|ABOUT THIS SITE
The main goal of this site is to provide information fairly quickly.
Because of this, there are no flashy graphics. I would say that the overall
look of this site is a conservative and clean.
The images that I use in this site are re-used often to get more "bang for the buck". Each image is hand-tuned to reduce its size, usually by reducing the number of colors.
The target for most pages (certainly for the main page) is to make them appear in less than 30 seconds. The sizes of all elements on a page are combined and the total time taken to transmit them at an "average" rate is estimated. I want the main page to stick very closely the 30-second rule, but I allow pages that are deeper in the site to take longer, because the visitor is more likely to want the information (and put up with the delay).
I write the pages by hand in order to produce the desired effect. Each page is initially copied from a master template page which has the header and footer areas, but not much body text.
The pages are designed for standard VGA resolution (640x480). Hopefully,
no horizontal scrolling is required. Of course vertical scrolling is
to be expected, although I have tried to minimize it on the main
I use a consistent color scheme of blue with red highlights. The text is black on white, because that provides the most contrast and works well on high resolution monitors. Unvisited links are red so they stand out, and visited links are blue to blend in.
No doubt you've noticed that this site uses tables to provide a consistent layout grid. Tables work very well for this, but they have the unfortunate side effect of leaving areas of the screen blank until the entire table is loaded. To help solve this, the pages are broken up into several smaller tables for the header, the body area, and the footer. If the body is a bit long I break it up into several tables, usually at the sub-headings. See my CA-Clipper Coding Guidelines page for an example.
The background image provides the separation between the left-hand side,
which contains menus, and the right-hand side, which holds the actual page
text. The tables overlay this image, hopefully lining up. I say "hopefully"
because different browsers display the background image in slightly
different positions, and the foreground text also shifts. See Dave Siegel's
Image Offsets page
for the gory details. I've tried to deal with most of the browsers by
standardizing on the Netscape 2.x values of 15 pixels down, 10 pixels
I could have used frames for this site, as they would allow finer control over these issues. Note that my main target browser is Netscape Navigator version 2.x. According to my Internet provider's statistics page, about 90% of the visitors use Netscape (or its ancestors), with about 70% using version 2.x or better. Version 2.x supports tables, but it also supports frames, so I could have used either technique.
Links to other Web sites are indicated with , and links that open another browser window are indicated with . Links to pages within this site do not have an image.
Finally, I have included a Site Map that uses text and tables because I feel that a graphical site map would be too large, not to mention too hard to maintain!
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