Web-design opinions

Merely having opinions is as easy for me as for anybody else. But “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”, they say.

This my home page is an obvious place to voice opinions, but also to proof some of them: Those regarding web design.


No cheers to the “let’s be nosy” business model of some of the big ones. Not from this author.

So, when you surf this site, none of the usual suspects will learn about it. Not as far as I can help it. It’ll be all between your browser, my server, a few routers in between, and whatever DNS server your browser consults.

Price I pay:

  • Though I generally enjoy discussions, no comment functionality here.

  • What I use, in terms of auxiliary stuff such as CSS, I serve myself. (The server’s run by me anyway.)

  • Should you desire to share this site, you’ll need to copy the link (e.g., from your browser’s address bar). No pre-made buttons for sharing via social networks.

Semantic markup!

I don’t like “<div> soup”. I prefer semantic markup.

While I’m not sure is universally feasible, for this site, it is. For most pages, the HTML contains no <div>1.

Price I pay:

I roll my own CSS styling. (Which is actually an enjoyable little exercise.)

Filename extensions in URIs

My URIs here on this site do not drag lame .html tails. There’s the admirable some 20-year-old piece “Cool URIs don’t change” by Tim Berners-Lee. I side with him on that point.

Price I pay:

A slight inconsistency creeps in: I only bother to do this for the documents themselves, not for their auxiliary resources. If one wanted to be scientific about this, URI tails such as .css and .jpg could be removed, too.

Font size

I do not know

  • whether you have a big screen or a little one,

  • whether you need glasses and if you do,

  • whether you have them on reading my web site.

  • The distance between you and your screen is also unknown to me.

In short: Which font size would be appropriate for your display? I don’t know.

Given lack of information, one usually pulls (more or less reasonable) assumptions out of thin air. For this simple web page, I can avoid that.

Instead, I trust your browser and its configuration.

If you need larger or want smaller fonts, configure your browser. Within reason, my design will automatically adjust.

Price I pay

I have already decided to roll my own CSS. That price is being paid already. I basically just need to be cautious about using px in my CSS.

Responsive design, accessibility

It is my opinion that a simple web site like this one should be nicely readable on a mobile device, and should be accessible as well.

Price I pay

The responsive part wasn’t so hard. The accessible part I still need to do 😉.

Me – a web designer?

I’m a techie with a decent working knowledge of CSS (and JS—but that was not needed here). But I’m afraid I’m not much worth at the design end of things. I understand neither colors, nor typography.

Price I pay

As everybody, I’ll need a little help from my friends now and then. In the color, graphical layout, and typography area, I hope to obtain it one of these days.

At present, you still see this page before that has happened. It looks good to me, but then, as said, what do I know regarding colors or typography?

  1. The exceptions: The syntax highlighter that renders code blocks produces <div>s, footnotes (like this one) are also rendered in <div>, and the Jupyter notebook output I present in the C++ example is rather a <div>-soup. I decided “most pages without <div>” was good enough for my purpose. 

Dr. Andreas Krüger, Herweghstr. 13, 12487 Berlin, Germany, andreas.krueger@famsik.de