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  1. #1
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    PC user has to think Mac

    I'm one of the PC herd, and usually not concerned by that fact. I've done a variety of web sites at work and in the real world, and I think I've got a reasonable grasp of browser/HTML compatibility issues (style sheets are a different issue...).

    But I've never looked at Macs, and my son wants to be sure that his web site (to be presented initially on CD as a portfolio to back his application to art college) will work well whatever kit the tutor has on his or her desk.

    Are there any web sites giving advice in this area?

    Font availability is one thing. If you want a fat sans-serif and you're used to Tahoma in Windows, then "Tahoma, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" is not going to look the same on a Mac.

    Do Mac browsers render images in exactly the same way as PC browsers?

    Am I getting worried unnecessarily?

    Mund

  2. #2
    Wanna-be Apple nut silver trophy M. Johansson's Avatar
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    Well, the mac version differs a bit, or so I've heard - never tried it myself. Best way to test it is the obvious, though - get your hands on a Mac. Otherwise, you can test Browserphoto.

    As for fonts - use verdana. ALWAYS use verdana, since it works on PC, Mac and strange moon computers. It's also easy to read.
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  3. #3
    SitePoint Wizard creole's Avatar
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    If your son is providing this on a CD then he has no bandwidth contraints. Tell him to make the whole thing images. Or tell him to use Flash. The main reason why people use text as text instead of images is 1) Ease of uupdating, 2) bandwidth restrictions, 3) Connection to a database.

    It will look better overall PLUS he'll get it to look JUST like he wants it to by making it an image.
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  4. #4
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    Good thinking, Creole, though I think text as text also gives you cheap and predictable text location.

    He already uses text images for "non-standard" fonts, so it's perfectly possible to move on to the "standard" ones. We just need to put a bit of discipline into producing the images.

  5. #5
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    Has Microsoft really managed to get Verdana to cover the world like flu?

  6. #6
    SitePoint Enthusiast Caramel_Cortex's Avatar
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    a great free resource for cross-browser compatability checking!

    It always helps to have access to an actual Mac, of course, but barring that here's a fantastic resource that allows you to check for cross-browser/platform compatibility issues:
    AnyBrowser.com

    Hope you find it useful. Note that it wants an actual URL, as opposed to local files.
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  7. #7
    Don't get too close, I bite! Nicky's Avatar
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    Creole is right. Director is also a choice of course. I think seeing as it is an art college the chances are quite high that they will be using Macs.

  8. #8
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    Yes, there are Macs in the college, but also a fair number of PCs. We'll produce a test CD and try it out on both before he goes in.

    Can I burn a CD on PC that a Mac can read? I think CD technology is more generic than most, but are there things I should look out for?

    Ed

  9. #9
    SitePoint Wizard creole's Avatar
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    Yes, a Mac can read a PC cd.
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  10. #10
    SitePoint Enthusiast Caramel_Cortex's Avatar
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    Macs

    Originally posted by Mund
    but are there things I should look out for?

    Ed
    I would imagine that most art/design schools are more worried about art & design than accessibility for the disabled--probably the biggest argument against using graphics text. Sure it looks nice--if you can see!

    You'll have no real way of knowing, of course, what fonts are on anyone's Mac, but if has Microsoft Office2001 on it, then that Mac will have the "base 14" fonts that are generally assumed safe.
    You can also use CSS for font formatting without fear (but maybe not much else!) Good web design is flexible, and has a "target range" for it's look, since one never knows about fonts or what the user will do with preferences and the browser window.

    In CSS (forgive me if you already know this) you can specify a font "wish list" like so:

    h1 {font-family:Trebuchet MS,Verdana,Tahoma,sans-serif}

    This rule sets font styles for the h1 selector. If my first font of choice, Trebuchet MS, isn't to be found on the user's machine, it simply checks the next one on the list, and so on. My out is the last item. By specifying that I'm looking for font families, then if none of my specific fonts are available, I can resort to whatever the default system font is for a font family. The default fonts for the sans-serif family are Arial on a PC, and Helvetica on a Mac.

    Hope you find this helpful!
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  11. #11
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    Thanks for the suggestions. I know how to specify a font list - I'll use Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif unless I hear otherwise.

    I agree about web design being flexible as a general rule. This is a presentation rather than a web site though, and since most of the material is photographs of paintings, we're trying to ensure that each one is presented to best effect.

    That means guaranteeing a specified height and width for the window, starting it at the top left hand corner and switching off status bars, menu bars and all the rest.

    All this is done using javascript, but I'm getting somewhat frustrated by the differences between Netscape and IExplorer. Opera doesn't seem to want to start a new window at all...

    I've got a javascript tutorial which works in both environments (then you copy the code into your own pages and it behaves in different ways), and all the impenetrable reference material you could want.

    Can anybody point me at material about incompatibility and avoidance tactics?

    Mund

  12. #12
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    i wouldn't recommend the excessive use of images. it may be on CD but one look at the page source, as a teacher or instructor would almost surely do is would show the lack of design over pure aesthetics. even if the focus is on the paintings and not the page design, the presentation can very well detract from the whole experience. i recommend doing it in flash or using html with php and staying away from javascript as mush as possible.

  13. #13
    SitePoint Wizard creole's Avatar
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    I agree that presentation is 95% of the battle, however, I sincerely doubt that many art teaches would know enough about HTML code to bother looking at the source of your presentation. I would peg most art teachers as very artistic with no interest in computers.

    I might very well be off, but even if they did bothre to look, unless the course was focused on web design, I don't think cluttered code would matter/
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  14. #14
    SitePoint Guru nagrom's Avatar
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    I hate to say it, but PowerPoint may be best for this.

    As for your initial question, biggest problem I've seen on macs is with font-sizes, and mostly in netscape (they tend to display alot smaller).

    IE on the mac is pretty much like IE on the PC though.

    And yes, just about everybody has verdana.

  15. #15
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    Thanks for all your suggestions. We might post the resulting site on the web, though it's bound to be a bit extravagant in terms of image size. Then you can all point out how we've done it wrong. But the CD is the main thing, and we should be finishing it and testing it over Christmas.

    Mund

  16. #16
    SitePoint Wizard creole's Avatar
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    Please post it when you're done. I'd love to see it.
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  17. #17
    Typo Negative brokenvoice's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Mund
    Has Microsoft really managed to get Verdana to cover the world like flu?
    I think Verdana is a fantastically rendered font. Unlike Tahoma which has some serious problems with its kerning tables. MS didn't design it, it was created by a fantastic typeface designer called Matthew Carter. A very well respected type designer.

  18. #18
    <C²: web standards /> cybercodeur's Avatar
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    Is verdana really used by Macs? I've always thought it was replaced by Helvetica as a default for sans serif font.

    As for designing for Macs, it brings out a totally new angle to the discussion; considering that about 1% of internet users access it with a Mac (about the same percentage as version 3 or less browser users), do we really have to consider them?

    Reference : http://www.thecounter.com/stats/2001/December/os.php

    I mean we only code for version 4 browsers now... should we bother? (Just trying to create some sparkles )
    Last edited by cybercodeur; Dec 29, 2001 at 21:35.
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  19. #19
    SitePoint Wizard creole's Avatar
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    Hmmm...

    I might need to start reconsidering using the counter for stats now. I know for a fact there's more than 1% of the net market using Macs. The last time I read about it, Macs were at about 10-15% of the market.
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  20. #20
    <C²: web standards /> cybercodeur's Avatar
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    You bring a point up that really scares me Creole... because if it's so we should really account for those users. Can you tell me where you've read this?

    TheCounte.com's stats are coming from over 500.000.000 hits at more than 500.000 different sites worldwide. in my opinion, this should give us a pretty darn good overview of what the web is all about...


    Denis Boudreau <C²/> - Web Standards & Accessibility
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  21. #21
    SitePoint Wizard creole's Avatar
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    All I know is that there have got to be more Mac users than 1%.
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  22. #22
    Wanna-be Apple nut silver trophy M. Johansson's Avatar
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    Originally posted by creole
    All I know is that there have got to be more Mac users than 1%.
    Very likely, but 99% of all pageviews undoubtively seems to come from non-macs.
    Mattias Johansson
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  23. #23
    Not a post-script error?!! guysmy's Avatar
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    According to Jeff Zeldman's "A List Apart" ezine 7-15% of users are running Mac OS. This figure is based on the stats of sites he has built thoughout his career.
    http://www.alistapart.com/stories/testers/

    For the most specific numbers we would have to talk to the people at A.C. Nielsen and have the finances of Microsoft to get a usage report.
    http://www.nielsen-netratings.com

    The counter sucks.

  24. #24
    Wanna-be Apple nut silver trophy M. Johansson's Avatar
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    Originally posted by guysmy
    According to Jeff Zeldman's "A List Apart" ezine 7-15% of users are running Mac OS. This figure is based on the stats of sites he has built thoughout his career.
    http://www.alistapart.com/stories/testers/
    I respect Zeldman very much, but how does this prove that thecounter is wrong? Thecounter is still covers a lot more ground than the sites of one developer, right?

    I might be wrong though, but in that case, I'd sure as hell like to know why thecounters stats are so inaccurate.
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  25. #25
    <C²: web standards /> cybercodeur's Avatar
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    I'm still not convinced. Alistapart is a site devoted to professionnal web developpers, not your average joe. What I'm interested in is knowing what the broadest group of people uses to see my site or the site of the client I'm working for.

    Of course we all know that if we take the stats coming from such a site the percentage of mac users will skyrocket. How could it be otherwise? For all I know almost every graphic designer I ever heard of worked on a Mac platform. We all know it's the best there is for graphic design.

    You have to take your stats from a broader source, like thecounter for instance. Their sources will truly reflect the pulse of the Web. I am not looking for stats of the whereabouts and habits of an elite group of web professionnals. I am looking for stats on the average users which forms over 99% of the web community.
    Denis Boudreau <C²/> - Web Standards & Accessibility
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