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  1. #26
    I am obstructing justice. bronze trophy fatnewt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by imusicians
    Well then here's the dumb question:

    If we're supposed to design for device independence, what do I do when an advertiser wants to buy a 760x80 (or whatever size) banner ad?

    That won't fit on a 320x240 display, or a 640x480 - so should I not sell that ad size?
    Use CSS to power your layout and only show a wide banner ad on a device that can handle it.

    Multiple, media-specific style sheets, my friend. Although not entirely supported, they are the answer for sexiness in the diversity of the Web.
    Colin Temple [twitter: @cailean]
    Web Analyst at Napkyn


  2. #27
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    Two things about what's transpired in this thread, that I'm now very glad I started:

    1) "although not entirely supported" - ? Isn't implementing a design that's "not entirely supported" going to screw up just as many people as if I made it 1024x768?

    2) For those who suggested I use percentages instead of absolutes, I'm experimenting with it and came up with a problem that I can't wrap my head around, since it's now past midnight and I have a 17-day-old infant. The original page is at www.imusicians.com - the same page with the absolute left and right margins and a percentage for the middle column is at www.imusicians.com/indexNeil.php - I ask the indulgence of the gurus here for a second to help me figure out how to get around that rather unfortunate graphic at the top of the middle column.

    Much like MSN, I will have a photo with each "cover story", and the cover story gets updated every couple of days. How do I make that photo as "dynamic" as the rest of the layout - meaning, how do I make it look "right", no matter what your resolution?

    Thanks for the help,
    Neil
    imusicians.com
    The new website for musicians.
    More features. Less money. And a lot less bull.

  3. #28
    SitePoint Wizard LeoWebDesign's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by imusicians
    Two things about what's transpired in this thread, that I'm now very glad I started:

    1) "although not entirely supported" - ? Isn't implementing a design that's "not entirely supported" going to screw up just as many people as if I made it 1024x768?

    2) For those who suggested I use percentages instead of absolutes, I'm experimenting with it and came up with a problem that I can't wrap my head around, since it's now past midnight and I have a 17-day-old infant. The original page is at www.imusicians.com - the same page with the absolute left and right margins and a percentage for the middle column is at www.imusicians.com/indexNeil.php - I ask the indulgence of the gurus here for a second to help me figure out how to get around that rather unfortunate graphic at the top of the middle column.

    Much like MSN, I will have a photo with each "cover story", and the cover story gets updated every couple of days. How do I make that photo as "dynamic" as the rest of the layout - meaning, how do I make it look "right", no matter what your resolution?

    Thanks for the help,
    Neil
    I think what fatnewt was getting at is that multiple CSS is the future in his opinion.

    To fix that graphic problem remove the graphic as a background. Just insert it as a graphic. Then it won't tile like that. If your using CSS and need it to be a background (if you want text over it or whatever) you can use- background-repeat : no-repeat;

  4. #29
    I am obstructing justice. bronze trophy fatnewt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by imusicians
    1) "although not entirely supported" - ? Isn't implementing a design that's "not entirely supported" going to screw up just as many people as if I made it 1024x768?
    Multiple stylesheets (through the media attribute of the <link> element) are practical. Now. Make one for regular browsing, one for print, and one for handhelds if you can...

    By "not entirely supported" i meant that not all PDA/cell phone browsers are CSS-capable. Adding multiple stylesheets won't screw up these phones any more than before.
    Colin Temple [twitter: @cailean]
    Web Analyst at Napkyn


  5. #30
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    That's an awfully large learning curve.

    I'm used to learning stuff as I go; it's how I've gone every step of the way so far, from learning HTML to Flash to PHP to mySQL - just start working with it, look up a tutorial when I run into something I don't know. One major thing I've avoided so far (because it was a little intimidating) was CSS. I know just enough CSS to be able to define different font styles.

    I hear what y'all are saying, and it makes sense. Trouble is, what you're suggesting would push back my entire project two or three weeks, while I learned CSS and then reformatted the hundred or so pages I've built so far.

    I guess in the smartest scenario, I could build a parallel version of the site with the new formatting, and rebuild pages from scratch - it would probably help me "lean out" the code a little, too.

    If you can point me to a comprehensive (yet simple to understand) CSS tutorial or manual, I'd be grateful. You've given me a rather colossal project.

    Thanks for pointing me in the right direction,
    Neil
    imusicians.com
    The new website for musicians.
    More features. Less money. And a lot less bull.

  6. #31
    I am obstructing justice. bronze trophy fatnewt's Avatar
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    Well, the good news is that CSS would fix that problem of reformatting pages. One CSS stylesheet for the entire site. One place to change styles.

    Won't help you now but if you ever want to make a change in the future....
    Colin Temple [twitter: @cailean]
    Web Analyst at Napkyn


  7. #32
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by imusicians
    Well then here's the dumb question:

    If we're supposed to design for device independence, what do I do when an advertiser wants to buy a 760x80 (or whatever size) banner ad?

    That won't fit on a 320x240 display, or a 640x480 - so should I not sell that ad size?
    If a user really wants to see your ads they'll scroll .

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by vgarcia
    If a user really wants to see your ads they'll scroll .
    Well, forgive what may seem like a smart-a$$ question, but...

    If they'll scroll for my ads, why won't they scroll for my content?
    imusicians.com
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  9. #34
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy someonewhois's Avatar
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    If you use perecentages then the content will scroll. If you have a fixed width then your ads will go past it, IF your ads aren't in the same table (so there's nothing to stretch).

    Edit: Gah, I should stop posting in forums this early in the morning. They won't scroll for ads, that's the point. Making them scroll for ads is a sure fire way to make them not click them

  10. #35
    ☆★☆★ silver trophy vgarcia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by imusicians
    Well, forgive what may seem like a smart-a$$ question, but...

    If they'll scroll for my ads, why won't they scroll for my content?
    Actually, I was providing a sarcastic answer . Many small-screen browsers (i.e. Pocket IE or the browser found in the Sidekick phone) resize images to fit on-screen. As for other mobile phone browsers, they have varying support for images in general, so make sure you have meaningful alt text that the ad can be replaced with if it goes down to text-only.

  11. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by vgarcia
    Actually, I was providing a sarcastic answer .
    As was I; but you raise an interesting point, that probably would be a thread unto itself.

    There seems to be a view among web folk that advertising content should be considered disposable, or a necessary evil, a weakness in design, or some other view that connotes "2nd-class content".

    I wonder why that is? Personally, I'm going out of my way to get my site ready for targeted advertisers. Every page I build has a target advertiser, or group of advertisers in mind, and I approach it just as much from a perspective of "what ads will benefit my users" as from "what ads will benefit me"?

    It's one reason that in the short-term, until I can devote time to selling ad space, I've become a fan of AdSense. The ads are specifically targeted, based on the content of the page. So rather than assuming that people reading a page about guitars would want to see an ad for an online casino, they show my users ads that will help them find the guitar they want at a fair price.

    Earlier in this thread, someone (I forget whom) suggested that to save space and make my layout work in an 800x600 setting, I could make the ads smaller. I understand that the suggestion could have been sarcasm as well, but if I'm running a website as a business, why on Earth would I want to make the ads smaller?

    I'm strolling off-topic, but staying on-topic in that ad space is a critical part of my site's design - this site ain't a hobby, it's a business - so having fixed-width areas that allow for "industry-standard" ad sizes is as important to the site as the server.
    imusicians.com
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  12. #37
    web designer
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    The right time to stop concerning yourself with d800/600 resolutions, is when it stops becoming the default setting in the MS operating systems.

    Most users dont even know how to change the setting, so which explains why still around 40% of visitors to my site use this screen res.

  13. #38
    SitePoint Wizard LeoWebDesign's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by imusicians
    Earlier in this thread, someone (I forget whom) suggested that to save space and make my layout work in an 800x600 setting, I could make the ads smaller. I understand that the suggestion could have been sarcasm as well, but if I'm running a website as a business, why on Earth would I want to make the ads smaller?

    I'm strolling off-topic, but staying on-topic in that ad space is a critical part of my site's design - this site ain't a hobby, it's a business - so having fixed-width areas that allow for "industry-standard" ad sizes is as important to the site as the server.
    I believe that was me that made that semi-sarcastic remark about making your ads smaller. Keep in mind that people don't come to your site to view ads. If your ads overshadow your content too much it could affect your return rate. It's a fine line.

    Typically right hand column ads are either 120px by 600px or 160px by 600px. Companies will have creative suited to fit these industry standards. If you want to sell the most space in that right column I would make it 160px by 600px which allows for both. If they don't think their ads will fit it could turn them off.

  14. #39
    I am obstructing justice. bronze trophy fatnewt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cloak
    The right time to stop concerning yourself with d800/600 resolutions, is when it stops becoming the default setting in the MS operating systems.

    Most users dont even know how to change the setting, so which explains why still around 40% of visitors to my site use this screen res.
    That sounds as if you're suggesting that the 40% of people using 800x600 just don't know any better. As if everyone would rather 1024x768? That's just plain not true. Read the rest of this thread if you haven't already.


    and change when MS changes? ...So we should only be concerned with Microsoft and users who can't change the setting?

    <blatant sarcasm>
    Who cares about Mac? Who cares about Linux? Who cares about people who suffer from poor eyesight, or who are using small monitors? Who cares about the early adopters with their new cell phones and PDAs?

    And let's only design for IE6. IE 5 is old. Nobody cares about Mozilla, Netscape, Opera or any of that nonsense!
    </blatant sarcasm>

    Is the importance of device independance and user preference lost on you?
    Colin Temple [twitter: @cailean]
    Web Analyst at Napkyn


  15. #40
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    Youre over analysing what i said, its much simpler than you think. 40% of people, from my statistics, are using 800/600, whatever their reasons, its irrelevant.

    The majortiy (96%) of internet users use MS OSs, which set 800/600 as default. When this changes, the numbers of users using 800/600 will drop significantly. Thats it, im not going into the thics of compunting, and microsofts monopoly, and our reliance upon MS for guidance, its just plain fact.

    Edit: BTW, dont use IE, and i design for everyone, 800/600 up, and from IE5 to firefox, and everything in between. A good designer can create a site that works for everyone.

  16. #41
    I am obstructing justice. bronze trophy fatnewt's Avatar
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    Very well. But:

    Quote Originally Posted by cloak
    The right time to stop concerning yourself with d800/600 resolutions, is when it stops becoming the default setting in the MS operating systems.
    This is what I had the problem with. Because MS changes it doesn't mean that you should stop concerning yourself with it. As discussed, resolutions aren't about performance upgrades, they're about preference. Many people do know how to change their resolutions, and sites should be usable on any platform the way the user chooses.

    Also, your statistics are for your site. That's fine if you want to cater to your visitors, but don't make suggestions to others based purely on your own site's traffic.
    Colin Temple [twitter: @cailean]
    Web Analyst at Napkyn


  17. #42
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    two points i want to make:

    1. it. is. not. about. resolution.

    2. congratulations! you finally understand the internet! yes, device independence!! omigod, it's so simple!! a web site is about content!! design the content for every device!! including cell phones, 640x480 and even dual monitors!!

    don't agree? read the entire thread again, and go back to point #1

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  18. #43
    I am obstructing justice. bronze trophy fatnewt's Avatar
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    voila.
    Colin Temple [twitter: @cailean]
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  19. #44
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    I'm grateful for the help that has come out of this thread. And I'll certainly begin experimenting with CSS and figuring out how to make the site usable at a variety of resolutions, on a variety of devices.

    However, just because someone puffs out their chest and says "Here. is. the. way. it. is..." doesn't make it so. Everyone's situation is different.

    For example - I absolutely refuse to bust my butt making the site design work on a 640x480 screen. Is that because I don't know how? No. Is it because I don't "understand the internet"? No. It's because I made a calculated business decision and came to the conclusion that there are an insufficient number of users for my site at 640x480 to cost-justify any extra effort for them.

    And I don't have a web-enabled cell phone. So I have no way to test how it will look on a cell phone. Again - currently, to call that segment of my user base "microscopic" STILL gives them more credit than they deserve. So I won't go crazy serving them, either. Not yet.

    One of the great complaints about web technology is the lack of standards. The entire issue of cross-browser compatibility was caused because there were six geeks in a room who said "there are seven people in Wisconsin who don't like things the way they are - let's cater to THEM!" And that pattern has repeated often enough that it has effectively thrown a monkey wrench into everything.

    Are there people who still use Sony Beta in their homes? Sure. But they know they're in a minority, they know they're technological dinosaurs, and 99% of the industry has left them in the dust. Same for vinyl records, black and white televisions, 8-track tapes, phones with dials, and very soon, VHS.

    You know what? I'm sure there are people who want to watch "The Matrix" on their cell phones, and have their heartbeat altered from the reverberation of the bass the same way it would be in a movie theater. Does the fact that you can't do it mean that the movie studios don't "understand" their industry? Does it mean that the cell phone manufacturers don't "understand" theirs? Of course not. It means that in both cases the companies made assessments of what would produce sufficient ROI to make it worthwhile.

    In my case, true device independence does not currently provide sufficient ROI to take down my site while I bring it up to r937's standards.

    An overwhelming majority of the world's busiest websites are currently built for 800x600 screens. They do not change for a 1024x768 display, or even a 1600x1200 display. And they are also some of the most profitable sites in the world.

    The moral of the story?

    It. isn't. about. device. independence. either.
    At. least. not. yet.

    Sorry to get so verbose; I was enjoying the input until posts started appearing that served no purpose other than attempting to make someone else feel stupid.
    imusicians.com
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  20. #45
    gingham dress, army boots... silver trophy redux's Avatar
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    don't. come. into. the. accessibility. and. usability. forum. and. ask. a. question. only. to. then. disapprove. of. the. answer. on. the. grounds. of. perceived. lack. of. ROI
    re·dux (adj.): brought back; returned. used postpositively
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  21. #46
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    I didn't disapprove of the answer.
    I do, however, have trouble with the sarcastic, demeaning, belittling tone of everything that surrounded the answer.

    I didn't come in and ask a question because I'm ignorant and don't "understand the internet" and therefore deserved to be addressed like some kind of moron. I came to ask a question because I was hoping to get the opinions of some people who seem to know what they're talking about.

    And if anything, the divergence of opinions and comments here confirms that there is no "correct" answer, that works in every situation. There are only opinions.
    imusicians.com
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  22. #47
    SitePoint Wizard megamanXplosion's Avatar
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    For example - I absolutely refuse to bust my butt making the site design work on a 640x480 screen. Is that because I don't know how? No. Is it because I don't "understand the internet"? No. It's because I made a calculated business decision and came to the conclusion that there are an insufficient number of users for my site at 640x480 to cost-justify any extra effort for them.
    Sites should never be wider than 640px. The only sites which do not scale down to that size properly are three-column layouts. If your website requires a 3-column layout then it is apparent that you are circumventing your organizational problems instead of fixing them. I've never encountered a 3-column website which couldn't be done with 2-columns and end up with a much better result for end users. 2-column layouts are more than capable of scaling down to this size. By changing your site to a 2-column structure and focusing more on the information organization, you'll benefit many more users than just the 640x480 crew.

    And I don't have a web-enabled cell phone. So I have no way to test how it will look on a cell phone. Again - currently, to call that segment of my user base "microscopic" STILL gives them more credit than they deserve. So I won't go crazy serving them, either. Not yet.
    Try out the Opera web browser. It is a desktop and cellphone browser, the desktop variant has a method of allowing you to preview what your page will look like on a cellphone (View -> Small Screen). Also, accomodating for people on cellphones is almost unnecessary if you do most of your layout with CSS, because the majority of them will ignore any styling and will be presented with a vanilla version of the page, and those with css capabilities can easily be accomodated for by a very small stylesheet. Accomodating for this audience is ridiculously easy.

    One of the great complaints about web technology is the lack of standards. The entire issue of cross-browser compatibility was caused because there were six geeks in a room who said "there are seven people in Wisconsin who don't like things the way they are - let's cater to THEM!" And that pattern has repeated often enough that it has effectively thrown a monkey wrench into everything.
    There is no lack of standards, except on Microsoft's side, but those are minor issues which can be solved within 5 minutes in most situations. The "lack of standards" is simply because Microsoft and Netscape were in direct competition with eachother and they are now cooperating with other people to create standardized rendering routines. The problems of yesterday are, just that, problems of yesterday.

    Are there people who still use Sony Beta in their homes? Sure. But they know they're in a minority, they know they're technological dinosaurs, and 99% of the industry has left them in the dust. Same for vinyl records, black and white televisions, 8-track tapes, phones with dials, and very soon, VHS.
    What's the difference between a screen resolution and vinyl records, black and white televisions, etc.? The difference is that the screen resolution will not disappear, people use them because they might have problems seeing or simply want to have bigger buttons to click on. The technologies you mentioned were replaced by something better, there is no "better" resolution than the one that fits the needs of the end user.

    You know what? I'm sure there are people who want to watch "The Matrix" on their cell phones, and have their heartbeat altered from the reverberation of the bass the same way it would be in a movie theater. Does the fact that you can't do it mean that the movie studios don't "understand" their industry? Does it mean that the cell phone manufacturers don't "understand" theirs? Of course not. It means that in both cases the companies made assessments of what would produce sufficient ROI to make it worthwhile.
    You're comparing multi-million dollar decisions to a 10 minute CSS job. That 10 minute CSS job can very well bring a return on investment, you view people as individuals and not conversationalists, people who can use your site on their cellphone may very well call someone and tell them about the site. A return on investment is very possible. Besides, how could you possibly know about your return on investment when you've never even touched the market you're talking about?

    An overwhelming majority of the world's busiest websites are currently built for 800x600 screens. They do not change for a 1024x768 display, or even a 1600x1200 display. And they are also some of the most profitable sites in the world.
    50,000,000 smokers can't be wrong.

  23. #48
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    megaman, first let me say thanks for being able to say you think I'm wrong without treating me like an idiot. Now on to the finer points - and I'm not disagreeing, just presenting a possible alternative view:

    Quote Originally Posted by megamanXplosion
    Sites should never be wider than 640px. The only sites which do not scale down to that size properly are three-column layouts. If your website requires a 3-column layout then it is apparent that you are circumventing your organizational problems instead of fixing them. I've never encountered a 3-column website which couldn't be done with 2-columns and end up with a much better result for end users. 2-column layouts are more than capable of scaling down to this size. By changing your site to a 2-column structure and focusing more on the information organization, you'll benefit many more users than just the 640x480 crew.
    There are a couple of three-column sites that I think work. One is MSN.com, the other is Amazon.com. Amazon.com has a three-column layout and they seem to be doing okay.

    My thought was that my three columns serve distinctly different purposes: The left column is exclusively for a navigation menu, the center column is exclusively for the content of the individual page, and the right column is split between advertisements and links to material related to the center column.

    Owing to the short attention span of the average user, having links to related content close to the top of the content they're already looking at seems a good way to get them to go somewhere else on the site - is there research somewhere on the placement of such content that would conclusively suggest otherwise? For example - has it been shown that links at the bottom of an article generate more clicks than links in a right-side column?

    Not being argumentative, I just have difficult envisioning how I would organize my material into two columns, and still make it easy for my users to get where I want them to go. (Or where they want to go...)

    Try out the Opera web browser. It is a desktop and cellphone browser, the desktop variant has a method of allowing you to preview what your page will look like on a cellphone (View -> Small Screen). Also, accomodating for people on cellphones is almost unnecessary if you do most of your layout with CSS, because the majority of them will ignore any styling and will be presented with a vanilla version of the page, and those with css capabilities can easily be accomodated for by a very small stylesheet. Accomodating for this audience is ridiculously easy.
    I see what you're saying, and thanks for the tip on Opera - again, I agree that this is an option I need to experiment with for the future, probably even the near future - but at this point, it's down the list of stuff I need to direct attention to.

    There is no lack of standards, except on Microsoft's side, but those are minor issues which can be solved within 5 minutes in most situations. The "lack of standards" is simply because Microsoft and Netscape were in direct competition with eachother and they are now cooperating with other people to create standardized rendering routines. The problems of yesterday are, just that, problems of yesterday.
    My mistake. I was under the impression that different browsers came with their own little quirks. I didn't know these issues had been resolved - you're saying that basically, there are only two kinds of browsers, Explorer and everything else? So if it works in Netscape, it works in everything else (other than Explorer)? If true, that's great.

    What's the difference between a screen resolution and vinyl records, black and white televisions, etc.? The difference is that the screen resolution will not disappear, people use them because they might have problems seeing or simply want to have bigger buttons to click on. The technologies you mentioned were replaced by something better, there is no "better" resolution than the one that fits the needs of the end user.
    Agreed. I was operating from the premise that the 640x480 resolution originated in the days when a 13-inch monitor was considered "large". I don't know the real math, but 640x480 on a 13-inch monitor probably looks pretty darn close to 1024x768 on the 17 and 19-inch monitors that are common today.

    You're comparing multi-million dollar decisions to a 10 minute CSS job. That 10 minute CSS job can very well bring a return on investment, you view people as individuals and not conversationalists, people who can use your site on their cellphone may very well call someone and tell them about the site. A return on investment is very possible. Besides, how could you possibly know about your return on investment when you've never even touched the market you're talking about?
    LOL - it's a "10-minute CSS job" for YOU, maybe. For me, it's a few weeks of learning what the heck CSS is, then rebuilding all my existing pages to use it. And again - I agree that it is definitely something I need to think about and learn. But I have a hunch I can get away with putting it off a few weeks.

    50,000,000 smokers can't be wrong.
    Reminds me of the old joke about Chinese methods of contraception - cuz 1.2 billion Chinese people can't be wrong. And the line you responded to was more of a response to the suggestion that sites designed for specific resolutions are inherently wrong and dysfunctional.
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  24. #49
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    sarcastic, demeaning, belittling?

    then i apologize profusely

    i was trying to find a lighter, more humourous way of saying THE WEB IS NOT PRINT

    i even remembered to use a smiley

    but hey, i can understand where your frustration is coming from

    look, let me say it again, nicely

    it isn't about resolution

    i personally might be on 800x600 or 1280x1024 or whatever, but there's no way i have my browser window maximized, and even if i did, what about my sidebars, hmmm?

    i think you are assuming that someone who is on such-and-such a resolution, just because that's the resolution you're targetting, is perfectly happy to maximize their browser window to avoid the horizontal scrollbar that your rigid design foists on them (oops, i gotta watch the emotion content of the words i choose)

    hostile designs lose business

    forcing someone to accommodate their browser window width ( regardless... of... resolution... ) to your fixed design is hostile

    but of course i did not mean the message to come across as hostile, did i?

    i am sorry if you took it that way

    and now that we both have a good understanding of what may or may not be hostile to someone else, please try to put yourself into the mindset of someone who finds fixed designs hostile

    and please don't forget the smiley

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  25. #50
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    You are correct; the web is more like television than print.

    And my television forces me to use 100% of the screen to watch my shows. Not once have I felt that Sony was being "hostile" to me by "forcing" me to watch a show that way.

    The exception, of course, is the new HD television I have upstairs. Since some channels don't offer HD programming, I then have a choice - I can either expand the picture to fill the screen (which distorts the image, which takes some getting used to), or I can put up with some "dead space" on either side of the screen. I don't look at that as "hostility" on Toshiba's part, that's the way they built the TV.

    If I go to a play, I can't force the performers to come closer to my seat so I can see them better, or make them yell out the dialog so I can hear it. Are they being "hostile" with their rigid presentation that limits me to sitting in a seat, watching them on a stage?

    If I go to a movie theater, I can't turn up the brightness on the screen. Is the theater being "hostile" by forcing me to adopt their standard for watching the film?

    If I buy the new Blue Rodeo record, I can't ask them to make sure that "Try" is in E Flat instead of G. Is the band being "hostile" by forcing me to adopt *their* version of how their song should sound?

    That darn DaVinci - how hostile of him to make the Mona Lisa in a portrait orientation, when I have made it clear that I want it in a landscape.

    My point is that consumers adapt to what the content provider dictates. And that's true in every form of entertainment or information there is - except the internet. And on the internet, we apparently have no trouble handing complete control over how our product looks to the whims of the users.

    I, for one, am not entirely convinced that every user who comes to my site will be better at formatting my pages than I am.
    imusicians.com
    The new website for musicians.
    More features. Less money. And a lot less bull.


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