Internet Shakespeare Editions

STAA Conference, Washington DC, January 2002

Sites and references

Tip Sheet

1. Web sites that discuss and explore web design principles

1.1. A Shaker Approach to Web Site Design by Michael D. Levi:
http://www.bls.gov/ore/htm_papers/st970120.htm

An excellent older paper that defines web design as a combination of three artefacts: simplicity, elegance and quality.

"Webster's gives one definition of simplicity as 'absence of affectation or pretense', and elegance as 'grace and restraint of style.' In the Web context, these characteristics define a design philosophy which concentrates on supporting, enhancing, and emphasizing the underlying content by careful arrangement and use of graphical elements, but never allows the design itself to become prominent. If the user becomes aware of the design beyond an almost subliminal sense of aesthetic satisfaction, the effort has failed."

1.2. ALISTAPART (e-zine):
http://alistapart.zeldman.com/index.html

Includes a list of stories about web design at http://www.alistapart.com/stories/. The following papers are recommended:

"Reading Design" by Dean Allen
"Even though image editing, information architecture, typography, and varied media are part of the designer's toolkit, and it's easy to see how many designers are led down a garden path of putative "specialization" (for example turning out gardening--supply store websites clogged with Flash), one thing remains constant: that designers need to be able to render ideas clearly."

"Failure to Communicate" by George Olsen
"While usability is obviously important, it's far from the only consideration in designing a user experience. There are at least three aspects to sites: information, experience, and interaction - fact (or fiction), form, and function, if you will. The most appropriate design for a site depends on the relative importance of each of these."

1.3. Research Based Web Design and Usability Guidelines:
http://usability.gov/guidelines/index.html

This site is managed by the National Cancer Institute and is designed to provide over 50 of the top Web design and usability guidelines based on emerging research and supporting information in the field.

2. Web sites providing "How To Tips" or information for beginners

2.1. How to do HTML tutorial (for beginners):
http://www2.cea.edu/robert/instruction/

2.2. Style Guide for Online Hypertext:
http://www.w3.org/Provider/Style/Overview.html

The site states that the guide is designed to help you create a hypertext database that "effectively communicates your knowledge to the reader."

2.3. Basic design principles by Patrick Lynch (Yale University) and Sarah Horton (Dartmouth University):
http://info.med.yale.edu/caim/manual/

This site provides an excellent style manual.

Novice and occasional users: These users depend on clear structure and easy access to overviews that illustrate how information is arranged within your Web site. Novices tend to be intimidated by complex text menus and may be tentative about delving deep into the site if the home page is not graphically attractive and clearly arranged. According to Sun Microsystems Jakob Nielsen, less than 10% of Web readers ever scroll beyond the top of Web pages. Infrequent users benefit from overview pages, hierarchical maps, and design graphics and icons that help trigger memory about where information is stored within your site.

2.4. Many design tools have tutorials online. For example, the Macromedia Dreamweaver Tutorial and Support Centre, found at:
http://www.macromedia.com/support/dreamweaver/tutorial.html

Dreamweaver is an advanced HTML editor for visually designing and managing Web Sites and pages.

2.5. Fixing Your Website by Vincent Flanders:
http://www.fixingyourwebsite.com/index.html

A website for solving design problems (provides tips on creating a web site, content, navigation, style sheets, graphics, usability, etc.)

3. Web sites providing information and guidelines on usability

3.1. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C):
http://www.w3.org/

A standard setting body created in 1994 to develop common protocols for web development and interoperability. The W3C has over 500 member organizations around the world.

3.2. Usability.gov:
http://usability.gov/index.html

Extensive government site providing advice on usability, guidelines and checklists .

4. Sites of general interest

4.1. Home page for Shakespeare Theatre Association of America (hosted by the ISE):
http://web.uvic.ca/shakespeare/STAA/index.html

4.2. Best of the Shakespeare sites, according to "About -- The Human Internet":
http://shakespeare.about.com/cs/generalsites/

These sites were chosen as among the best for information regarding Renaissance England, Shakespeare, his works and life.

4.3. Best of the Web. Museums on the Web that have earned accolades. See why at:
http://www.archimuse.com/mw2001/best/index.html

And visit:

4.4. Bhutan's fine site:
http://www.ifs.univie.ac.at/~bhutan/test002/index.php3

4.5. Art Tales, telling stories with wildlife art:
http://www.wildlifeart.org/ArtTales/index.html

4.6. The Seattle Art Museum:
http://www.seattleartmuseum.org/

5. Questions?

Contact Michael Best or Roberta Livingstone at the Internet Shakespeare Editions:
http://web.uvic.ca/shakespeare/
email: mbest1@uvic.ca; rlivingstone@shaw.ca

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The ISE does not endorse any particular product or commercial web site. The above information is provided for general reference only.