Our Web Design class is progressing from laying out prototype web pages in a program called Fireworks to implementing them in another program called Dreamweaver. That is, the rest of the class appears to be progressing. I am having a lot of trouble getting the programs to mesh, although they are both products of Adobe. Well, as King Henry V said, “Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more . . . ” Except the rest of the quote is “or close the wall up with our English dead.”

But I was able to do the assigned reading, which is sure to be useful in helping me master the software. One consists of CSS Cheat Sheets, which gathers together how-tos on using Cascading Style Sheets to build web pages. I am going to print them out to have on hand as I proceed. The cheat sheets put together the bits and pieces we have studied separately.

Another assignment was a little scarier, saying that how people really use the web is different from how web designers imagine they will. Basically, web surfers appear to be an impatient lot. They tend to skip around — or entirely off your site.

Which brings us the the third assignment, on “Killer Web Content.” The author has tracked which stories people read about the same four news events. They appear drawn to snappy treatment indicating how they themselves will be affected — more like the “news you can use” favored by the Kiplinger newsletter publisher than the windy anecdotal leads favored, at least in the past, by the Wall Street Journal and my former publisher at the Toronto Star, Beland Honderich, among many in the print world.

I wonder how the Washington Post will handle this phenomenon as it merges its print and online editing functions. One of the stories that drew zero readership online was by a Post alumnus who went on to Newsday.

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