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From Henning von Bargen <H.vonBar...@triestram-partner.de>
Subject AW: [OT] Design Rant
Date Fri, 21 Dec 2001 11:33:52 GMT
> -----Urspr√ľngliche Nachricht-----
> Von:	Robert Koberg [SMTP:rob@koberg.com]
> Gesendet am:	Freitag, 21. Dezember 2001 13:46
> An:	general@xml.apache.org
> Betreff:	Re: [OT] Design Rant
> >----- Original Message -----
> >From: "Henning von Bargen" <H.vonBargen@triestram-partner.de>
> > A HTML page should simply be coded in a linear fashion
> > (I read that somewhere in an article about designing web pages for
> impaired
> > readers),
> I've never heard of the horizontally impaired :) - joking, I understand
> you mean
> It would certainly make life easier to build one column pages :)  The last
> 'professional' website I made was:
> http://teenlearningnetwork.com (very heavy and if your browser has trouble
> with tables it will have trouble with this site...)
> you would not believe the battles I had to go through to get them to
> to some _minimum_ usability standards (I failed in many ways...). Both the
> designer and executive producer wanted a 'flashy' site to attract the
> kiddies. I came in after the site was designed and just applied some
> xml/xslt/java goodness to generate the site. I'd like to see somebody
> that design without tables :) I guess my point is my mortgage in SF is
> expensive and I have to pay the bills...

I personally like the layout of that page (viewing with IE6), but...
- My manager would say "It looks like a bird had run over it" (it's a mess).

  Many people might find the layout confusing (but maybe not the intended
- The page actually doesn't contain any information, it is only a very
"flashy" menu.
- Could (for example) a blind person using a screen reader use it
  or is there another "simple" version of the page? If so, I can't find a
link to it...
  Isn't there a kinf of law in America that web-pages have to be usable for
  (I know this is theoretical...)
- The page makes heavy use of Flash, so you could as well make a full Flash
  and a simple, clean HTML version.

Apart from that, since the page uses Flash it is obviously designed only for

the mainstream (people using MSIE and Netscape on Windows) anyway,
using tables for it is perfectly reaonable.

> > so that it is usable with screen readers.
> > As a rule of thumb, it should be more or less possible to read the html
> code
> > like a book if you think all the html tags stripped off.
> but that does not suit everybody's needs.  So you feel there should not
> be a side-nav-bar?  I work a good deal with designers (well, actually

I sidebar doesn't mean you have to use tables.
I like the examples in http://bluerobot.com/web/layouts/layout1.html

> graphic artists...). Just like when you guys look at a a highly styled
> and feel it is ridiculous, they look at a basic one column layout and cry
> "Amatuer!"  It has been my experience that the designer is there with the
> client way before the developer. So they have early infleunce. And in many
> cases the person paying for the site wants something 'that stands out.'

OK, you're right there.
On the other hand, I develop web applications with databases
(where everything except some images is generated dynamically)
and our customers wanted to have the generated pages small in size and easy
to understand so that everybody can use them on any browser 
using slow-speed connections.
So, it depends on your customer of course.
He pays you - you do it the way he wants.

> > Tables should be used for tabular data only inside the content
> > and (as a practical exception) can be used inside toolbars at the top
> > bottom
> > which aren't part of the content.
> yes, and personal computers are for spreadsheets -- can you imagine the
> security risks if pc's were networked? Curious, why do make just the one
> practical exception?

You meant it as a joke, but it's true! NIMDA and co are still around. 
Every web server is attacked every day. 
We're lucky because we are using Apache servers and not IIS.

The one exception is: navigation bars and so on are not content,
so a small table (one row, for example) is ok.
You could use a table with a caption "navigation bar" or so and a
user with a screen reader could skip it when he looks for the content.

> > BTW, the text resizing problem you mentioned above is exactly the same
> with
> > fixed-size tables.
> > All that pixel-measuring-stuff should be left to the browsers.
> >
> that is not my experience.  Absolutely positioned DIVs can (and do if text
> is resized) overlap each other. Table cells push each other one way or the
> other (or the text wraps).  So, yes, it is best to let the browser handle
> (but first give it some idea what to do)

I have to admit I didn't test it, because I don't use absolutely positioned
DIVs ;-)

> best,
> -Rob
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