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THE DIGITAL DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

We hold this truth to be self-evident: That every human has an equal and unalienable right to the means to create, distribute and consume information to realize their full potential for Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness – regardless of the country they live in, their gender, beliefs, racial origin, language or any impairments they may have.

“But, Captain, we’re at Warp 6 already—she’ll not take any more!” (I’m the one on the right…)T his is a website I built to experiment in a number of areas, including:

  • Creating Web-standards based content
  • Improving Web Readability
  • Use of Embedded OpenType font embedding

This is a journey of exploration for me. You’re most welcome to come along. Just remember that I’m a content-and-typography guy, not an HTML guru, and I’mgoing to make mistakes as I learn. Be gentle with me…

Depending on which version of which Web browser you’re using, you’ll need to go to different sets of pages.

Some pages work properly only in Internet Explorer 8, which is currently in beta, or in FireFox and Safari, because they’re strictly Web-standards.

Since EOT font embedding is currently implemented only in Internet Explorer, you’ll see the pages with the correct fonts only if you’re either running a different browser on Windows Vista, or if you have installed Microsoft Office 2007 or Mac Office 2008 (all three products shipped with the fonts I used). If you’re running Internet Explorer, you don’t need the fonts; the EOT font objects should automatically download for you – but only IE8 Beta will display the standards pages properly.

You can download Internet Explorer 8 from the Beta website. You may find some things don’t behave exactly as they should, because I’m working with the daily builds of Beta 2, which hasn’t yet shipped…

FULL SCREEN = FULL ATTENTION

I’ve designed all the pages on this site so they’re best viewed with your browser set to Full Screen, with the address bar etc. on Auto-Hide. Over the 5500 years since humans first learned to read, we’ve developed typography, page sizes and so on which help you keep your attention in the page, and not get distracted.

The Web’s full of distractions. Anything that moves will instantly grab your attention. So I’ll try to make these pages a haven of stillness in which you can use your full powers of attention. Full Screen helps. Toggle in and out of it in Internet Explorer or Firefox using the F11 key.

Interesting that there’s no Full Screen view in Safari. Does that say something about the span of attention with which Apple credits its users?

NO SCROLLING = BETTER READING

Once you’ve made your browser Full Screen, you’ll notice there are no scroll bars. That’s because scrolling is a horrible thing to do to people who are trying to read.

Designers and typographers have spent 550 years developing the right combination of type size, line length, interlinear spacing, margins etc. to prevent a phenomenon called doubling, or reading the same line twice. You always end up reading some lines twice when you scroll, just to find out where you are in the content.

Web-standards Readable Pages

I started out trying to create readable pages using publishing software with which I was already familiar, since I’m not an HTML/CSS expert. I got the pages all right – but the HTML the publishing tool created was bloated (about five times the size it needed to be) and full of proprietary code. The W3C’s validation tool totally freaked out. So did my colleague Chris Wilson, who recreated one of the pages using Web-standards HTML and CSS.

So I decided I couldn’t dodge that bullet any longer. I would have to learn. I bought a bunch of books and got down to study, dissecting Chris’s code until I understood it. Then I started to rebuild my non-standards pages into compliant versions. This page you’re on now is the second one I did.

I’ve recreated only one of the originals so far. I’ll do the rest over the next few days…