May the source code be with you!
Did you know a new Star Wars movie was about to
open? Probably not. Hasn't been much hype or anything so it's understandable if you missed it (if you were living under a rock).
Personally, I've always enjoyed Star Wars (though I didn't much care for Yoda because he sounded too much like Miss Piggy to me). As great as the technology is in those films, the important part, the part you feel and remember, is the story—the "content."
The Force is Content (not technology)
I bring this up because techno-focus a common problem with many people building web sites, too. So when I hear people say stuff like, "Well, you must hand-code your HTML, otherwise your site is just no good," I want to use the delete key on them in ways not covered in any users' manual.
It doesn't matter if you don't know a <P> from a <BR>. What matters is that you have something to SAY, and that you use the web to say it in the way that will make it the easiest and most effective for the most people to access.
I also don't care how you create your site. I personally believe in using whatever power the computer has to do the most possible work for me. That way I can spend the most time and effort on what that site SAYS.
I use NetObjects Fusion. If you like something else better and think it can do the job faster, then use it (and tell me about it, because I've tried everything and still find NetObjects Fusion the best).
The bottom line is—whatever you use, don't get bogged down in the technology. It can be fun or frustrating, terrific or terrifying, but if you use the technology
properly—it should disappear—and people should see right through it to your content.
ONE MORE THING:
I'm trying to personally answer each and every person who answered eFuse's "What Bugging You questionnaire" (answer it and get a free font). If I haven't answered yours yet, don't worry, I will.
I'm learning a lot by doing this—like finding out how nice you FuseLetter readers are (which shouldn't be a surprise), and also
how many good ideas you have for what you'd like to see in eFuse.com and the FuseLetter. Remember if you have ideas, comments, or suggestions, you can email me any time at firstname.lastname@example.org
Want to learn how to use some of NetObjects Fusion's finer features by one of the web's finer teachers? You don't need a black belt in Fusion to learn from martial arts master Rick Tew. He gives you simple, clear, step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow. Also included are Fusion template files you can download and use, and even even animated screen tutorials!
Lights, URL, Actions!
Tewtorial #1 shows you how to make text appear when you move the mouse over a particular object. Tewtorial #2 teaches you how to make different graphics appear in the same place when your site visitor passes their mouse over different text. You've seen this on other web sites and probably wondered how to do it yourself, and you'd know what I was talking about if you just read it. In
You've heard about copyrights and you have this nagging feeling that they might just apply to you and your Web site. Well, they do. And if you don't know the basics, you could get in trouble. Mary Carter gives you an easy-to-understand guide that can keep you out of hot water—and protect your "intellectual rights" (see, already you're an intellectual!).
E-MAIL FOR FUN AND PROFIT
With e-mail, you can reach thousands of people with one click of the mouse. Everybody knows that, but not
everybody knows how to do it effectively, how to get results, and how to avoid pissing off lots of people you've never met, one of whom might contact your ISP and have you shut off. Phil Philcox, author of 1,200 articles and 45 nonfiction books, tells you how to "harvest" e-mail addresses of people who might be interested in his services. How do I know his system works? He e-mailed me, and that's how he was hired to write this article!
I've been asking people to suggest specific markets that
we could design templates for. So far, the #1 request has been for the "health care" (a.k.a. Medical) field. Gary Priester creates a clean, uncluttered design that's soft, rounded and personable. The background is subtle, with large "sign-like" international icons. The buttons are "mouse-sensitive" which means that when your mouse goes over them, they change—automatically, no programming involved. The template includes Bitstream's Handel Gothic, a distinctive modern typeface used on
buttons and banners. NetObjects Fusion automatically turns these into graphics, so that everyone can see them. Since Fusion generates this text, when you rename pages, the graphic buttons and banners automatically update. Click here to see the actual site.
GETTING HOME FASTER
I'll make this brief—don't use Java on your home page unless it's absolutely necessary. Even those mostly-pointless "ticker" applets can add a lot of time to loading a page for people who don't have the latest, fastest computers. I've yet to see any page that desperately
needed Java on the home page, or maybe I've just left too many pages that load to slowly to see one... but even so, that's kind of a clue, isn't it?
DESIGNING ON A LAPTOP
(OR LCD SCREEN)
Tip: If you're designing on a laptop, or a computer with an LCD screen, remember that your colors are going to look
much lighter than they do on a traditional CRT. So you may have found what you think is a very tasteful creamy color, and people with a CRT are going to see it as a somewhat garish yellow.
The only way to solve this problem is to view your designs on both an LCD and a CRT—as if there wasn't enough to think about.
FREE E-COMMERCE, IF YOU'RE ALREADY SET UP FOR CREDIT CARDS
http://www.freemerchant.com - Here's something I haven't tried myself, but it sounds good! Freemerchant gives you a relatively complete Web store — including a product catalog, shopping cart, and store-building tools, plus site hosting and credit card processing services — all free of charge. (You still need a merchant account, and may also need a Cybercash account, and those things are not free).
The company is supported by banner ads at the bottom of every Freemerchant Web store, and by commissions paid by Freemerchant partners for customer referrals. It's an interesting idea.
MORE NETOBJECTS FUSION STYLES
Looking for more free NetObjects Fusion SiteStyles? If so, visit RedLeaf. You just have to sign up for their newsletter to get a whole passel-o-styles. Some have holiday themes, some are business-oriented, and all are nicely designed.
LOOKING FOR A FEW GOOD READERS
Last but not least—I'm looking for a few good readers who want to become writers. If you have something to say about web design, web production, or web promotion, email me at and let me know what you'd like to write about. I can't promise I'll accept every offer (hey, this is the real world we're talking about), but I am always interested in what you have to say—and if others might be
interested, too, then I'm happy to have you contribute.
That's it for now. Live long and prosper (oops, wrong "Star" movie)!