features from fastrak consulting

click here for the features menu

Everyone's a publisherpixel.gif (807 bytes)

pixel.gif (807 bytes) Working on screen is different
pixel.gif (807 bytes)
IT MIGHT SEEM like common sense to say that there are important differences between paper and the screen as a medium. But then when was common sense ever common? After all, on the face of it, there are some striking similarities:
  • both can display text in a variety of fonts and sizes
  • both can display still images, like photos and charts

But go much beyond these and you are looking at two very different environments:

  • the screen is landscape in format, whereas paper is normally printed portrait
  • what you can display on a piece of A4 paper is fixed, whereas the amount that is displayed in a browser window depends on the user’s screen resolution and the size at which they’ve chosen to set their browser
  • you can print at high resolution on paper (even a low cost laser printer will print at 300 dots per inch), whereas screens are relatively low resolution (72 dots per inch is not unusual)
  • with a paper document, you can see all there is to see by turning over the pages; with a screen document, much of it is hidden unless you scroll down to find it

Do these physical differences between the two media really matter? You bet. They matter because if you ignore them and just copy your working practices from paper to the screen, then your documents will most likely be unreadable, disorientating, dull and so big that they jam up your network.

We also know, from research conducted by Sun Microsystems, that people behave differently when reading from a screen:

  • 79% of readers scan the page rather than reading it word for word
  • reading from the screen is 25% slower than reading from paper

As a result, they recommend that web documents should contain only 50% as much content as their paper equivalents. They also recommend a completely different approach to designing for the screen.

footer2.gif (845 bytes)
                                                     Fastrak Consulting Ltd, 1998. All rights reserved.                                 Last revised 2/11/98.