This style manual developed as an outgrowth of our own World Wide Web (Web) development projects. It reflects our attempts to apply some of the lessons we've learned in twelve years of multimedia software design, graphic interface design, and book design to the new medium of Web pages and site design. There are fine existing Web sites and books that emphasize Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), and others that emphasize commercial and art-oriented Web graphic design. However, few existing resources have attempted to approach Web page and site design as a challenge that combines traditional editorial approaches to documents with graphic design, user interface design, information design, and the technical authoring skills required to optimize the HTML code, graphics, and text within Web pages.
What this manual is not
Our approach to both the HTML language and the general problem of information design in World Wide Web systems is not grounded in the philosophy that drives the development of structured information publishing tools like HTML's parent language, SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language). The advice here is aimed at the practical concerns of bending and adapting a relatively primitive authoring and layout tool (HTML) to purposes it was never really intended to serve (graphic page design). If you are interested in the larger questions of publishing in highly structured systems that are independent of browser software, operating systems, or typographic restrictions you might want to begin with the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Web site, which lists many technical and historic references related to the development of structured text, and material on the history of the Web.
note about web browsers|
Most of the design advice and technical information contained here on optimizing graphics in Web pages is tailored to recent versions (2.0 or later) of both Netscape Navigator and Microsoft's Internet Explorer. There is little here of benefit to users of text-based Web browsers, as the primary focus of this manual is on graphic page design.