Site Navigation Menu
I often say that the three steps in any cleanup/organization project are:
- Start with everything in a category ("pile") labeled "Miscellaneous."
- Begin organizing, and anything that fits in a better category than "Miscellaneous," put it there.
- When the "Miscellaneous" pile is empty, you're done!
So you can see that this web site is still a work in progress (is there any that isn't?) because there are still items filed under "Misc."!
Other JMF Pages
If you have enjoyed your visit to my Naturist/Nudist site, you may want to have a look at some of the other pages/areas of my web site. (Some of these pages are way overdue for an update -- now that /naturist is more or less running, I can have a look at these again!) These links will open in a new browser window.
Design Philosophy of this site
This site was primarily developed using PageSpinner 2.01 for tag manipulation, Mapper 1.0 (a nice piece of shareware which is still available but which, sadly, the author no longer updates) to create navigation image maps, and Photoshop 2.5.1 for image editing, on a PowerMac 7100/80 AV with 48M RAM and a 640x480 fixed-resolution color display.
Clean, fast-loading HTML.I prefer to do most of my HTML by hand or with a tag editor. Some WYSIWYG editors produce really wacky code, full of invisible spacers, nested tables, and other noise. The problem with nested tables, for example, is that the inner table has to be completely rendered before the outer table can even start being drawn, and this increases the time before anything at all displays on the page. I have also tried to minimize my image sizes, and have succeeded in most cases. Total size for the three images in the top banner is only 26K, and once in the cache this area should reload immediately. The left navigation bars, unfortunately, run more like 30-40K apiece. I may go back and have another look at those. Wherever possible, all images have dimension tags so that the page and text can render before the images load.
By the way, my entire /naturist directory, including all of the frames, pages, and graphics, currently fits on a 1.4M floppy disk.
Maximum compatibility.My own browser preference is Macintosh Netscape. I find it annoying when some sites are so heavily and fancily coded that they don't work on different plaforms or with different browsers. The idea of HTML, after all, is that it is a uniform markup language that can be used on any number of systems. My naturist site is now fully available in a frames version, a non-frames version, and has full text-browser compatibility within the NOFRAMES area of the frameset pages (and all of this is done using server-side includes, so I don't have to maintain three parallel sets of pages!). During development, my naturist site was tested with Internet Explorer 3 and 5 on the PC and IE 4 on the Mac, Netscape 4 on the PC, Netscape 2.2, 3.0 and 4.7 on the Mac, and Lynx for the Macintosh (based on the Lynx 2.7.1 kernel).
Resizability.Another one of my peeves is web sites that absolutely require 800x600 (or even 1024x768) display area. At work I have a PowerMac G3 with a 17" monitor, but at home I am still chugging along on my trusty PowerMac 7100 with a single-resolution 640x480 color display. Tables are a great HTML "cheat" technique to easily keep areas of text and/or images lined up with one another. I use them this way frequently (as I'm sure you will notice). But many sites take a block of plain, ordinary, straight text, stick it in a table cell for no reason, and then give the table a fixed width of 800 (or more!) pixels. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Anyone reading it on a 640x480 screen has to keep scrolling left and right, and resizing the window doesn't help because of the fixed text width. Even worse, some sites give a frame a large fixed width and no horizontal scroll bar. Dumb, dumb, dumb! In those cases, if you don't have a large enough monitor, the text runs past the right side of the window, and there's no way of seeing it, period.
Okay, I will say that my site probably "works best" at 800x600 pixels or so. At 640x480, the main reading pane is a bit smaller than I would like. However, all of my formatting elements are dynamically resizable, so the site will still work at small sizes, large sizes, and everything in between, with no text chopped off!
Conservative use of color.Some sites go absolutely nuts with colored text on colored background, and as a result are nearly impossible to read! I have limited my text-on-color-graphics to the banner and navigation area, and have kept the reading window black on white (apart from some tables with colored background to highlight limited areas of text).
Some years ago, an employee of the Computer Science Dept. at Vassar, who has a slight visual impairment and sometimes uses a text-based browser, gained notoriety (including a mention in the New York Times) by posting a page he called "Netscape Disabled." This was a page with a psychedelic paisley color background and text with every character a different font, style, color, and size. The text looked perfectly normal in a non-graphical browser, but in Netscape or Explorer it was totally unreadable. I often think of this as an example of "What not to do."
Limited use of "bells and whistles" to enhance usability of the site.Sometimes the latest and greatest technology is used in web sites just because it is there, without real thought as to how it will enhance the site. A Java applet like an interactive subway navigator that is cool and functional is one thing, but waiting for Java to initialize so that some text can flash at you or so you can listen to some bad MIDI music is IMHO a waste of time. (Same thing with plugins; I don't mind them as long as they add real content to the site.) I chose to use client-side image maps because they let me create a nice graphical navigational interface, and frames... Ah, yes, frames.
I also hate frames. More exactly, I hate the way frames are used in many sites. They take over your screen, reduce the reading area, and make some pages difficult to print or even bookmark. It was my original intention not to use frames in my site, but I discovered that it was the best way to cleanly separate the banner from the reading area, and to make the navigation bar independently scrollable from the reading window. So, I relented, but I have tried to implement my frames cleanly using the guidelines at www.anybrowser.org's Accessible Site Design - Frames.
The most important principle they suggest at www.anybrowser.org is that every page should have an accompanying frameset and be linked so as to open in a full window. This forces Netscape/IE to update the title and location so that any page can be easily bookmarked. The only downside of this is that frames such as my banner and navigation bar must be refreshed even if they aren't changing, but this should cause only minimal decrease in performance (unless you have your browser cache totally disabled).
The left navigation frame defaults just wide enough to not require a horizontal scroll bar, but if you prefer, you can resize it smaller. I think you will find that all of my pages will print well if you click in the reading window area before printing. For pages with lots of text, remember that you can open the reading frame into a full window by holding the Mac mouse button on it, or right-clicking in a Windows browser. All of my external links open in new browser windows. If you find one that doesn't, I would appreciate hearing about it.
Last modified January 28, 2001.
To comment on this web page, report HTML problems or broken links, please contact James M. Fitzwilliam at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This page is "naturist/misc0.shtml".