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The payoff for feeding Jules

A deal is a deal. Jules has been fed.

I promised him lunch if he would critique some of our readers' personal Web pages. After jambalaya and bread pudding, he's ready to roll on some of the personal Web pages that were submitted for review. (The only thing he didn't put hot sauce on was dessert.)

We were fortunate to get a good variety in the sites submitted, and we'll probably run a review once a month. They also will be posted at http://www.jules.com/armchair/. We start with a site "created and maintained by a very proud, but non-professional designer father for his first son" at http://www.gate.net/~jamiek/connor/connor.htm. For businesses that submitted sites, there was some confusion. The critique invitation was for personal sites only. The Your Site Here series that we are running was intended as a guide for small business, and we don't plan to include critiques of commercial sites. However, some of the messages and sites may be included in follow-up coverage of the issue.

Times technology editor

Getting personal on the Web


© St. Petersburg Times, published August 31, 1998

Opinions are like armchairs, and I have plenty of both.

Of all the cute baby pages I've seen, Baby Connor's home page is one of the best. It's upfront in its intentions and you've got no doubt as to why you're here when you open the page.

Baby Connor's home page

The less scrolling your visitor has to do at your site, the better. I've taken the content from Baby Connor's home page and dropped it into a table. A table allows you to make columns that just about any Web browser can handle. While it might not be obvious, the title area, the storks and the welcome message are actually three columns. One for the first stork, one for the text and one for the last stork.

While trying to tighten the depth of the page, I have moved Baby Connor's picture and the links into two columns. Now you can see everything without having to scroll down.

A common mistake is to take a graphic, import it into your HTML (hypertext markup language) and then resize it. The graphic of Baby Connor as it stood was 69k, not huge but certainly not as quick to load as the 5k image I got when I cropped it.

Giving graphics the right size before you import them makes your Web page load faster, and your visitors spend less time waiting. You may even save yourself money if your hosting provider charges for bandwidth.

While we're fiddling with graphics, the diaper background is a cute touch but just a little too dark. I've lightened it up a tad and blended the background together so you don't get the tile effect that you can see on the original page.

The rest of the site's navigation is logical and there are "return to the home page" signs sprinkled liberally around -- a good thing. On the whole, this site needed just a little help with the layout and is heading in the right direction.


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