[thelist] Re: do you help people who know nothing at all?

Carol Whitney cwhitney at islandnet.com
Sun Feb 20 21:53:17 CST 2005

At 18:21 05-02-20 -0800, Steven Streight wrote:

>My question to Carol who asks how she can quickly and
>easily master enough web design to produce a decent
>web site to accomplish her goal...
>...what is your goal?

Good question <g>. Good idea for me to try to define it. I'll have to 
be careful, though, so as not to write a book to say what my goal is; 
that wouldn't be appropriate for an email list <haha!> Maybe I could 
make a tiny sketch (in writing), though.

>I also think the answer to her general question is
>There is no fast, easy, hurry up and build a web site
>type method.

Well-said. I hope I havent' fallen into that trap. Well, the 
Geocities approach suggests you can do it, but the results look that 
way - ugly as sin.

>The experienced web developers on this list, who have
>a much more intimate grasp of this whole topic than I,
>will have to step and either support or denounce my
>opinion here.

I could hope they'd support it; I expect each has spent lots and lots 
of time in study, probably researrch as well, not to mention practice!

>But I'm a web usability analyst,

You ARE? Great! I might have questions specifically for you, later 
on. I'm keeping accessibility in mind, but am helpless to do much 
about it right now. Still, I'm changing from HTML 4.01 Transistional, 
which is what the web tools I started with put together for me, to 
Strict, with accessibility in mind. I know almost nothing about it, 
but plan to learn.

>  and I sometimes see
>problems in web sites. It keeps me humble knowing that
>these problems are not always very easy to fix, and
>that it's not necessarily the web designer's fault.

Interesting. Your perspectives are helpful to me - gives me more to 
think about.

>There are many constraints, budget considerations,
>conflicting corporate objectives, web site host
>limitations, etc.

My limititations, besides money, are time, but I have a fair amount 
of that, being retired.

>I guess I'm reacting to what I see as a Get Web Site
>Quick mentality here.

<hehe> - well, I'm a Terrier by nature - a bit obsessive - want to 
learn, learn, learn, and do it fast <g>. So I take your point; thanks!

>You have to, I think, be willing to slow down, take
>the time and effort to learn what you need, in a
>logical systematic manner, whether books, online
>tutes, whatever.

Well, my difficulty there is in finding tutorials or other resources 
I can understand well enough to be systematic. Even the very good 
tutorials at MaxDesign are too much for me in some ways; I don't 
really follow them very well. I thought I understood the 
FloatTutorial quite well, but when I tried to apply it, I failed. The 
result is posted on my site, Funnneeeee!

My problem is, I'm not sure what I do and don't understand <g>. But I 
will, one day, get there, I trust. There was one book that really did 
get me started: _The Complete Idiot's Guide to Creating a Web Page_. 
That book saved me many months, I'm sure, of really useless sweat - 
getting nowhere fast. Help people have offered so far has helped in 
one way or another, but so far, nothing unified; I'd have to hire a 
coach, probably, to get any kind of unified picture.

>I suggest using a free Blogspot blog from

Thanks! I'll go have a look.

>You could probably accomplish whatever you want, fast,
>easy, fairly nicely. You can tinker with it. You can
>change templates. You can slowly learn how to alter
>the template code, but avoid major catastrophes.

Sounds great! I tried some of the W3Schools TryIt things, and learned 
a little that way, and will go back there again. I even tackled the 
W3C site. Most of it is still way beyond me, but some of the examples 
help. I begin to understand little bits here and there.

>I have a Zero Budget Marketing orientation myself. I
>am disabled and cannot afford a whole lot right now,
>but I'm not starving either. So I do relate to your
>plight. That's why I try to see what can be done on
>the web, with very little to no expense.

Somebody on the WebDeveloper Forums suggested I look for free 
software, saying often the free stuff is of the best. Of course, it 
appears evolt.org is along these lines, also.

>Then when a client comes to me with a huge budget, I
>can say, look at all that can be done for free or low
>cost. It's an experiment that seems to be successful.


>Hope this meandering helps a little.

It does - thanks a lot!

>Buy Stephen Spainhour & Robert Eckstein's "Webmaster
>in a Nutshell" (O'Reilly), Jakob Nielsen's "Designing
>Web Usability" (Peach Pit/New Riders), and Thomas
>Powell's "Web Design: The Complete Reference"

No buy. I ration my food. Maybe the library. I've also been refereed 
to Zeldman, Cederholm, and Castro. I'd love to have those books! I'll 
try the library - well, I did, but it's a small, rural library; I'll 
have to try for interlibrary loan.

<weaving my web to catch information <g>>

<and noting the content of your signature - I'll be going exploring.>

Sun, 20 Feb 2005  19:53:07
Carol W.
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