New directions at NOVALynx! We have been like the plumber
whose own faucets at home are leaking. For our clients, we have begun implementing
simple, fast, scalable pages like the one below. When we have enabled a
website with a database, the main text
area may be easily filled in from any web browser by the
client (who is provided with secure access username and password). It could
contain multiple news items, schedules, etc., and the client could easily
set the dates for the items to appear or expire automatically.
This page has been designed to be functional without graphics enhancement. At this stage, the page is ready for the graphics designer. We often work the other way round with the graphics designers creating the site with their vision. We then implement that design and make it accessible and live with on-line databases to populate the screens.
This page contains no tables and no spacer gifs. The rollovers on navigation buttons are achieved using only CSS (cascading style sheets).
Try print preview on you browser and you will see that the print style sheet is automatically brought in using exactly the same content. There is no need to prepare or maintain separate pages for printing. And no need to push a printer friendly button. The menus disappear because display is set to "none" in the print style sheet when you ask for print.
You might enjoy experimenting with font sizes. In Internet Explorer, go to View -> Text Sizes and see what happens as you change the font sizes from small to large. In the open source browser, Mozilla, select View -> Text Zoom and experiment. You may also use Ctrl-+ and Ctrl-- to change fonts sizes). In Opera, select View -> Zoom and once again try different font sizes measured in percentages. Netscape is now dying and all development on it has been cancelled by AOL. However, old copies will probably be around (and out of date) for some time to come. Mozilla FireFly is a wonderful new, very fast, minimal resources open source browser worth a serious look. The important issue here is that readability on the web is a critical direction for future Web development. The pure text can also be converted to voice output for blind users.
Web users make use of a wide range of screen resolutions and this is also an important consideration. If you change the size of your browser window, you will see that the entire page adjusts for this. You can change your page resolution down to 640 by 480 pixels or up to 1600 by 1200 pixels and still have the screen work properly.
Speed is another important concern. Many people are only able to access the Internet with very slow standard phone lines. The approach used here is very fast for several reason. The only graphic on this page is the logo at the top (graphics text and images, are much larger than pure text and tend to load very slowly). The style sheet used for all pages is pure text and only needs to be loaded once, even though the user moves from page to page on the website.
It is the way the web started out and slowly departed from with the heavy reliance on difficult to maintain graphics pages using slices, spacer gifs and non resizable graphic text. Now with strong directives from the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) and accessibility requirements of governments, institutions and people of conscience, it is returning to the separation of content and design to make the Web accessible to all people.
With CSS, a page can retain the same content and call a style sheet for hand helds, cell phones, visually impaired, tv, print, braille output devices (eventually) and many more formats we may not have thought of yet.