HTML and CSS Reference
17.1. Top of the Tips
The most important tip for even veteran authors is to surf the Web your-
self. We can show and explain a few neat tricks to get you started, but
hundreds of thousands of authors out there are combining and recom-
bining HTML and XHTML tags and juggling content to create compelling
and useful documents.
All the popular browsers provide a way to view the source for the web
pages that you download. Examine (don't steal) them for how they cre-
ate the eye-catching and effective features, and use them to guide your
own creations. Get a feel for the more effective web collections. How are
their documents organized? How large is each document?
We all learn from experience, so go get it!
17.1.1. Design for Your Audience
We repeatedly argue throughout this topic that content matters most,
not look. But that doesn't mean presentation doesn't matter.
Effective documents match your target audience's expectations, giving
them a familiar environment in which to explore and gather information.
Serious academicians, for instance, expect a journal-like appearance for
a treatise on the physiology of the kumquat: long on meaningful words,
figures, and diagrams and short on frivolous trappings like cute bullets
and font abuse. Don't insult the reader's eye, except when exercising
artistic license to jar or to attack your reader's sensibilities. By anticip-
ating your audience and designing your documents to appeal to their
tastes, you also subtly deflect unwanted surfers from your pages.
For instance, use subtle colors and muted text transitions between sec-
tions for a classical art museum's collection, to mimic the hushed envir-
onment of a real classical art museum. The typical rock 'n' roll-crazed
web-surfer maniac probably won't take more than a glance at your site,
but the millionaire arts patron might.