danbricklin.com/log

Starting January 18, 2000
More bold reactions, Reactions to using bold, I met with Dan Gillmor, How long does it take to make a web site, Martin Luther King Day paper
18-22Jan00
2000_01_18.htm
Saturday, January 22, 2000
More bold reactions
I've added more comments to my "Reactions to Using Bold" page. I got permission from Stan Krute to quote some of his comments about using bold for emphasis and skimming. I also received a response from Jakob Nielsen. For those of you who do not know who he is, Jakob is a usability guru who maintains a great web site called useit.com and publishes a bi-weekly essay called Alertbox. Well worth reading. Jakob's writings have had a major effect on many web site creators, and even on tool creators like those of us at Trellix Corporation. Dave Winer, and others through his discussion group, also had things to say.

Friday, January 21, 2000
Reactions to using bold
In the item below about Dan Gillmor, I discussed using bold text to aid skimming. There have been a variety of reactions to that piece which I put on a "Reactions to Using Bold" page. As I get more reactions, I'll add them there and mention it here in the main log.

Thursday, January 20, 2000
I met with Dan Gillmor
San Jose Mercury columnist Dan Gillmor was in New England earlier this week covering the New Hampshire primary. We managed to get together for a little while to talk. Usually we run into each other at conferences or trade shows and usually on the West Coast, so this was a treat for me.

Dan smiling in a sweater
Dan dressed for cold weather
We talked about web logs, both the journal type, like his eJournal and this one, and the "blog" kind that mainly point to other articles. We discussed how great it would be if other types of reporters would keep a web journal like he does, showing us pictures from the road, letting us peek into the lives they peek into. We talked about web authoring. We talked about personal web sites becoming more common. I showed him some of my examples of personal web sites covering events like weddings and how I use Trellix Web on my laptop to quickly crop and size pictures. Unfortunately, we didn't have an Internet connection so I couldn't show him some of the examples of personal web sites I like, such as Don Rose's diary of life with his child with leukemia, and Don Bulens' sometimes-weekly log for his family and friends on his web site. (Now you can follow the links here, Dan :) -- smile!.)

I did write one note to myself: "Do piece on how I write - Bold to skim." Here's what happened: When going over a printout I brought of one of my essays, Dan said "I need to use bold more." We got to talking, and I realized that I use lots of techniques inspired by my "Good Documents" web site to help people reading this log get what they want quickly, but don't always point them out. The most common one is that I bold topic phrases so you can just read them and get the major ideas I'm trying to say. I know that not all of you have the time to read all of the words I work so hard to craft, therefore I make it so that if you read at least the bold words, those that your eye would stop on naturally when skimming, you'll get the ideas. It only takes a few extra seconds while proofreading to add the bold, but I think it helps a lot (though I assume people won't admit to me that they skim and don't read every word). It takes self control to keep the amount of bolding to a minimum -- after all, isn't everything an important idea? -- and sometimes I slip.

I also try to have interesting pictures with captions. One of these days I'll try to be more explicit and list more ideas. Comments would be appreciated.

Tuesday, January 18, 2000
How long does it take to make a web site?
One of the questions people considering a web site have is "How long does it take to make a web site?" Just like "How long does it take to make a dinner?" the answer is "It depends". I've posted a page where I try to tackle the answer for a variety of types of personal web sites based on my experience and the experience of others here at Trellix Corporation.


I assume you are using an authoring tool that takes care of all the mechanics of creating and posting the web site (e.g., using Trellix Web). Instead, I address the issues of content and the actual time it takes for a site with your content, not just "Hello World!". I find that these issues, as applied to personal communication rather than eyeball-seeking commercial sites, are rarely highlighted in the "How to build a web site" instructions. My item January 12 about researching web postings was part of the coverage here.

I think one of the important pieces of information is that, with the right tools, a separate web site can be created quickly and effectively for many types of personal communication. There are cases, though, where people start large projects (e.g., a journal of a multi-day event) that take much longer than expected so they trail off at the end. You need to understand the issue of the time it takes to organize and craft what you want to say: A well narrated site with carefully chosen and cropped pictures takes extra time but the process can be very fulfilling.

Comments are appreciated.

Martin Luther King Day paper
One of the local high schools has a competition each year for all 10th graders where they have to write a paper describing a person who best illustrates the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The winner this year was the daughter of two of my friends. I post the paper here in honor of his birthday. Read it here. (This is a day late due to an email snafu.)

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