The best way to get started using HTML is to copy code from existing web pages. Find the "view source" option on your web browser and use this to examine the HTML code on other people's pages. You should also print a copy of the NSCA's short guide to HTML for basic explanations of HTML commands. It also helps to have a list of escape sequences for representing special characters.

Effective web pages can be created with only very simple HTML commands, if you add a small number of pictures and a small amount of color. Pages including only black and white text look somewhat boring. On the other hand, irrelevant or overly elaborate graphics tends to distract the reader. Text is difficult to read against a strongly patterned or deeply color background. Remember that some readers may have low resolution display screen and/or may have slow connections to the internet.

A nice compromise is to make restrained use of the standard set of web icons. Ask your local wizard how to access them. Give your windows a white background rather than the default gray. Or perhaps a lightly tinted background or one with a very subtle texture. But keep it unobtrusive.

If you can find someone with a scanner or digital camera, include a digitized picture of yourself and/or your project. Save the image in JPEG or GIF format and use xv to edit it. When creating images that convey content, keep them simple. Moving/blinking GIFs are extremely distracting: use them sparingly.

If you need more information, the books by Savola and Wilson are well-written guides to the World Wide Web and HTML programming. The Wilson book concentrates on how to design a good user interface. The Savola book concentrates on programming and technical details, and includes a CD of useful software. The Horton book discusses how to create clear, informative graphics. (It's not specific to HTML.) Finally, see Ian Graham's HTML manual

HTML provides essentially no support for equations. If your document requires them, we recommend writing the document in latex and using Latex2html to translate it.

Remember that a reader may have travelled to your page from a remote site (perhaps even another continent) and via some obscure link that you may not even know about. Therefore, every web page should include the following:

If you include your phone number on your home page, remember to give the full phone number, not just a local 4-digit extension. Similarly, quote your email address in full.


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