Masthead CMC Magazine / May 1, 1996
 Lessons Learned From Becoming a Self-Publisher on the Web, by David Strom

Don't Fall in Love with Just Looks

Don't get too enamored with the graphical look and feel of your publication. Ironic, coming from a former print editor, dontcha think? While you are developing your production systems, don't forget that many reader/viewers are running text-based browsers or turn their images off because they are coming in from dial-up connections. They'll appreciate your attempts to keep the .GIFs small or even nonexistent. One of my favorite sites was one who's home page was just an image map: Lynx users just saw lots of [LINK]'s with no descriptive text. Part of any production system should be using a shell account with Lynx for testing how your site looks to this crowd. Still think all that money for graphical design is a good idea?

One place where this is changing is the ability to use the Netscape frame extensions: frames are the best thing to come along for a Web publisher -- too bad that they aren't yet supported by other browsers (although that is quickly changing -- remember it wasn't long ago that forms weren't widely supported either). Why the big deal on frames? They allow you to control different views of your publication for different audience interests, at the same time providing navigation aids and a clean and standard mechanism for organizing content. But until they catch on, consider another better-known technology: --email.

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