[thelist] Single or Multiple Page Articles?

Scott Schrantz scotts at rci-nv.com
Thu Jun 27 13:16:01 CDT 2002

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Lpdesigns [mailto:Lrpdesigns at theriver.com]
> First of all, let me say that I plead guilty to having written many
> multi-page articles. Some of them are on my website.
> The trouble with this "Single or Multi Page" question is that it begs
> another question: Exactly how big is a page?
>  <snip>
> So, what size should those single pages be? Should they print
> out to fit on an American 8.5 by 11 sheet, or an A4 sheet?

	There's another page size at issue here...the size of a World Wide
Web page. This page varies in width anywhere from 400 to 1000 pixels (or
more into either extreme) and is infinite in length. Web pages don't
actually have any set boundaries like paper size, and theoretically you
could put the entire text of the collections of the Library of Congress on
one "page". Of course, no one would want to take on the job of reading or
finding something in that page.
	The issue here seems to be: how long is "too long" for a page? At
what point do you say "Gosh, this page is getting too long; I better chunk
up this article"? This is truly a religious war if I ever heard one. One one
hand you have folks like Jakob Nielsen, who advises that if the text scrolls
off the bottom of the screen it's too long. "People don't like to scroll,"
he says. On the other hand are writers like Philip Greenspun, who put the
entire text of his book online, at one page per chapter. These chapters
average nearly 10,000 words apiece, and there they are in one long scroll.
	For the record, I prefer single-page articles, and if they're too
long they should have named anchors throughout. It depends on the content,
though. If it's a longish essay that makes a few different points, maybe
each section should be its own page. I do think Jakob's advice of not going
below the fold is a bit extreme. But, each site is different, and it really
comes down to the author, editor, and audience to decide.

Scott Schrantz
work: www.rci-nv.com
play: www.computer-vet.com

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