16: HTML Style
And now some final remarks on writing for the internet. You should always bear a logical and transparent structure in mind. Your visitors aren't interested in spending hours to understand how your site works; if they don't find what they were looking for, they will probably leave your site before your message (if there is any) gets to them. Also, make sure your text is readable agaist your background. There are way too many sites out there where the background color or image is way too similar to the text. Background pictures and colors are supposed to be just that: Background. They must not disturb the text.
Always test your files on various browsers with various screen resolutions. If you have a background picture fitting your screen width of perhaps 640 pixels, that will only work on your screen and some others - but for those with larger resolutions what appears on the screen is just an ugly mess. Concerning ugly: While using no graphical elements might be boring, over-use of such is even worse. Think twice before using blinking text, lots of animated GIF files or even background sound. Such a design only shows how much you like gimmicks, but most would consider something like that quite deterring.
There is the possibility to underline text. But mostly, underlined text stands for links. So if you do not want to mislead your visitors on purpose, don't make use of that possibility. Also, use heading tags for headings and for nothing else; and use them at all: They are designed to support the logical structure of the file; for other ways of formatting, use Style Sheets.
Concerning file size, there are two opinions baiscally. The first one is not to produce too large text files, for they would load too slowly. I agree to that if the respective file is containing a large table - because the browser displays the contents only after having read the entire table. So either produce small tables, split them into parts (see my Chronology page) or avoid tables at all. Apart from tables, as you can see, I obviously do not oppose large file sizes - if the text is not mainly contained in a table. I could also divide this text into sixteen parts, have sixteen files and make you click through those sixteen different documents - but I think that such an approach would slow you down much more. So it depends upon various factors; but I think my solution fits this site.
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Finally, I wish you good luck with your HTML, it ain't difficult. A home page is an evolving thing, do not expect to produce perfect results right from the beginning. Up to now, I've changed my layout eight times. That's evolution - you also can observe this with professional sites. And if you think your site looks good, try to get more visitors by adding it to search engines and, if it fits into a certain topic, look for a webring you could join. And eventually it might pay off; you'll know that when the number of visitors is growing or at least remaining at a constant, not too low, number; and when you get positive feedback for your work.
February 10th 1999, January 22nd, 2000