Meet Guest Author
Upallnyte, WebTV and Computer User
Hello......Dear B has forced me into writing about myself! This is something I find very hard to do, but I gave in to her insistence that I share here.
Let's see....I'm an artist who attended Columbus College of Art and Design, in Ohio, back in 1980; however, I wasn't able to finish. Later, I wanted to get back into a field where I could use my artistic abilities, so back to college I went.
I'm currently attending Columbus State Community College, and majoring in Graphic Communications. I hope to get a job in the printing industry when I graduate this Spring.
I purchased my first WebTV in May of 1997 in order to obtain information from the Internet about Hepatitis C. I had been diagnosed with this viral liver disease the previous Fall. At that time, this was almost an unknown disease, even to doctors.
My personal physician suggested that I research the Internet for information about this emerging epidemic. That was going to be kind of hard without a computer.
In February 1997, I started treatments for the Hepatitis-C with a drug called Interferon that made me very ill and fatigued to the point that I could barely walk. I was reading a science magazine, named Discover, when I saw an ad for a brand new Internet appliance called WebTV.
It claimed to be able to put the Internet on your TV without a computer. This seemed too good to be true, but right then I knew I had to have one! I thought you would be able to read things on the web only, with no interaction. When I plugged that WebTV into my television, I fell into a whole new world and still haven't climbed out yet.
I then took a class at school about the Internet, so I could better understand all this wonderful stuff I was finding. One of the requirements, in this class, was to make a 'simple' homepage; three links, an email link and an animated gif.
I worried about this class requirement for weeks. It wasn't the technical aspect that had me worried, it was talking about myself to the public. Sort of like what Dear B is making me do right now at gun-point!
Well, what I did was make a homepage with all the bells and whistles I could think of, and I was able to avoid talking altogether; it worked. In fact, I had the best homepage in the class and was the only one with music on a homepage. My instructor pointed this out when she emailed me about my 'A.'
Dear B wanted me to talk about design. Now that's a very hard thing to talk about, because it is so subjective and visual.
There is one very important design issue that I would like to point out. It can mean losing a visitor, if you do not make it as easy as possible to navigate around your homepage. Too many sites I visit, especially the new WebTV PageBuilder sites, do not have an index of links to all pages, on every page.
To have an index of links to all pages allows your visitor to skip pages that do not interest them. If you force someone to load up a page of pictures that may take forever to load, then this visitor may become irked and leave your site entirely.
Instead of just putting a 'Next' link on each page, also add text hotlinks to every page, at the bottom. Use descriptive terms, such as Photo Album, About Me, Links, and this sort of thing. Navigation should be the first thing to work out when building a site.
Editor's Note: Thanks, Upallnyte aka Tom. I know this article was hard to do, but many new WebTV users will benefit from your great tip. Upallnyte has indeed been a friend to this site owner and much of what I have learned has come from him. Not only is he internet wise, but his talent for, skill in, and knowledge about homepage building is unsurpassed. His site was listed in the latest edition of WebTV for Dummies. You can view his page at Upallnyte and you won't want to miss it! His influence and leadership are found throughout the WebTV community in newsgroups, on pages that he either created and/or helped create for others, and through his continual advice and help here at this site. Having championed the art of WebTV homepage building, he has now become a computer user too, and, yes, now helps pc users too. Indeed, he is one of the best! Don't miss knowing Upallnyte! He's willing to share. Are you willing to learn?
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