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WWW Design Standards

File Naming Conventions

Relative versus Absolute Addressing

Character and Font Conventions

Name Symbol Code
Left single quote ‘
Right single quote ’
Left double quote “
Right double quote ”
En dash –
Em dash —
Lowercase e with accent grave è è
Lowercase e with accent acute é é
Lowercase o with umlaut ö ö
Lowercase n with tilde ñ ñ
Lowercase a-e ligature æ æ
  • Headings
  • Non-breaking Spaces
  • Superscripts


A substantial number of users of the web browse with text-only browsers, such as Lynx. Also, graphics can take a significant amount of time to load, so they should be kept to a minimum. Graphics may be slick and have a high cool-factor, but they rarely convey as much information as text can. Graphics should augment the text, not overwhelm it.

Graphic images should never be so large that they cannot fit within a Netscape window running in 640x480 mode (Windows) with all the button options on. This means that graphics should not be more than 270 pixels high and approximately 600 pixels wide. Large images should be stored as JPEGs, since they compress greater than GIFs (due to their lossy compression—a 94% quality is suggested) and because they can store 24-bit data, while GIFs can only store 8-bit data. Also, large images should not be shown on a page without being preceded by a significantly small thumbnail. A typical thumbnail area should be 4800 square pixels (80x60).

Cross-Browser Issues

Advanced HTML features should be used sparingly for the sake of users who do not have the latest web browsing tools, or are using a text-only browser.

“Anyone who slaps a ‘this page is best viewed with Browser X’ label on a Web page appears to be yearning for the bad old days, before the Web, when you had very little chance of reading a document written on another computer, another word processor, or another network.” [Tim Berners-Lee in Technology Review, July 1996]
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