of the web
Here is a list of the big ones.
All the things on the web except plain text take time to download (sit
in your computer). Animations take the longest followed by BIG graphics
followed by sounds and small graphics. I would like you to be aware
that people dont like to wait for things. 10 secs later and you may
have lost them. They will just truck on out of there, off to another
So... what is the verdict? Animations, big graphics etc. should not
be included unless they are absolutely necessary to convey the information
They're are browsers and versions of browsers. The two biggest are
Microsoft Internet Explorer (ver. 2,3,4,5) and Netscape Navigator (ver.
2,3,4 and almost 5). They are different and display the pages slightly
differently. As a webmaster I have both installed on my system to compare
the results but older versions do not recognise some of the latest
HTML commands and therefore will not display properly.
There are also many other browsers (the web interface) so
just be aware that not everyone has the latest version of Explorer
First two paragraphs updated Feb 2008 taken from Wikipedia article on Display Resolution.
At one time 800�600 was the most common choice for exploring the internet, but that changed in the year 2002. Currently 1024�768 Extended Graphics Array is the most common display resolution. Many web sites and multimedia products were re-designed from the previous 800�600 format to the higher 1024�768-optimized layout.
The availability of inexpensive LCD monitors has made the 5:4 aspect ratio resolution of 1280�1024 more popular for desktop usage. Many computer users including CAD users, graphic artists and video game players run their computers at 1600�1200 resolution (UXGA, Ultra-eXtended) or higher if they have the necessary equipment. Other recently available resolutions include oversize aspects like 1400�1050 SXGA+ and wide aspects like 1280�720 WXGA, 1680�1050 WSXGA+, and 1920�1200 WUXGA
You probably know monitor sizes are increasing. A system used to be
standard with a 14" monitor but lately it has gone through 15" to 17" standards!
21 inch monitors used to be the preserve of newspaper layout designers
but not any more. On the other side of the coin is palmtop/desktop
and WebTV! The size of the monitor doesn't matter so much for the website
it is what the screen is sized at, that is the monitors width
and height measured in pixels which is important.
This diagram shows some of the different screen sizes that websites
have to tackle. You may have seen some website saying this page optimised
for 800 by 600 or whatever. That is the webmaster not doing his job
which is to try and make the page work for all or at least most screen
sizes. You can do this by setting out tables in percentages rather
than actual pixel values for example.
A net mob has come up with these statistics for installed plugins which
contradicts what I say below...
Personally I doubt the veracity of these statistics as far as extrapolating
away from their sample base.
Which Plug-ins do your visitors have?
Multimedia plug-ins have the largest installed base- with LiveAudio
(81.5%), AVI (74.26%), Quick Time (69.63%), Beatnik (36.79%), Media
Player(34.38%), and Real Audio Player (29.57%) all in the top ten.
Other top plug-ins include, Shockwave Flash (62.4%), Shockwave for
Directors (33.63%), Adobe Acrobat (30.62%), and Cosmo - a virtual reality
** Stats taken 6/28/1999 by Statmarket http://www.statmarket.com/
Here is some more from them...
Plug-in usage on the Web is becoming more popular, in general. Seven
of the ten top plug-ins have increased their installed market share
- with RealPlayer showing 166.55% growth since the beginning of this
year. Following RealPlayer, in decreasing order of market share growth,
are Beatnik (112.11%), Shockwave Flash (44.89%), Adobe Acrobat (34.62%),
Shockwave for Director (29.05%), AVI (7.60%), and LiveAudio (6.07%).
Here is what I say...
These are separate programmes that are not part of the browser but
interact with it (as a separate programme that 'plugs in" to it) to
enhance something like multimedia (realplayer, quicktime) or animations
(flash). The trouble is that some/most people dont have them and dont
want to or dont know how to download them. Herein lies a difficult
dilemna as they sometimes but not always make a page more interesting
showing a little film clip or cartoon or whatever. Great segue (pron.
'segway' meaning 'way of leading into or introducing the next part
or segment') yeah right but great segue anyway into...
Internet User inexperience
Not everyone is going to spend hours (or years) of their lives getting
to know the quirks and foibles of the web. If I see a sight using
a Flash animation with no choice to get out of it I just wonder.
Who do they think is going to see this? I try to keep up to the latest
plugin versions and still I am amazed after waiting a couple of minutes
or longer for a download to get the message I need my plugin updated,
yeah great and fudge to you too. There is an amazing statistic of
how many people who do not know how to use the scroll
bars . The people who dont know how to use them never see
the bottom of any screen because they cant get there. I do not blame
the inexperienced user, some of the shortcuts and methods of navigation
or even email usage can be daunting to the new user. I do blame web
designers for not designing sites which are easy to navigate and
for assuming that everyone is highly experienced with computers and
the internet and has heaps of time to sit down and figure it out.
The little things that add up to a big thing
For this segment I wanted to list all the things that I wish everyone
realised about web design. Stuff like the fact that I can name a
typeface (or font) on a page, like say Garamond or Bembo (serif)
or Universe or Humanst 521 BT (sans serif) and while they may look
as I intended on my computer there is no way of telling if YOU have
those fonts installed on your computer. You will probably just default
to good old Times New Roman (serif) or Arial (sans serif).
Colours and sizes of type and areas of the page are also problematic
and computer systems depending on age, memory, speed bla bla, do not
display colours the same way (256, 16 bit, millions, 12 etc.)
You've heard me go on about speed and the problem is speed is also
not standardised in any way so depending on modem, processor, memory,
ISP (Internet Service Provider), even browser type and version, not
to mention connection (satellite, T1, ISDN, dial-up). It all means
that some people see pages quicker than others but should the people
with older systems be disadvantaged? I dont think so. Sure we are heading
toward faster connections but at the moment MOST people dont have fast
download speeds so why pretend they do?
Particularly as the most important thing is content , which
so many pages just forget outright and think if they have some flashy
animations and pictures that they have a great site, wrong. You have
a waste of money and if you can entice people to your site which may
register on the 'hit' counter I guarantee they will not return. You
have to have useful information regularly updated. Games, contests,
reports are good for return visits. Chat pages are getting a little
old for me but some people love them and I still post occasionally
to sports discussion and rock band discussion pages.
All information on the web is not secure.
Author: David Thatcher
HardWeb - making websites work
07 5526 2939
0401 352 269
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Gold Coast Queensland 4218
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