A little knowledge can be dangerous

I could title this one "Oh, God! Not another font tag, please!"

I use the software used to manage this website for a couple other not-for-profit websites I wound up getting roped into doing (hey, I like reusing my work as much as possible). Usually, the best results come from people who just get into the editor and type, or people who just type things up in Word and then copy and paste things into the editor. The pages come out looking clean, and they all wind up getting formatted with the site's style sheet, so they all look like part of the site.

Unfortunately, once in a while, there are people who know just enough to cause big problems. The least annoying case is when people insist that they want to FTP HTML files that they're written in Dreamweaver or Microsoft Frontpage up to the server, rather than using the content editor provided with this site. I tell them that they can't use FTP, and if they MUST use thier own files they can send them to me so I can put them onto the server. Usually these people get tired of having to filter everything through me and go away or break down and learn how to use the content editor, so the can update their pages themselves.

The ones that are really annoying, though, use the editor but do all sorts of horrible things in it. For example, this one person insists on making the text on his page use the 'Trebuchet MS' font, and then making the text all manner of different sizes and colors:

First there's a bunch of text in this font...

Then he switches over to red text, extra large

And then goes to some purple text.

Actually, when you look at the HTML code, it's even worse. He's changing font sizes and colors several times in the middle of sentences, but since he doesn't put any text into these tags, they never show up on the browser screen.

What's wrong with this, you say? Well, for one, not everybody has Trebuchet MS font. Then, by making everything huge, he makes it difficult for people who are browsing the site and have their font settings set to make the text larger--in other words, instead of showing up at the size he wants they show up the size of Godzilla. If he doesn't like the size of the text on the site, he should set his browser to show it larger, or possibly talk to the webmaster (ie, me) about setting the style sheet so the fonts for the whole site are larger. Finally, switching colors so often is just bad for the eyes. I never subscribed to Wired magazine for that very reason: they valued looking cool over readability, and reading their magazine literally gave me a headache, what with all the cool font changes and iridescent colors they used.

Web pages are about information. Web designers spend a lot of time learning human psychology, and how people react to different stimuli. When a web page is designed to look plain, it's done so for a reason: to make it more readable.

I wish some people wouldn't muck with that...