Getting as Wide an Audience as Possible
While Still Putting on a Fancy Show

A few tips if you want to be seen by more than the select few
trying out their new and cutting-edge browsers and plug-ins.

  1. There are vast numbers of people on the Internet who aren't even using graphic browsers -- they see text, and text only. All images show up as the stunningly informative [IMAGE], or perhaps the equally evocative [INLINE] -- unless you have had the forethought to include the attribute ALT="This is the cutest picture of a cat you never did see." in your IMG tag. Thalia, with Guinness EXAMPLE: If you are using a graphics browser and all is right with the world, you see a picture of Myself and one of my Favorites. If you are using a text browser, or one of the Internet's Immortal Imps has interrupted transmission, chewed on and corrupted my image file, or some other imaginative trick, you see the words "Thalia, with Guinness". The code for this reads
    <IMG SRC="thalia.gif" height="144" width="164" ALT="Thalia, with Guinness" ALIGN=right>

    That image looks pretty funky, by the way, because I made it myself, years ago when I was new to graphics. I've also used graphics displayed for downloading by the people who created them, with a link back to the creator. I am cautious about using graphics from "free graphic" collections or "snags" sent around in emails, because many of those have been "snagged" wiithout the copyright owner's permission. If it looks gorgeous, a human being with an identity put a lot of effort into making it. Please find out that identity and get permission before using it, even if a friend sent you the file.

    Thanks. :-)

  2. That image tag brings up a tip about speed. Not everybody on the Web, regrettably, is willing to wait five minutes to see all your stunning effects -- you would be amazed to know how few are, really. But if you give them something  to begin to read, they might still be around when all the images finally download. The way to do this is to include the WIDTH and HEIGHT attributes in every IMG tag -- as I did above. This both makes the images load faster, and allows the server to immediately begin filling in the text around the places where the images will be.

  3. Not everyone using the internet has precisely  your tastes in music, or is presently in a position to indulge it. If a visitor to your site suddenly finds "Boogie Nights" bursting from his speakers all over the office floor in the middle of the morning, or waking the baby in the middle of the night, he might not be back. It is considerate to place the controls within his reach. [Music Controls]
    Here is the code I used:
    <EMBED SRC="fjvar.mid" controls=smallconsole height=15 width=55
    AUTOSTART=true LOOP=true VOLUME=32>
    <FONT SIZE=-2>[Music Controls]</FONT>
    <BGSOUND SRC="fjvar.mid" autostart=true loop=true VOLUME=32>

    That music, by the way, is "Frere Jacques Variations" by Greg Spence, used with his permission. I didn't realize until recently that all those "free midi" sites out there don't always have permission to store and give away those midis. This midi, which I got direct from the composer, is the only midi I still display, is the only one I still display, until I have contacted the composers of all the others I once downloaded from "free midi" sites.

  4. Frames can be lovely, frames can be useful -- and if someone whose browser is not frame-capable happens on your site, you might as well not have a webpage. Setting up an alternative for non-frame browsers is quick and easy -- after the </FRAMESET> tag, write <NOFRAMES>, then code the page that the no-frame browser will see, then write </NOFRAMES>. You can see an example of this in Seattle Jabberwalk. Feel free to look at the source code.

  5. For love and pity, if you are going to use Java scripts, test them out thoroughly against several kinds of browsers before uploading them. Personally, I get rather tired of pressing "OK" on the Java Error Message pop-up, just because I have a Netscape 4.02 and you have a Supercallifragelisticexpiallidocious. And if you are really depending on the input from a Java routine, be aware that your text-browser audience ain't gonna give it to you -- so provide an alternative form.
  6. The same goes for Flash! If you have a Flash menu, you have just blocked your site off from everyone who doesn't have the Flash plug-in, and some people don't want it. Nobody is going to download something they don't want, that takes up space on their hard drive, just to look at your site. And if you have a Flash intro, please provide a bypass link. It may be fascinating, but the 92nd time I've seen it the fascination wears off. Do you want people coming back again, or what?

  7. I'm sure there's more. There are more sites that explain them, too. Feel free to email me with any suggestions.

  8. For other web-builder tips, I have links to a number of graphic and midi sites on Thalia's Credits and Fun Places to Visit page, and I have a compilation of Beginner's Guides to World Wide Webbing at Effective Activism on the Internet.

webmaking help