STYLE - the Design of web sites

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Leave aside all aspects of mark-up except the result.
Leave aside content, though its presence affects design
(to be clear, a godzilla in the content must somehow  
be incorporated into a good design)

Perhaps as a framework, and to define the discussion,
there is a wikipedia page: *Design elements and principles*

A reference given is:
Is this page an example of good design?
The other reference:
Is this page an example of good design?

To better define the discussion, here is the outline
of the wikipedia page:

1 Design elements  

1.1 Color  
1.1.1 Attributes
1.2 Shape  
1.2.1 Categories
1.3 Texture
1.4 Space
1.5 Form

2 Principles of design

2.1 Unity/Harmony  
2.1.1 Methods
2.2 Balance  
2.2.1 Types
2.3 Hierarchy
2.4 Scale/proportion
2.5 Dominance/emphasis
2.6 Similarity and contrast  
2.6.1 Similar environment
2.6.2 Contrasts

URL's of good and bad design would be appropriate if
"good" and "bad" are pointed out and explained in  
design-theory terms.  

Re: STYLE - the Design of web sites

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Not really a model of a page, no, I would say. The text becomes  
unreadable at zoom text only settings. Not very sensitive to narrower  
viewport settings. It uses a jpg to display what seems like  
non-pictoral content. Maybe from a graphic artist point of view it is  
pleasant enough but from a webpage aethetic point of view it is bloody  
horrible. For me, I think beautiful when pleasant looks are combined,  
married to functionality. How a page works under different conditions  
is an important test, not how it looks under just some conditions.

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Not particularly, no. It is very little of anything. And the little is  
hardly anything very good.

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There are no particular algorithms for good design, neither in  
painting, photos or webpages. There are no complete sets of properties  
that all good webpages have in common. There is no specification for  
beauty. I guess talking about all the individual points you list could  
have benefits, but do not hope for definitive answers.


Re: STYLE - the Design of web sites

[This thread is *off-topic* here, so X-Post & F'up2 where it belongs,  

The tagline of that newsgroup is “Layout/presentation on the WWW”, while the  
tagline of this newsgroup, <news:comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html>, is  
“Writing HTML for the Web”.  The Subject line was/is “*STYLE* - the Design  
of web sites” (emphasis by me).  It is difficult to believe that a well-
meaning, at least semi-intelligent person could be *repeatedly* disregarding  
the topic-oriented structure of Usenet so blatantly.

See also < .]

dorayme wrote:

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While there may be no algorithms for good Web design, there are several  
recommendations as to that.  One important set of recommendations is based  
on the initial idea of the Web that it is for *everyone*, so there should be  
as few barriers to using a Web site as possible, IOW it should be as  
accessible as possible to *everyone*.  This includes, but is not limited to,  
proper use of HTML *and* CSS.


Prototype.js was written by people who don't know javascript for people
who don't know javascript. People who don't know javascript are not
the best source of advice on designing systems that use javascript.

Which group to post in?

Perhaps it will be useful to have here the official definitions
from "news.announce.newsgroups Moderation Team; Aug 15, 2015:

comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html     Writing HTML for the Web.
comp.infosystems.www.authoring.images    Using images, imagemaps on the Web.
comp.infosystems.www.authoring.misc      Miscellaneous Web authoring issues.    Web site design philosophy.
comp.infosystems.www.authoring.stylesheets    Layout/presentation on the WWW.      Programs to help authoring Websites.

There's ambiguity here regarding ARTISTIC design.
 "design philosopy" comes closest, i.e "site-design".

"stylesheets" surely means ".css" and "style=" not "style" in the artistic sense

Re: Which group to post in?


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More like style-cheats?

The Netherlands.
(Please change the x'es to dots in my emailaddress)

Re: STYLE - the Design of web sites

By request, I move this post thread to  
and apologize for my wrong understanding of  
the group titles.

(I thought a "stylesheet" was a .css thing)

Re: STYLE - the Design of web sites

On Sun, 23 Aug 2015 22:27:28 -0700, masonc wrote:
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Try as I might I cannot understand what you mean by that.

Stan Brown, Oak Road Systems, Tompkins County, New York, USA
HTML 4.01 spec:
CSS 2.1 spec:
Why We Won't Help You:

Re: STYLE - the Design of web sites


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I'm trying to distinguish the artistics of design of a web page from the  
 .css div tr br h2 {font: 1.2em times,serif; margin-top:-1em; border-top:1px
solid black;   etc  etc etc etc

Can we discuss *design* without mentioning those *markup* thingies?
(There are books on design that do not mention brushes and paints.)

ASPECTS OF MARK-UP are tools for the creation of a RESULT: a design.


Incidently is
the place to discuss "Web site design philosophy"?
Or where?

Re: STYLE - the Design of web sites

25.8.2015, 22:21, masonc wrote:

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Neither of those issues are about HTML. (I won’t even mention that your  
CSS snippet is grossly absurd, since it is not even possible, still less  
valid, to put h2 inside a br element, so the selector matches no elements.)

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You did not mention any markup.

And this group is all about HTML authoring for the WWW, so it is surely  
about those markup thingies and not at all about CSS or design.


Re: STYLE - the Design of web sites

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We could, but it is not centrally appropriate in this group. Nor in  
the CSS group in particular. The CSS group is mainly about CSS, how to  
achieve various given artistic or pedestrian or other vision or aural  
effect by styling HTML with CSS.

Anyway, about the look of pages, about what to aim for, about what  
vision to have, there is no simple answer. In the case of a painting  
or photograph, there are no rules. We can talk about it but there are  
no attributes that are particularly relevant to making these things  
good that are common to all paintings and/or photographs. It may be  
interesting to look for some but you can never succeed, it is more  
than taking on more than can be digested.

In the case of webpages it is particularly complicated because they  
are not pictures on a wall. The set of what people see or hear or feel  
when they look at a webpage, the members of this set, will look and  
feel and sound significantly different depending on the sensory  
capacities of the people concerned on their various hardware and  

We can aim to make a website picture pleasant to a large number of  
people, and the considerations for this may well be the sort that you  
will discuss in art schools. But a website can never be really good if  
it simply breaks down and is difficult to read or hear for a  
significant other group.  

This is why functionality is so important. Like in architecture. The  
latter is not mere sculpture. Now functionality is a marriage between  
the HTML and the CSS. You cannot really discuss this functionality  
without some sort of study of HTML and CSS. So your attempt to  
"discuss" design without mentioning those "markup" thingies (which I  
am going to interpret as HTML elements and attributes and tags and CSS  
properties) is not going to get very far unless you are meaning to get  
some primer on a general idea of how webpages should behave?

The latter is easy: it should communicate its ideas as simply as  
possible to as wide a number and type of visitor as possible. It  
should please as many people as possible in its looks and operation.  
It should not irritate and frustrate people. It should not break down  
when a visitor does not have the same eyesight capacity as the author.  

It should...  

Mason, these groups have been over this stuff again and again. Ask  
yourself what are all the irritating things you find in websites in  
your surfing experience and then have the rule, Don't let your own  
website have any of those! <g>

Let's suppose that your website is really great in its functionality.  
Everyone everywhere on all their different hardwares can see, hear,  
feel, all you have to communicate. There is, it is true, a left over  
question. How pleasant an experience is it? Is it a bit ugly and  
clunky and ... ? These are difficult questions open to a lot of  
personal opinion. And yet, it is not a mere matter of opinion. At  
least I don't think so.  

I think there is something in the analogy of people judging how hot or  
cold a room is but there being an objective fact of the matter and if  
someone is wildly out in their judgment, it says more about them than  
the temp. Just an analogy, not to be taken too far.


Re: STYLE - the Design of web sites

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Actually, I believe there are, and books of such rules are in  
general agreement. There are principles of good-design, most  
simply seen in abstract paintings but applicable to all visual art.
(incidentally, very similar rules for aural art: unity, contrast, etc.)

The Principles are concepts used to organize or arrange the structural elements
of design. Again, the way in which these principles are applied affects the
expressive content, or the message of the work.  

 The principles are:  


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Not so. The relevant attributes exist and are rife with consensi.
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So we test on all models of hardware and software and succeed on most.

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The break down is a technical matter.  Leonardo's works are rife  
with examples of failure due to his incessant experimentation.

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How webpages behave -- see previous paragraph.

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"again and again" I have yet to see a discussion of design.

"any of those" begs explanation, definition, what "those" are  
we looking at?

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As Clinton would say, it depends on the meaning of "ugly" and "clunky."
Do they have no meaning?  If not, are they useful words.

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Thank you, dorayme, for the excellent response but you got me started.

It seems that occupants of these newsgroups freely criticize, even villify,
the *looks* of web pages but will not constructivly discuss the principles  
of the design of such *looks*.

Seems odd to me. Subjectivity devoid of objectivity offends me  
as a scientist but I must accept reality.

In the meantime, I and my web-site have benefited greatly by  
criticism, constructive and otherwise, on these newsgroups.  Thanks !

(And, by the way, my threads seem to be useful, judging by their  
length and off-topic exchanges. --  You are welcome.)

Re: STYLE - the Design of web sites

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O yeah? You mean they use similar words and concepts and vague and  
somewhat empty ideas like that "form is important", "the balance must  
be right to make beauty" and on and on. Can't you see how these are  
unworthy of the lofty idea of principles, can't you see they are far  
too indefinite and undefined to count as rules?  

If there are all these rules and principles, go learn them and produce  
beautiful webpages or beautiful anything...  

Maybe you could try writing a program or paying someone to write a  
program to incorporate these rules and principles and let the thing  
run and fill the art galleries of the world with blindingly perfect  

About all the books agreeing with each other on the principles,  
motherhood statements tend not to get too much opposition, and vague  
ones get even less, they leave everyone either speechless or encourage  
them to utter even more.

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Rife with consensi, my derriere! Consensus is not a sign that sensible  
and true things are being agreed upon. Listen to theologians sometime,  
they nod their heads over all sorts of things that have absolutely no  
chance of even being meaningful never mind true. Circles of dope  
smokers are always agreeing with each other on this or that bullshit.  

That people agree on saying similar things (if they do and when they  
do) does not mean they are applying principles and rules which you can  
simply learn in some mechanical way. It is just not like that! People  
can become more sensitive to good looks and they can grow and refine  
their sensibilities but you are not going to unearth some magic elixir  
of principles that you can then go on and use to make great web pages.

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What is this supposed to mean? Is this you disagreeing with me or  
making some claim that it is not a big deal? Are you not understanding  
the idea that with such a thing as a webpage, its goodness must  
involve functionality?  

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What the hell is this supposed to mean? Imagine you get a job making a  
website for some company and it discovers that it breaks down and you  
say "oh... that's just a technical matter!" Maybe you add "Oh, don't  
worry, I will fix that!" And what? You might go away for a few years  
to sort it out, maybe rewriting the whole goddam show so that it does  
not break down? Some technical matter!  

Mason, making good websites is making good websites, it's largely  
technical. There are no magic ingredients, you need to watch lots and  
lots of things.


Re: STYLE - the Design of web sites

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"rules" a wrong choice of word.  no, maybe not, what's a "ruler"?
A designer is guided by "xxxxx's" -- call them what you will
There is a broad consensus as to what those are.  I've listed some  
here somewhere.

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Designers do just that.  
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Great designers to that.  I cannot.  My son could -- see his art.

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"anti-intallectual" !  C'mon dorayme, you know there are great
designers who have written their "motherhood statements."

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Oh, dear.

"Not pictures on the wall? I see you have a small monitor and one  
of those old glass-bottle TV's  (as I do).

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I'll have to guess at the meaning of "functionality."  "Readability"
maybe?  Content?  Nah... too obvious.  Emotional stimulation?
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Again again .... there are two, I thought separable, subjects:
technical performance (the markup works) and artistic design.
I now know that professional computer people cannot think of
them as two subjects.  A brain abberation?

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"It is largely technical" is the thinking that makes messes on the web.
And I hasten to say that there are many artistically well designed
pages on the web.

Like mine now, thanks to critics like you.

Hah.  Last word.


Re: STYLE - the Design of web sites

2015 19:31:25 -0700, masonc wrote:


| It seems that occupants of these newsgroups freely criticize, even villify,
| the *looks* of web pages but will not constructivly discuss the principles  
| of the design of such *looks*.
| Seems odd to me. Subjectivity devoid of objectivity offends me  
| as a scientist but I must accept reality.

There is a well known expression "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder".

In other words, what is considered "beautiful" is subjective.

Because it is subjective there can be no rules for designing something
that is pleasing to the eye, only guidelines.  

Following the guidlines will not please everybody (but hopefully will
please the majority).

There will always be some people who don't like your design.

The designers of high traffic commercial websites often have several
different designs that are surveyed to find out which are most
pleasing/effective/etc before one is chosen.

See A Web Designer’s Introduction to A/B Testing
for more infomation.

You might also care to Google "website design aesthetic guidelines" and do
some reading.

As an aside, I find your website and book covers visually unappealing  ...
due to the broad mix of font and styles as well as their "old fashioned"

Just one example, the font and style used for the title of your book
"Memoir from a Greatest Generation" is almost unreadable when superimposed
over the black and white images.
David Postill

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