Extraplicity - Photography and Web Design









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Philosophy of Design

Pat Goltz - My philosophy of web design follows some basic principles. First of all, I keep it simple. This assures that the web site will be viewable in as many browsers as possible. There is nothing more likely to cause a potential customer to go elsewhere than a web site that doesn't work properly in his browser. I also believe in keeping the things that annoy a customer to a minimum. I don't design with cookies or generally with popups. Finally, I try for an elegant and artistic look. Many web designers have no artistic sense. Some of the most prestigious web sites look cluttered, and their graphics are atrocious. While many of these sites require that there will be a number of banner ads, to pay the bills, there is no reason why they have to be scattered in a hodge-podge fashion everywhere. It is also not necessary to have a hodge-podge collection of links to the material on the site. The overall appearance of a web site is important, and it is one thing I stress. If a client wants some of the fancier features that require plugins, we can do that. But each time we do that, and a visitor has to use these plugins, it prevents some people from buying or returning. A fancy splash page with a nice flash movie can be very beautiful, but if it takes too long to download, people will refuse to wait. Overall, then, my philosophy of web design is functionality and beauty. Read more about my philosophy.


Programming and Design Issues

We do not use active-X. Active-X is a protocol for downloading programs to a user's computer, and executing them. Active-X is the perfect environment for a web site to download a virus to your computer, and cause it to run on your computer automatically. The use of active-X is unethical. Therefore, we do not use it. We advise all Web surfers to keep their active-X capabilities turned off. This issue applies to Internet Explorer. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL WE USE ACTIVE-X. We also do not use Java. The reason for this is because Java is poorly enough constructed as a programming language that bad programming (or even, sometimes, good programming) can cause the downloaded material to retain its hold on available memory, and can eventually cause the computer's system to crash. Knowledgeable people keep Java disabled in their browsers. It is especially bad to use Java as the sole source of navigation. The result is that some people will not have access to your web site at all! In general, we tend not to use any cutting edge technology that compromises the security of the visitor, or renders a web site inaccessible to some of your visitors. If the client particularly wants to use a certain cutting-edge technology, we will consider it on a case-by-case basis. We do not consider properly written JavaScript to be a "cutting-edge" technology because it is the minimum needed to do anything unusual on a web site. Since older versions of Netscape often do not handle JavaScript well, our JavaScript is tested in older versions of Netscape to make sure it can be run successfully. There are no security issues involved in keeping JavaScript capabilities running on your browser, except that since it can be used to open new windows automatically without your permission, it is a good idea to keep it disabled when visiting sites that have pop-ups. JavaScript is used to enable a site to accept and display banner ads. We discourage the use of many banner ads, and it is possible to display some banner ads without resorting to JavaScript. JavaScript is also necessary for order forms and feedback forms. In general, we do not program cookies into a web site. All cookies on web sites will come from other sources. We think that cookies are greatly abused, and recognize that they represent an intrusion on the computer of the visitor, because they leave information on the user's computer. To the extent that they would be needed for order forms, we would agree to minimal use.


Our philosophy of web site design includes the idea that all web sites should be accessible to people using Netscape 4x. This is because this version of Netscape is still widely used in some parts of the world. The thing that makes a web site unviewable in Netscape usually represents very poor HTML coding anyway. It has to do with failure to construct tables properly. Tables are used to position the design elements on a page. We also do not use frames. The reason for this is because many people do not like them. Also, it makes it difficult for an outside web site to link to relevant content on your web site. Since links from other web sites are a major source of traffic to your site, you don't want to discourage people from linking to the pages that are relevant to their web site. A few clients may want to prevent deep linking. We will discuss this with them on a case-by-case basis. Please note that it is possible to link directly to the content of a frame, and knowledgeable people know how to do it. But when they do, it means that only the frame will display, and all of the contents of the other frames of your site will be unavailable to a person who arrives due to that link.

Flash/Shockwave is a rather popular technology. However, most Flash presentations are rather trite, and are relied on because of the "Oohs" and "Ahs" they generate. They produce huge files that take a slow connection a long time to transmit and can be quite annoying to people. We will use Flash on request, but only if we can make something truly unique and beautiful with it, and it won't have a negative impact on the visitor.


Grammar, spelling, and usage are vitally important. We are fully qualified to edit content for these issues, and we will do so.

In general, our philosophy of web design is that the site should be accessible to as many people as possible, with as few annoying features as possible. Truly beautiful web sites can be designed without all the bells and whistles that people happen to like because our culture emphasizes the newest and greatest. This is not to say that bells and whistles have no place. But they must be used aesthetically. The vast majority of web sites fail miserably, and we have no desire to contribute to the schlock on the internet.

We will only design family-friendly web sites. This includes our refusal to design any web site which presents religious ideas which would be unacceptable to most parents. We are perfectly willing to design web sites with political and religious content as long as we do not feel that in so doing, we are promoting ideas with which we seriously disagree. We believe the internet should not be used to promote anything which is detrimental to viewers or their children, that will serve to defraud, or that will promote a loss of freedom and dignity. If you believe this will be an issue, we invite you to have a dialog with us about it. We want to have a clear understanding between us on these issues before we make an agreement with each other.