Re: Em space, user fears of HTML

Dave_Raggett (
Wed, 16 Jun 93 11:19:32 BST

I too am concerned about potential barriers to the success of the WWW.

> These people are not exactly grabbing pitons and
> running out to look for a learning curve to scale, and there is a
> general perception that hypertext is hard, it's much easier just to
> dump an unformatted file into Gopher and it's almost as good. I
> happen not to agree with this, and am devoting a certain amount of
> time and effort to weaning them from this attitude. But say SGML in
> anything above a soothing whisper and they run from the room.

We are having the same experience in Hewlett Packard. Users are rightly
concerned about learning new formats. My ideas for combatting this are:

a) introduce simple to use WYSIWYG editors for HTML
(should be much much easier than Microsoft Word etc.)

b) it should be trivial to include plain ASCII documents
(my browser automatically recognises different formats
based on document content and/or file extensions)

c) simple filters for converting common document formats to/from HTML
(e.g. Microsoft Word via RTF)

d) writing a good beginners guide for HTML aimed at minimising
learning problems

e) Getting out there and letting people know how good WWW is.

IMHO HTML is much simpler than most existing formats and once people
get over their fright, they will become enthusiasts.

Dave Raggett

p.s. what are the situations when people do want greater control over spacing?