Hear Ye! Since 1998.
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Aug 99

Too Tempting

Too tempting not to comment on this. Haven’t sourced where this quote comes from (I’m dealing with the comment, not the person who wrote it. Any parallels between the post and this site would have been purely coincidental.) Make the rounds, you’ll find it.

I hate it when I see a site that has reads, “Best viewed at 800×600” or “Looks best with IE!” and some queer logo… Now people, look. I don’t give a fuck what resolution you run at. I like my browser and I’m not going to change it because you said so. I am not going to change my ways to look at your fucking page. If you knew anything about layout or web site building (not HTML, but actual page layout and design) then you would know how to make your page look its best on every browser at every resolution with all options considered.

Oh yeah, I forgot… you use Frontpage (or some other WYSIWYG POS)… ::sigh::

Remind you of anyone’s page you read? I think I can dredge up a few reasons for placing those “recommended viewing” notices on pages. It may not prompt a user to change browsers, or screen resolutions, but at least it lets the user know that the page has been designed with a specific resolution (or range of resolutions) in mind. If you’re running it in 640×480, you may be wondering why a page looks so crap. Putting down “640×480 not recommended” shows it’s not the designer’s bad design as such, but the designer’s technical limitations in coping with inter-browser compatibilities and screen resolutions. On the other hand, people really shouldn’t be going around on 640×480. I mean, how big do you want the letters on the screen? If it weren’t for the myriad of resolution notices around, people new to the net (and/or computers) may be wondering why so many sites look shonky. They may not know they can change resolutions. When they come across enough of these notices, they may end up changing resolutions.

Yes, it’s true to an extent that good web site design involves accommodating for as many mainstream permutations of platform/operating system, browser and screen resolution as possible, but the line must be drawn somewhere. Good design is not a matter of technical compliance (yes, catering for browser compatibility is not “actual page layout and design” but “HTML” — technical coding), but tailoring design to suit the intended audience. When it comes to sites such as mine, who comprises the regular audience? I’d generalise that most of us would happily fit under the “geek” title (who here doesn’t like technology?). And noting this, how many of us would be running Lynx or IE 2.0? Or going around in 640×480? Even if you were, you’d at least be ashamed to admit it :). You are the audience I’m writing for and I’ve a feeling that the software on your machine is reasonably recent. You’ll be running Windows, Unix or Linux (screw Macs :). You’ll be running it on a decent screen resolution. And you’ll be using a 4th or 5th generation browser. I’ve even catered somewhat for Netscape 3 to be safe.

I use Frontpage. So? You can’t honestly tell me my page looks shit (except in 640×480 :P). It’s not the epitome of web design either, but it’s well constructed. It’s this “l33t” thing again, isn’t it? Where hand coding HTML somehow makes you a better web designer than letting an editor do the gruntwork? (Am I the only webmaster in this little community not warning of the purported “evils” of WYSIWYG editors??)

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