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In-Depth Information
What Is the Real World, Anyway?
You're probably most familiar with surfing the Internet on a computer that runs a specific
operating system, such as Windows, Mac OS X, or something similar. You might think
you have a pretty good idea of what web pages look like to everyone.
Throughout this topic, you've learned that the view you typically see on the Web isn't
the view that everyone else sees. The real world includes many different computers with
many different operating systems. Even if you try to design your pages for the most com-
mon operating system and the most common browsers, there's another factor that you
can't anticipate: user preference . Consider the following family, for example:
Bill is a top-level executive at a Fortune 100 company that has its own intranet.
The company IT department requires everyone to use the same operating system
and the same browser. Bill is mainly interested in getting news online, and doesn't
bother with multimedia. He's also addicted to his smartphone, constantly checking
his email and using it to get news on the Web when he's not at his desk.
Bill's wife, Susan, uses her computer mainly for email. She follows links that she
gets from other people, but she's not comfortable “surfing” the Web. She's a
genealogist by hobby and has learned that the Internet has many resources in that
field. She also wants to publish her family history on the Web. When she and her
husband got their cable modem hooked up, she was thrilled. But soon she was ask-
ing questions such as, “Can we fit more on the screen? Those letters are a bit too
small…can we make them larger? Where are the pictures? How come you have the
music turned off? It says that there's sound on this page!” She already wanted to
see the Internet much differently than what her husband was used to seeing.
Bill and Susan have a son, Tom, who's in high school. He's an avid gamer and
spends a lot of time watching videos on YouTube! He pumps up the volume as
loud as he can and pushes the capacities of their new computer to the max. He also
thinks “Browser X” is better than “Browser Y” because it supports lots of cutting-
edge features. He wants to start a blog that provides hints, tips, and tricks for one
of his favorite online games.
Tom's older sister, Jill, is an art major in college, studying to be a commercial
artist. She has a keen interest in sculpture and photography. She plans to use her
new computer for homework assignments, so she'll be looking at the Web with a
keen visual interest. She also uses Facebook and Twitter to stay in touch with her
friends from school.
Then there are the senior members of the family, Susan's aging parents, who have
recently moved in with the family after years of living in a rural town. Their
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