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Chapter 21. The Elements of Web Page Sty... > The Overall Organization of Your Web... - Pg. 241

The Elements of Web Page Style 241 · Be good, be brief, be gone.These are the "three B's" of any successful presentation. Being good means writing in clear, understandable prose that isn't marred by sloppy spelling or flagrant grammar violations. Also, if you use facts or statistics, cite the appropriate references to placate the doubting Thomases who want to check things for themselves. Being brief means getting right to the point without indulging in a rambling preamble. Always assume your reader is im- patiently surfing through a stack of sites and has no time or patience for verbosity. State your business and then practice the third "B": Be gone! The Overall Organization of Your Web Pages Let's now turn our attention to some ideas for getting (and keeping) your web page affairs in order. You need to bear in mind, at all times, that the World Wide Web is all about navigation. Heck, half the fun comes from just surfing page-to-page via links. Because you've probably been having so much fun with this HTML stuff that you've created multiple pages for yourself, you can give the same navigational thrill to your readers. All you need to do is organize your pages appropriately and give visitors some way of getting from one page to the next. What do I mean by organizing your pages "appropriately?" Well, there are two things to look at: · How you split up the topics you talk about · How many total documents you have The One-Track Web Page: Keep pages to a single topic Although there are no set-in-stone rules about this site organization stuff, there's one principle that most people follow: one topic, one page. That is, cramming a number of disparate topics into a single page is not usually the way to go. For one thing, it's wasteful because a reader might be interested in only one of the topics, but he or she still has to load the entire page. It can also be confusing to read. If you have, say, some insights into metallurgy and some fascinating ideas about Chia Pets, tossing them together in a single page is just silly. (Unless you have a very strange hobby!) Make each of your pages stand on its own by dedicating a separate page for each topic. In the long run, your readers will be eternally thankful. There's an exception to this one page-one topic rule for the terminally verbose: if your topic is a particularly long one, which means you end up with a correspondingly long page. Why is that a problem? Well, lengthy web pages have lots of disadvantages: · Large files can take forever to load, especially for visitors accessing the web from a slow con- nection. (This becomes even worse if the page is full of images.) If loading the page takes too long, most people aren't likely to wait around for the cobwebs to start forming; they're more likely to abandon your site and head somewhere else. · If you have navigation links at the top and bottom of the page (which I talk about later on), they aren't visible most of the time if the page is long. (Unless, of course, you're using frames on your page. Not sure what "frames" are? You can find out more about them by surfing back to Chapter 13, "Fooling Around with Frames.") · Nobody likes scrolling through endless screens of text. Pages with more than three or four screenfuls of text are hard to navigate and tend to be confusing to the reader. Page Pitfalls