[Scribus] Another book done with Scribus...

Craig Ringer craig
Fri Oct 21 22:10:32 CEST 2005

On Fri, Oct 21, 2005 at 09:47:46PM +0200, Christoph Sch?fer wrote:
> Unfortunately, I recognise a tendency in the world of page layout 
> towards merging the functions of graphics artist and typesetter/layout 
> man. As a result, the world is flooded with products which are almost 
> unreadable or at least do no favour to the reader (fonts too small, sans 
> serif fonts for long texts, wrong quotation marks, bad spacing etc.). 

I find that this is most noticeable on the web, where a graphics
designer is plonked down with an authoring package and told to "add some
content to the site". Not only are they generally not aware of the
differences between print and online media, they're often also unaware
that there's more to design than making it look pretty.

It seems that many of these folks have little or no undersanding
critical differences between web and print / fixed-format media, eg:

  - Low resolution (and resulting issues like problems with 8pt fonts
    for people with poor eyesight);
  - Varying display devices and target media (printer, browser on 14"
    72dpi screen, browser on 14" 140dpi screen, browser on 24" 96dpi
    screen, PDA, etc);
  - Users want to influence/control presentation;
  - Users sometimes NEED to control presentation, eg users with poor
    eyesight or displays at extremely high/low size/resolution;
  - Bandwidth and load times as a design consideration;
  - Scrolling vs page flipping;
  - ... and so on.

Worse, they're given no background to help them understand how choices
like using 'pt' vs 'px' vs 'em' vs 'mm' measurements affect the above.
I really love having to bump up the text size of most sites by three or
four steps to make their microscopic 7pt fonts readable, honest! These
people need to be hit with the "low resolution / small text" spiked
cluebat, preferably by being made to read their own work.

Similarly, they don't generally get taught enough to understand why
"page flipping" JavaScript in fixed-sized frames usually merits being
tied to a pole and left for the crows ;-)

To add to the technical lack of understanding, the people given these
tasks are often also largely uneducated in print typesetting. They know
/design/, but not necessarily how their design affects the readability
and user-friendliness of their content.

Net result: horrific train wrecks of websites littering the web,
generally getting worse the more somebody's paid for them. *sob*.
"But they look good in MSIE on my 17" 96dpi LCD, at least if I
squint hard and don't have to actually read the body text..."

In fairness, I'm largely blowing hot air, since I've only recently
started to do any web work at all after a long period of desperate
avoidance. Consequently, I'm not in a strong position to say "... and
it's not like getting it done right is that hard." I fled the area
because doing it "right" was nigh impossible, and it's remained so until
fairly recently. I'm willing to work on websites again solely because I
can now work as if MSIE < 6 and the non-Gecko Netscape versions never
existed. Heck, MSIE 7 looks like it'll even have CSS 2 that mostly
works! Even now, though, Windows still has the idiotic assumption that
1pt is a fixed size in pixels, irrespective of display DPI...

Meh. My point: I agree, it's scary how many people are producing
"professional" work with no apparent understanding of typography. Since
many of these people are graphics design professionals, it makes me
wonder what the heck graphics course planners are thinking to leave out
basic typography...

Craig Ringer

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