The design of systegral.com

In the Beginning

Systegral.com appeared on the web in 2003. In line with how many web sites were designed at the time, an application program was employed to create and manage this web site. Elements of good practice existed in that the original design made use of CSS for text presentation, however, the structure of the html code (as per the application program) used tables for presentation positioning.

It was this later aspect that was at issue. Designing with table based layout was never a desired choice, but rather a rapid starting point. As soon as was practical the goal was to redesign the site to W3C web standards and get away from using table based layouts.

W3C Web Standards

Web standards are anything but new. In fact the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has been around since 1994.

The missing piece of the puzzle was that virtually no browsers were supporting the standards initially, but rather using their own proprietary commands. Hence the mess of not being able to view some sites on certain browsers, or having to use a particular browser, or as a designer, having to write duplicate code and employ browser sniffing.

To all of our benefit, many highly respected individuals worked tirelessly to clean up this mess. Most browsers have now managed to implement web standards fairly well. Some still have a few quirks, but generally they are all getting the idea that they should display the web page as designed (to the standards) and not display their own interpretation of the page. Isn't that a novel concept!

Modern markup code employs XHTML code for structural layout (containing the web page content), and then uses CSS for the presentation. HTML5 and other standards are continuing and enhancing the embrace of good web site design through standards.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) develops interoperable technologies (specifications, guidelines, software, and tools) to lead the Web to its full potential. The W3C is a forum for information, commerce, communication, and collective understanding.

Founded in 1998, the Web Standards Project (WaSP) is a grassroots coalition fighting for standards that ensure simple, affordable access to web technologies for all. As of 2013, the project had reached a degree of success whereby the torch was being passed over to the tens of thousands of developers to continue the good work.

Web Content Accessibility

For more detailed information on the benefits, please see the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI).

This web site is designed and authored to WCAG 2.0 Accessibility Guidelines, Level AA as published by the W3C. Following these guidelines will make content accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity and combinations of these. Following these guidelines will also often make your Web content more usable to users in general.

If you are encountering problems with this site, please send an e–mail with the details so that the issue may be corrected.

The Move to W3C Standards

The major redesign of the website involved hand–coding to W3C XHTML standards for content, and CSS for presentation layout. This resulted in page size reductions typically in the order of 50%. Such savings translate into significant host storage savings, bandwidth savings, and most notably, pages will load faster in a browser.

Flash. Its day is done. It's dead. Better things exist. Time to move on. Enough said.

In 2015, further changes have moved to using HTML5.1 as the basis of design, in keeping with the development of W3C web standards, while maintaining the best practices of W3C XHTML standards.

Mobile Browsers

Desktop browsers had benefitted from their hosts increasing screen sizes and faster internet speeds, thereby allowing increased complexity and richness in web site design. Mobile devices, with their generally smaller screen sizes and slower internet speeds introduced new challenges for web design. In some cases, web pages became unreadable or simply too slow to load.

Working with these challenges will be an ongoing aspect of web design changes into the future. The goal is to have a web site that functions effectively regardless of the device or browser being used, without bringing the bad habit of 'browser sniffing' back from the dead.

Security

Ever since the web has come into existence security has been discussed. Initially it had its focus on finacial web sites while little to no application was applied to more general web sites. With the ever increasing hacks that occur, at times using non–secure web hosts as a tool, a focus is happening on web hosts in general. We all know when we're on a secure connection due to the visible lock icon that appears. Typically the user has to have actively check to see if they're on a secure link. At the beginning of 2016, with further changes at the beginning of 2017, requirements are being put on web hosts in respect of indicating to the browser when we've connected in a non–secure fashion. A more active approach is in play whereby we'll be notified if we're not connected on a secure link.

The host of this web site has been set–up to ensure your connection is always over a secure link.

Other Design Elements

Javascript is used in portions of this site. The design attempts to fail gracefully where javascript is not operationally available on your user agent.

Cookies are used for enhancing your browsing experience, but are not essential for the functionality of this site.

Your Experience

Comments about this web site should be sent to the web designer via e–mail.

The Test Results

This web site is valid HTML5.

This web site is valid CSS level 3.

This web site is designed and authored to Web Content Accessibility guidelines.

This web site passes the W3C Internationalization Checker.

This web site approaches maximum mobile validation via the W3C mobileOK Checker, taking into consideration the difficulties of defining thresholds for this market.

The Tool Shed

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