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From Stefano Mazzocchi <stef...@apache.org>
Subject Re: browser tests
Date Mon, 27 May 2002 10:52:10 GMT
Allow me to shade some light on the layout mockups that I did for
forrest.

Bert Van Kets wrote:
> 
> Hi guys,
> Reading some of the remarks this morning I wanted to make my opinion clear
> on web site design.  This opinion is shared by a lot of top web designers
> and can be found in many books on web design.  Not all of the below is
> valid for our current page design, the first one certainly is.
> 
> - Web design is NOT paper design.  You don't create or get a fixed
> design.  Due to differences in browsers, a page can look very different in
> different browsers.  It should always look good though.  A web site is like
> paper in motion, impossible to get "exactly" the way you want it every
> time.  If you don't respect this and create a fixed design, you will impose
> your way of viewing the page on the visitor.  Since he/she is used to
> adjust the browser to his/her needs you are actually not being friendly and
> will scare them away.

True. My goal for forrest was to be able to keep the page 'flowing'
(means, without horizonal scrollbars appearing) down to 600 px or less.
If we had CSS2 'float' that would even be better, but nobody supports it
correctly so we need nested tables, no way around this.
 
> - Never, ever impose a certain browser size on a visitor.  Make sure the
> page looks good from a certain screen size up.  People hate having to
> scroll horizontally or needing to print in landscape.  No problem here with
> our design.

Yep, I spent a few days constructing the layout on paper exactly for
this and I was quite satisfied with it.
 
> - Make sure the text is scalable so that people who don't see that well can
> enlarge the text.  If they can't read the text, they will leave.  CSS can
> set text to a fixed size using pixel sizes to get a design right (to you),
> but it really contradicts with this "rule".  If you use "em" sizing in CSS
> the text is still scalable. 1em is the base browser font size.  You can use
> tenths too.  So setting "font-size : 2.5em;" would make the text size to
> two and a half the default size (if that's possible, otherwise the nearest
> value is used).  If you add a style "font-size : 1em;" to an H1 tag you
> actually make the heading as large as the regular text, yet it's still
> scalable by the user!

There is a big problem here: screen DPI. We have been over this already
on this list and I admittedly couldn't find a cross-browser solution for
this. I'll be very happy if cross-browsing gurus come in and help on
this.
 
> - The site must be usable in a decent way with CSS and/or images
> off.  Opera has a great feature for this:  Press G and the images are
> gone.  You can even make Opera skip CSS, tables and/or font tags using Ctrl-G.
> Setting alt attributes on images (empty or not) is *required* in W3C
> standards.  It's also a must to make you site viewable with images off.

I think we are all set with this. I tried to follow the W3C WAG (web
accessibility guidelines) and the HTML I used for the pages passed HTML
validation and tidy.
 
> - The page must *appear* to load fast.  The page must start to show after
> 11 seconds max using a 28.8 modem or the new visitor will leave.  Since a
> table only shows content when it's fully loaded it's not wise to put the
> whole page in a table.  It's better to split up the page in different
> tables and put them on top of each other.  It will create a bit more code,
> but this is neglectable compared to the speed gain.  To my opinion the site
> is also easier to manage when separate tables are used.  Parts can  easier
> be moved around and rows don't interfere with each other.  Dreamweaver and
> probably other applications allow to select a complete table at once,
> making adjustments to menus etc. very easy.
> Adding height and width tags to every image also helps since the browser
> can start building the page before the images are loaded.  A design doesn't
> break when an image is not found and height and width attributes are set.

Again, this was done even if I couldn't find a way to do this for the
vertical toolbar.

Laura suggested me to try to come up with horizonal navigation, but I
think our navigation structure might become simply too deep to make a
good use of this.

Again, any improvement on this is welcome.
 
> There is a certain way I want to use to get the site done ASAP.  I have
> come up with this after a few years of professional webbuilding.  In a
> complete cycle for a commercial
> Stage 1: The content is decided on (Done)
> Stage 2: The design is made (Done, so I thought)
> Stage 3: The design is used to create an HTML template (partly done, fine
> tuning and CSS implementation to be done)
> Stage 4: The HTML template is used to create the site (whether this is pure
> HTML, XSL or something else is irrelevant).
> 
> Do we go back to Stage 2??????

If you think we need it, yes, please do so.

I'm by far not a guru on graphics, layout, cross-browsing and usability.
I read docs and I had a great teacher, but this makes me a good student,
nothing more.

My intent was to attract enough talents to help the process move
forward. It seems that I succeeded. So, feel free to dump everythig down
the drain and start again, if you think that's the case.

Thanks for helping :)

-- 
Stefano Mazzocchi      One must still have chaos in oneself to be
                          able to give birth to a dancing star.
<stefano@apache.org>                             Friedrich Nietzsche
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