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From Bert Van Kets <>
Subject browser tests
Date Mon, 27 May 2002 09:34:07 GMT
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.

- 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.

- 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!

- 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.

- 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.

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??????


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