Web site design includes:
HTML and its handling by different Web browsers present unique challenges to the Web site designer. Among the most important is that some browsers understand newer or more sophisticated versions of HTML code than others. All browsers, for example, understand that a certain piece of text is tagged as a title and therefore should look different than text in a body paragraph. Some browsers use versions of HTML that let you specify that the title should be exactly 18 point type. A user with another, less powerful browser that does not support this specification, however, will see the title in the closest approximation to 18 point type his or her browser can deliver. Some browsers can handle online forms or different kinds of backgrounds, while others cannot. Text browsers, such as Lynx, do not display graphics at all.
It is estimated that as of July 1995, some 75% of the Web browsers in use were Netscape browsers. This has led to a line appearing on many sites that says: "This site is optimized for a Netscape browser," meaning that the site uses the most sophisticated features that only the latest version of Netscape's Navigator product will be able to read. The good news is that when a browser cannot read a tag it simply ignores what it cannot interpret, displaying the material as best it can rather than crashing or quitting. Other considerations to keep in mind include:
Another thing to keep in mind is that different people will access your site using different computers and monitors with varying capabilities. You may choose, for example, colors in your graphics that look great on your high resolution, 24 bit, 17" color monitor, but some people using a low resolution 256-color laptop will see your pictures at a different size and the colors will change based on their monitor's capabilities.
As with other areas of Web site development, you will have to decide which of these tasks you have the knowledge, talent, time and resources to do yourself, and with which you want to get help. None of these tasks are beyond the reach of an individual who has the desire to learn. Many different vendors can help you with some or all from designers to freelance programmers to Internet Presence Providers. See Using Vendors and Evaluating Web Sites and Designers for more information. The following sources of information are also available:
HTML and Web Browser Information
Acquiring Windows HTML Editing Tools:
Acquiring Macintosh Editing Tools:
Online Information about Web Browsers:
Newsgroups about the Web & Web Browsers:
Mailing Lists on the topic of HTML:
To subscribe to one or more of the following lists, send an email message of the form email@example.com with the word subscribe as the "subject" of the message (NOT the body). The request-address options are indicated below. Instructions for subscribing to World Wide Web email lists is available.
CGI & Forms:
The Common Gateway Interface (CGI) is a standard for interfacing external applications with information servers, such as HTTP or Web servers.
Sound & Video:
Graphics, Color, Compression:
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