[thelist] Re: Single- or multiple-page articles? P.S. for Erika

Techwatcher techwatcher at accesswriters.com
Thu Jun 27 10:50:00 CDT 2002

Hi, again --

> I'm interested in your thoughts on whether online articles (reviews,
> etc) are better represented as one long page, or as multiple shorter
> pages. Any thoughts? Both from the perspective of the reader, and
> that of the webmaster.

The best answer is, it depends. For example, I once created a 100k html
page because it represented a statistics article with hypertext back
and forth, and I wanted students to be able to download it for future
(independent) reference. So, for example, I would define mean, then
link back to mean every time I used that term again.

I always want specs (like CSS) in one huge file I can examine slowly,
off-line, rather than lots of small files. (The W3 offers one large,
zipped collection of all the CSS2 files, so obviously I'm not the only
one who finds this useful.)

Those examples are extreme exceptions, however.

I think the current http spec still requires opening a non-sustained
connection for each separate file, so I personally like to keep file
sizes "large," but generally under about 35k. Bear in mind that all non-
cached graphic (or CSS) files for the same page require additional
connections and file downloads, adding to the time it takes the browser
actually to render the whole of that 35k page.

As a reader, it annoys me to read an article (well, I'm a fast reader,
but say a 10-minute article) if I have to keep interrupting my reading
to download the next chunk. But many folks are reported to hate
scrolling, so some Web designers advise using text chunks that fit on
one screen! One key here is to notice that it matters, in making your
decision, whether the page is TEXT for readers, or just a bunch of
stuff like links in columns or photos and so on.

READERS are probably annoyed by the need to click "next" and wait to
continue; SURFERS may be more annoyed by the need to scroll!

P.S. Erika, I agree with you, albeit with a bit more circumspection!
Rudy's one of the good guys, just not a writer, I guess. I actually
started my comments in that fast-degenerating thread (Hn) by remarking
that all writers naturally know how to use heading tags. I, too, would
have treated the 6 stooges, which he *formatted* with h3, as a <-strong-
>initial part of the first<-/-strong-> sentence. I hope my dashes left
the strong tag readable to all?

Cheers --
Carol Stein
techwatcher at accesswriters.com

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