vice versa. I like reading webpages on
my PDA. Others don't. That lack of uniformity is good.

Well. In my mind.


If I'm presenting data in a twelve-column-wide table, either you have a use for that information or you don't. If you don't, it has nothing to do with the layout, and I don't expect to include you in the audience. If you do,

You are, then, claiming that if I HAVE a use for the information, I will
by Jove also accept that it is in a two-dimentional table with twelve
columns. If I don't accept that, I don't have a use for the information ?
If I need that table whilst twisted sideways between two sections of a
Caterpillar trying to figure out why the articulated bits and pieces
don't articulate, then my Rugged Handheld(tm) is, suddenly, an indication to why I don't need the information ... ?[*]
And again you are saying that because *you* use a PDA, no one else should
benefit from what is a better layout than presenting two-dimensional data in
a single column.

If I got a PDA that can stand the heat outside the furnace of an steel
plant; a PDA that'll fetch your webpage with the information I need from
the web via Bluetooth, I'm not in your "audience" because said PDA don't
have a 14" monitor with 800x600 resolution and by *Jove* nother less
will do ?
Right. I don't agree with your premise that the only legitimate audience for
information providers to target is *everyone*, at the expense of every other
consideration.

Personally I think we are *seriously* miscommunicating here. You can't
possibly think say - in 2003 - that your table SHALL display at xxx pixels come hell or high water.
No, I know it *won't* display at 200 pixels, but I'm not going to forgo a
presentation that will be useful for people at 800 pixels. Would you *like*
the information in a format that's useful at 200 pixels? If the group of
people of whom that is true becomes sufficient, then that will become a
market to cater to.
or don't use the table. If your PDA will display the columns one after
another, chained together vertically, so be it, but while you can get
the needed information from it, the visual impact of two dimensions will be
lost. I'm *certainly* not going to design the table so it appears in that format by default.


Who said you had to ? Just create a logically marked up table, suggest a
flexible style for it, and leave it be. That's all anyone can, and will,
ask.


The problem with flexibility is that a layout with its width defined as 95%
of the screen's width can wind up looking really bad if someone resizes his
browser to 400 or 1500 pixels wide, and I have no control over that because
I have little say over how each browser distributes space that's left over
after accounting for fixed-width page elements (graphics, for example).

I'm not *opposed* to flexibility. But in practice it often creates a mess.
And I'm not paid to create a mess.
People in the trade have spent decades figuring out what works visually.
The
Strawman again.
I don't see how.
People "in the trade" have spent exactly 13 years trying
to figure out what works *on the web*. So far they have more or less all
failed.

This isn't a piece of paper. The physical characteristics are different;
glaringly different. Yes, that was a pun.
Eyesight is still eyesight. Text is still text. The basic concepts of
positive and negative space, white space, color relationships, and so forth
haven't changed. And the person who *is* reading a page at 800 pixels does
not find the experience any less beneficial just because it wouldn't *also*
work well at 200.


Others have answered you better. I'll leave it at that.

[snip]

Jul 20 '05 #49

P: n/a
Harlan Messinger wrote:
"kchayka" <kc*********@sihope.com> wrote in message
news:3f********@news.sihope.com...

BTW, your description of the effort is really backwards. It actually
takes zero effort to make a fluid layout, since that is the natural
order of things.
It doesn't take zero effort to get it so that it looks the way I would like
it to look for people who *do* have standard computer monitors, and yet
flows well for everyone else trying to read large amounts of diverse
information on a screen the size of a matchbook.


If you stop limiting this discussion to PDA vs CRT, you might begin to
see that even small differences in browsing environments can have big
effects. Take one of your 800x600 fixed designs and look at it on 2
different CRTs:
17-in monitor, 800x600 screen size (_not_ window size), 96dpi
17-in monitor, 1280x1024 screen size, 96dpi

I imagine the 10px font-size you no doubt set is probably readable for
your average user in the first case, but I guarantee it is not at the
higher resolution. So the second user will have to override it. Does
the layout adjust nicely when this happens? I'd venture to say it doesn't.

Or is the second user expected to change their screen size before they
should view your site? That is a pretty ludicrous expectation.
It takes effort to make a fixed layout.


And the more effective the result, for those who can view it as it was
designed.


You can go right ahead and look at your creations all you want. You
obviously design for yourself anyway, not your users.
The more
inflexible it is, the more effort it takes and the more likely it will
fall apart in different viewing environments, so the narrower your user
base becomes.


Either the narrowing is not sufficient for me to care, or it is, in which
case I have a whole new medium for which I can create an appropriate design
separate from the one that works very well in the existing medium.


What medium are you talking about? I was actually thinking just about
desktop environments, since that's what you only seem to focus on. Are
you suggesting that you present specific, _different_ layouts for low
resolutions and high resolutions (_not_ window size), or for Linux and
Mac, or for Safari and IE, or for 12-inch laptops and 21-inch desktops,
or for 10pt default text size and 24pt, or for [pick any two different
values for a single variable]?

That sounds like a whole lot of extra work to me. Of course, if you are
still expecting users to change their environment to fit your design,
then that's something else. Keep dreamin', pal.
Following your logic, no one should bother printing books and magazines
because fewer people are reading them now that we have television and the
web.
Huh? Are you now being argumentative for its own sake? I don't get
where this came from at all or what it's supposed to mean, but no matter...
The fact is that both are media, both are used by tremendously large
numbers of people, and therefore each offers enormous returns for
presentations engineered specifically for those media.


Ah, but that's the whole point! You don't seem to be engineering
specifically for the web. If you were, I doubt there would be much of a
discussion here. ;) Sounds more like you are engineering for print
media and trying to force it on the web. We really don't need any more
DTP monkeys pretending to be web designers, thank you very much.
They've already made a right mess of things that will take many years to
clean up.

Well, it seems pretty obvious that you have no inclination to be open
minded about any of this - your thinking is just as inflexible as your
designs, I guess. ;)

I see no point in continuing this discussion...

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Jul 20 '05 #50

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