In Form     information design by Teri Murphy
See for yourself
To see this page stretch, try various resolutions:

Beginning at the Start button on the bottom left of your screen, click Start, settings, control panel, display.

# Click the settings tab.
# At "screen area," move the slider bar left or right, then click OK. Say yes to the confirmation messages.
# If you don't like the effect, just retrace your steps. If your system doesn't support the size you chose, you may have to scroll down to find your Start button.
To see your type size change in Internet Explorer

For a temporary change, from the menu choose view, text size.


For a change to defaults, choose tools, internet options, accessibility, check ignore font sizes specified on web pages. Those who know how to create their own style sheets can also check format documents using my style sheet.

To see your type size change in Netscape

For a temporary change, press ctrl ] for bigger or press ctrl [ for smaller.


For a change to defaults, from the menu choose edit, preferences, click fonts in the category column.


Choose a default font size and one of the options for overriding document-specified fonts.

To change the number of colors your monitor shows

Click Start, settings, control panel, display.


Click the settings tab, and under color choose a different setting.


Beauty or brains:
Questions for web design clients


Is the fluid design of this page appropriate for your site?

You've probably seen the problems that result from varying screen widths ("resolutions"). If your resolution is small, you've seen "peek-a-boo" graphics at the right edge and had to scroll to see the rest of them. If your resolution is large, you've seen vast empty spaces or too-wide lines of text that just keep going and going.

The solution for pages that expand, but not too much, is called "fluid design." It creates pages that look good from resolutions of 640 pixels on up.

But there's a compromise. A fluid page may not be magazine perfect at all those widths. I personally set my designs to look best at 800 pixels, which is currently the most common resolution.

Fluid design works best for pages that are mostly text, so it's probably not appropriate if your site needs to show many works of art or photos of your product. For those sites I'll recommend a fixed layout that centers on the screen.To see how this page uses fluid design, try the first "See for yourself tip" at left.



Is the type size on this page too large for your site?

The type face on this page is arial, which is widely available to everyone, and the size has not been fixed except in the tips column at left. That means YOUR browser is controlling how large the type looks. If you haven't changed your default settings, the type size you're seeing in this column is probably larger than many designers consider to be cool.

But the beauty of this size is its flexibility. Fixed type sizes can be too small for anyone who hasn't updated their glasses prescription and too small for anyone with a high monitor resolution. This size is readable for most everyone. It will even compress itself small enough for hand-held units. And for those who need even larger sizes, they can easily get them using the tips at left.



How many of your site's colors will visitors be able to see?

Until recently some monitors came from the factory set to show only 256 of the millions of colors the human eye can see. And some browsers, including Netscape, change colors they can't interpret. The square on the left below is not one of the websafe colors. The square on the right is how the same color may appear for some users. (If both squares look the same to you, you should definitely try the last tip above left or buy a new monitor. They do wear out.)

That's why it's still a good idea to stay with the "web safe pallet" of 256 colors unless you know that all your visitors have equipment that will support the full color range. My favorite site for playing with combinations of the web safe colors is Palette Man.



Which is more important, beauty or brains?

I can create a beautiful page for you that stays put with fixed page width, fixed fonts, unlimited colors, and lots of graphics. But if you want to communicate well with the maximum number of people, you'll let me be smart about using those features. With a little compromise, you can have a page that looks good and communicates well for all your visitors.


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