The Internet began decades ago, but the World Wide Web appeared in 1995, and whereas the Internet previously was text and line drawings, now it was photographs, art work, animations, music, and more.
The Hartman Web Site was one of the few personal creations to appear in 1995, and although it was not much to look at by current standards, it began winning awards almost immediately. Why it did so was never fully explained by the award-givers, but we think - then, as now - that there are a few essential ingredients that make up "an award-winning web site". They are:
There is no substitute for Content - the actual worthwhile stuff that visitors come to see. In the case of this web site, we filled it with Essays on a variety of topics, which mainly fell into two categories: Comments on Our Culture, and History. In every case, the target was to compose the essentials of a subject into a single page or a bit more, so that the "Point" could me made in quick order. Visitors apppreciated the pithy essays that finished an argument soon after it was started.
Eye appeal is the next most important thing in a successful web site, and it has a couple of aspects. First, a site should appeal to all visitors regardless of the Browser being used or the resolution of the monitor that they are seeing the site on. Here, we design for a resolution of 800/600, but then we center everything so that those with a resolution of 640/480 or 1200/900 (with less or more margin) get text and images in the middle. Then we test the appearance on four browsers: the old Netscape (4.7), the current Netscape, the current Firefox, and the current Explorer. The web site must look good on all four.
Second, we put the menu link strips on the Left margin because the Web favors the left side, spilling all excess to the right part of the screen. Thus, on this site, links in the form of a menu are always on-screen - you don't have to pan right to find them.
Third, we use a variety of backgrounds and visual tricks to avoid the site being a monotone collection of pages. Subjects have common themes in color and text, but as subjects vary, so do the visuals.
We use graphics which load quickly so there is no long wait for the page to fill out (even with phone modems), avoid all advertising and pop-up screens, employ readily understandable menus, and attempt to make everything on the site easy to find with regular cross-linking, a linked site-map, and a linked Table of Contents. No hassles!
The Content is constantly being revised, or added to, but so is the "Front Door" of this website. On a weekly basis, we change the Opening Screen or the Home Page or both. Whenever you visit this site, it is not exactly what it was a week ago.
Follow these rules and your site will gain visitors and maybe even win awards. We no longer display "award graphics" - some of them are no longer given - and, besides, there are now millions more web sites than existed in 1995. Which may explain why we have not gotten an award to add to the collection in a couple of years.
Go and note that old links bring up contemporary pages.