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the evenings out here - Thoughts, rants and musings about absolutely everything except photography. Or cats.

Practice before Preaching

in Design & Usability , Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Whilst searching around today for some authoratative statements on web typography, I came across Richard Rutter's pages. This seems like it should be interesting. Unfortunately, however, as a web site it does not stand up very well. Flaws spring to the eye immediately. First, the home page seems to think it is a book cover. Cute, but for a start, surely the topic is quite clearly NOT print? And worse, the few links provided are at the bottom of the page, well below the "fold" on VGA screens (yes, people do still use them). Going a bit further, it gets worse. Viewed with IE6sp2, the text column on the Introduction page behaves very strangely. There seems to be a strange mouse over effect which rewraps the last paragraph, and the last line of the previous one, breaking the left margin alignment. In the next section, (Rhythm & Proportion), it gets worse. The formatting of the link list at the top right is clearly broken, and the links themselves are not clear. As for the Introduction section, the main body text suffers from some strange behaviour. Finally, the use of italics in the typography of the title, "The Elements of Typographic Style Applied to the Web" doesn't seem to make much sense. Italics are used to convey emphasis, and here I cannot see what is being emphasised (or de-emphasised). To my mind, "The Elements of Typographic Style Applied to the Web" is one version that would make more sense. Does all this matter? Yes, because I cannot recommend it to developers who havs a problem with text layout, issues, because they will immediately notice the implementation issues and mistrust the message. To me, the arbitrary use of text decoration reduces my confidence in the content. Since I followed a link from a site I have very high confidence in, Douglas Bowman's Stopdesign, overall I still trust the content. But this really illustrates that when the message is about the medium, the medium really is the message.