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Frequently Asked Web Design Questions

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If you’d like to do business on the Internet, launching a quality web site is an absolute must. Learning how to design your own web site can be a little intimidating. However, there is a wealth of free information available on the Internet to assist you.

The best way to learn is by doing. Take the first step and begin researching. Once you understand the basics of web design, you can begin experimenting with some more advanced coding techniques.

A great place to start is HTML Goodies:
http://www.htmlgoodies.com/primers/primer_1.html

Over the years, I have received many questions in regard to web design. Below, are some of the most frequently asked questions I receive on a regular basis:

Question: I am in the process of designing my first web page and am confused about making it compatible with all the different web browsers. Can you help?

Answer: Although there really isn’t a “set in stone” solution to developing a web page that will display properly in all browsers, there are some basic guidelines that will assist you.

The best advice I can offer is to develop your site to be compatible with Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator, as these are the two most widely used browsers.

Although the latest versions of the two browsers are fairly comparable, you must take into consideration that many of your visitors won’t have the latest versions.

Some of the main differences between earlier versions of the two browsers are as follows:

(1) In order to center a “table” within earlier versions of Netscape, you must enclose your “table” code with the CENTER and /CENTER tags instead of using P ALIGN=CENTER. The CENTER tag is compatible with both browsers.

(2) When creating form fields, if you use the maxlength code within your code, Netscape will display the input box the length of the maxlength code value.

(3) If you would like to display your web page full-screen or adjust the margins, you’ll need to use the following codes within your BODY tag:

<BODY topmargin=0 bottommargin=0 leftmargin=0 rightmargin=0 marginheight=0 marginwidth=0>

This margin code is compatible with both browsers.

Internet Explorer supports:

topmargin=0
bottommargin=0
leftmargin=0
rightmargin=0

Netscape Navigator supports:

marginheight=0
marginwidth=0

(4) Avoid using special design techniques that require a special browser extension or plug-in, as many of your visitors will need to download and install the plug-in before they can use your site — most won’t.

If you follow these few guidelines, you shouldn’t have any problems with browser compatibility.

A great way to ensure your site displays properly is to download and install both Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator. This will enable you to view your site through both browsers.

Internet Explorer
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/ie/default.asp

Netscape Navigator
http://channels.netscape.com/ns/browsers/download.jsp

You can find a nice “Browser Compatibility” chart at the following web address:
http://www.webreview.com/browsers/browsers.shtml

You can test your site’s compatibility at the following web addresses:
http://www.anybrowser.com
http://www.netmechanic.com

Question: I can’t get my image to display on my web page. I placed the image code in my page, but all I see is a “red X” where the image should display. Can you tell me what the problem may be?

Answer: In order for an image to display on a web page, it must first be uploaded to your server in “binary” mode. If you’ve verified that your image has been uploaded properly, your next step will be to double check your image HTML code. Make sure that the image address leads to your image and is spelled exactly the same. Keep in mind, the name of your image is CaSE SeNsiTIve. In other words, if your image name is “Image.gif” on your server, it must look exactly the same within your code.

Question: I would like to display my text, side by side, like a newspaper, but I can’t figure out the code.

Answer: In order to display your text like a newspaper, you must place it within a table.

    <TABLE>
    <TR>
    <TD>text</TD>
    <TD>text</TD>
    </TR>
    </TABLE>
Question: When I placed my text within my page, it’s right up against the left border. Is there any way I can correct this?

Answer: Yes, you can place your text within a table. You can specify the width of your table to determine the distance between your text and the left and right border of your web page.

    <CENTER>
    <TABLE WIDTH=”80%”>
    <TR>
    <TD>text</TD>
    </TR>
    </TABLE>
    </CENTER>
This table code will display your text across 80% of your web page with a border of 10% on the left and right side.

If you’d rather not use a table, you can also set your page borders within your BODY tag:

<BODY topmargin=0 bottommargin=0 leftmargin=0 rightmargin=0 marginheight=0 marginwidth=0>

Question: I have specified a font face at the beginning of my web page, but the font face isn’t displaying within my tables. Can you tell me what the problem may be?

Answer: In order to display a specific font face within your tables, you must use a separate font tag within each table cell.

    <TABLE>
    <TR>
    <TD font face=”Arial”>text</font></TD>
    <TD font face=”Arial”>text</font></TD>
    </TR>
    </TABLE>
If you’d rather not use a font tag within each of your table cells, there is an easier way. Place the following code between the HEAD and /HEAD tags. This code will specify the font style for all of your table cells.
    <STYLE TYPE=”text/css”>
    <!–
    TD{font-family: Arial; font-size: 12pt;}
    –>
    </STYLE>
Question: I’ve placed a form code within my web page, but my form isn’t working. Can you help?

Answer: In order for a form to function, in addition to placing the form HTML within your web page, you must also use a CGI form processing script. This script will reside on your server within your CGI-bin and will be called from your form code within your HTML. Your code might look something like this:

<form method=post action=”/cgi-bin/example.cgi”>

The “cgi-bin/example.cgi” text should be changed to the address of your form processing script.

You can find free form processing scripts at the CGI Resource Index. http://cgi.resourceindex.com/Programs_and_Scripts/Perl/

Learning how to design a great web site isn’t easy. However, if you take the time to educate yourself and start with the basics, you’ll be well on your way to designing a great site.

Shelley Lowery is the author of the acclaimed web design
course, Web Design Mastery. http://www.webdesignmastery.com
An in-depth guide to professional web site design. Visit
Web-Source.net to sign up for a complimentary subscription
to Etips and receive a copy of the acclaimed ebook, “Killer
Internet Marketing Strategies.” http://www.web-source.net

Frequently Asked Web Design Questions
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