DESIGNING YOUR OWN WEBSITE

Vicky Vickers

PART TWELVE: ADVANCED TECHNIQUES
Website design is a rapidly changing technology. HTML is a growing language. New techniques are being added at a terrific pace. Most of them are, however, not necessary for great site design. And, as a matter of fact, some of these techniques can complicate the pages to the point of making them difficult to browse. Remember the first rule of website design - KISS - Keep It Short and Simple!

Font size and colours
HTML Version 3.0 (yes, this computer language has versions) allows you to individually colour and size text. You can choose to use either colour, size or both together as follows (don't forget the close tag):

<font color="#336699" size="2">Text goes here</font>

Frames
Frames divide the page into sections. If they are well done, they can be an asset to the site, but poorly done, can leave browsers so frustrated, they leave. Personally, I prefer not to use frames. If you would like to include frames in your website, I suggest staying to a narrow index frame down the left side of the page, which will divide your page into two frames. I find sites with three or more frames difficult to use, as you can't see very much information in the main frame. Frames are not difficult to program. You can find a great tutorial on them, written by Paul Evád at www.kudosnet.com/frames/.

Data-Base
Data-bases are very handy if you have to up-date lists of information frequently. They can be either server generated, using CGI scripting, or produced from your own data-base such as FileMaker Pro. A great tutorial on this, again by Paul Evád, is at www.kudosnet.com/databases/

Java
Java is really high end stuff and requires you to learn a complicated programming language. It helps if you already know another language or two, but, I am told that it is completely different to any other programming language. Pre-written Java applets, written with Java, which is an extension language, can be downloaded on the Web, But be careful, very complicated or too many applets on a page can cause a browser's computer to crash! If you want them to come back, remember "less is often more". An introductory explanation of Java by Chris Halsall can be found at www.wabbit.com/JavaDemo/.

JavaScript
A compact, object-based scripting language, JavaScript can be used to respond to user events such as mouse clicks, form input, and page navigation. An explanation of simple Java scripting for forms by WEAV President (1998), Murray Fallen, is at www.islandnet.com/~cvcprod/weav/java1.html.

Technique Library
WEAV maintains a library (www.weav.bc.ca/library.html) of sites with information on website design.

Tip
Design your site for the audience you expect to be browsing it. If your potential audience is "plain folk", keep your design really simple, as a lot of people are still cruising the Web with out-dated browsers, and small monitors. If you are going after large corporations, where the browsers are more sophisticated, then you can put more "whistles and bells" into your design. At the other end of the spectrum, if you are designing for persons who may be mostly cruising over the Freenet, you need to keep your design extremely simple, as they will most likely not be using graphic-capable browsers.

Acknowledgements
This article was published in the February 1997 issue of the Victoria Macintosh Users Group's monthly newsletter "MACtalk" in Vicky's monthly article "VMUG On-Line" and in the Spring 1997 issue of the Web Enthusiasts Association of Victoria's quarterly on-line newsletter.

Vicky Vickers is the owner of Word Crunchers, Etc. which specializes in website design and HTML training. She is a past-president (1994-6) and former webmaster (1995-8) of Victoria Macintosh Users Group (VMUG). She also founded and was the first president (1996) of the Web Enthusiasts Association of Victoria (WEAV).

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Call me today at 250-595-6593 to discuss your website design
or e-mail me at vicky@crunchers.bc.ca

Vicky Vickers, Word Crunchers, Etc.
3290 Shelley Street, Victoria, BC, V8P 4A5
Fax: 250-595-7384 (call first)


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