22 Oct 1997 ............... Length about 900 words (6000 bytes).
This is a WWW document by Steve Draper, installed at http://www.psy.gla.ac.uk/~steve/webdesign/gisttalk.html.
You may copy it.
Who: Steve Draper & Mark Dunlop
Where/when: 1pm, Friday 31 October 1997, conference room, 17 Lilybank Gardens
Title: "Entrance lobbies for web pages"
Mark Dunlop now has a minimalist web page.
(And another minimalist-ish one is:
(And another one that puts simple and striking looks over ease of use:
This is contrast to most others', e.g. Steve's.
Is Mark right? Although objections can be raised (and will be discussed), there
are quite powerful rationales for his design. This is the topic for this
Some ideas are:
- The task users have to do when they arrive at a web page is to decide by
recognition whether this is a page they want. To support this, knowing that
often they will scan many web pages, it is best to have a very small fast
loading page, that can be recognised as right or wrong very fast. And this
justifies using a graphic (faster to recognise).
Conversely the "real" pages could be big, text only, and bookmarked by
- In IR, the short summaries to support this user task are called "surrogates"
e.g. the 3 line summaries
AltaVista returns from each search. So Mark has
decided that he should design his own document surrogate, and not let some
dumb machine do it badly. Is this a general idea a) for all web documents
e.g. big papers of mine b) in IR?
- Following a link on the web is fundamentally slow, in contrast to say a Mac
menu command. So shouldn't web link labels be very long, unlike menu command
names? So should any page that points to Mark's take a copy of his entrance
page and use the whole of it as a link?
- Is Mark's design too minimalist? It's OK for those who know his name or
face; but what about those who know his voice (from the phone)? should there
be a voice sample? something that describes his accent? A statement of all
the ways people might know him e.g. BCS committee member, amateur petanque