Design philosophy

Aiming for clarity, uniformity & accessibility

This page was last modified on 2 January 2024.

Written by hand

This website has been written by hand. All of it. At no stage have I used NightmareWeaver, BackPagePro or whatever these programs are that churn out fancy-looking webpages. Why not? Because:

  1. I wanted to learn how to create an HTML webpage for myself, when I first started out;
  2. I like to retain control over the way my website is produced;
  3. Webpages are not, in my view, supposed to be emulating the genre of TV articles or magazines;
  4. Publisher-programs don’t (or didn’t) write webpages that conform to any genuine HTML standards.

From day one, this site has been written and edited using GNU Emacs, a text-editor (among other things) that runs under Linux; when I was getting a new computer, I nearly made it run Linux because I would have been ‘lost’ without Emacs — but I found a version that ran under XP and haven’t looked back. Since 2010 I have been working in Mac OS X which is based upon Unix and has Emacs built in.

Content is king!

It is my opinion that content is king, and this site is written accordingly. This means that each page has a specific subject that is discussed and dealt with in a logical fashion. Headings are given, and hyperlinks made within existing text, to add structural framework to the document.

Stylistic factors are kept to a minimum and are intended only to work ‘behind the scenes’ to assist the reader, and to provide a uniform ‘look & feel’.

I hope that the result is a pleasing site containing readable pages.

My own work

This site is predominantly my own work. A few photos were taken by other folk, but I was at least nearby (or the subject) when they were taken; or, they were taken by my father and illustrate something I wanted to share.

As the site has evolved, naturally the input of others (mostly from emails) has influenced that growth.

It is not, however, my intention to act as a publishing-house for others’ work, and submissions to this effect — whilst often of interest to the editor personally — are unlikely to be used.

Compatibility & Accessibility

[Valid CSS icon]

[Valid XHTML 1.1 icon]

Every page on this site has been upgraded to comply with XHTML 1.1. This has enforced a great deal of ‘best practice’: deprecated tags such as FONT and BGCOLOR have been removed; tables and non-breaking spaces are not abused in attempts to achieve stylistic ends; and all non-content-related matters like hr (horizontal rule) and align="center" have been removed to the external Cascading Style Sheets — CSS Level 3 is in force.

[Valid XHTML 5 icon]

Additionally, my XHTML code now reflects HTML5 practice, leading to what is sometimes known as XHTML5 but for which no actual standards are issued (I made that logo myself!). The regulatory side of the web has all turned into a bit of a mess in recent years, and simple basic things such as standards and validation have been allowed to become nebulous and wooly.

Dark Mode on browsers is now (2023) fully supported.

[Viewable with Any Browser icon]

It is my firm intention that this site should be accessible to users with any browser, be it one of the mainstream Windows-PC-based ones, a Unix-based browser, mobile-device browser, speech-synthesizer, et cetera.

I have generally tested all pages using the following browsers:

All photos have ALT text declaring themselves as photos, giving a description and file-size; they are formed as links to themselves for ease of selecting to view in Lynx. All links are fitted with a pop-up “tool-tip” giving a brief explanation of themselves.

If you or your browser experience any accessibility / readability problems with any part of my site, please let me know so that I can fix them.