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TextStyle: The Golden Rule
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18 Apr 2014 - 22:16 EDT
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Weaving style into the fabric of the Web
Home » About » The Golden Rule

TextStyle’s Philosophy & Golden Rule
Content and Audiences First

Why "TextStyle"?
When TextStyle opened shop in 1997, a few basic notions were clear in the mind of its founder, Maurice Michaud.

  1. The World Wide Web represents the most significant evolution in the publishing world since the advent of desktop publishing in the 1980s.
  2. Few "experts" at the time seemed to understand that the Web is essentially a text-based means of communication which just happens to take an electronic form.
  3. In those heady days of the "dot-com" boom, many perceived the Web’s audiences as passive and captive — proverbial "fish in a barrel."

Those reflections are what inspired TextStyle’s Golden Rule: HOW you present your website is mark of quality, but WHAT you present is a far greater mark of quality.

For indeed, the telltale signs of perceptual problems were everywhere, especially of the last two points mentioned above. Many of the websites out there seemed more concerned about showcasing the webmaster’s virtuosity or recounting the marketing department’s dry version of the "company line."

As a result, the Web was a jumble of counter-intuitive navigational schemes, lots of pretty but bloated images, and bombastic texts that readers were unlikely to remember or take too seriously. Many of the sites back then were garish yet boring, confusing, and not particularly imaginative in terms of communication since they looked like "brochureware." By always "playing safe," they mostly satisfied the needs of the webmasters and the publishers. Content and audiences, it seemed, were a mere afterthought.

Convinced that the Web’s potential was far greater, Maurice found solace — perhaps even vindication — in the writings of the acclaimed Web usability guru, Jakob Nielsen1, and online content specialists like Amy Gahran2, as well as the provocative Cluetrain Manifesto3. As a result, clients of TextStyle have on their side a champion of taking bold, calculated risks while urging them to adopt a sophisticated view of their audiences. Fortunately, smartly taking chances, and assuming that your audiences are just as clever as you are, can be a lot of fun while being very rewarding.

That’s why TextStyle has created TextStyleM and bundled it as «The TextStyle Advantage». The HOW can bog you down and lead you to lose control of your website. But with TextStyle, you can be free of worries about the HOW and can concentrate exclusively on the WHAT. And that’s how YOU can get control of your website and not let it control you.

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Endnotes

1. Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox (http://www.useit.com/alertbox). Last verified: 8 October 2005.

2. Amy Gahran’s Contentious (http://blog.contentious.com). Last verified: 8 October 2005.

3. Cluetrain Manifesto (http://cluetrain.com). Last verified: 8 October 2005.

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