More About the Swanson Web Pages

Owl Nesting at Rovers Roost RV Park, Casa Grande, Arizona

Introduction -- We started to work on web pages in earnest in the mid-1990's. A LOT has happened since then. The most recent issue with web page design has been the massive increase in phone (and other small-screen device) web surfing. This page has some randomly-scattered links that help describe our web environment. All of these tools and ideas have influenced our thinking. (Note that this page currently uses the Vanilla framework, that allows easier reading on computer screens, phones, and tablets.


[noframes] We really don't like to use frames. Some people hate them, others merely suggest that you don't use them, and Jakob Nielsen dislikes them, too.


Rather than hit our heads on frame design, we are now using more dynamic page interaction using Javascript and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). With more viewers now using phones and other small screens, we have tried various CSS systems. Right now, the Vanilla product shows great promise. We have used Skeleton in the past. Some pages are using a dynamic resizing feature that works well on both phones and computer screens. See my webpage on the 'Power of Em' layout.

Graphics and Images

We process graphics for this site using:

On Linux (Ubuntu) [we no longer use Windows 7 and 8, but these products are available on those systems]: ImageMagick, RawTherapee (for RAW format photos from our cameras), and [GIMP]GIMP. (We used to use a Mac, as well as Windows machines. No more. Oh yes, some web work is done on an Android phone. The Snapseed and ResizeMyPics apps do pretty well.)

All highly recommended!


We have always wanted our pages to load quickly and have a minimum of flashy features. When these words were first added to this page in 2015, there were a number of massive web pages (mostly from commercial sites) that were impossible to use on mobile devices (phones). That has not changed as of this writing in 2019. We are trying to stay away from that, and it seems that our design thoughts have now gone full circle from the days of poor bandwidth (and therefore simple web pages) to the existing situation of small screens and poor bandwidth (and therefore simple web pages!)

For more web page design and improvement ideas, look at Jakob Nielsen. You can learn a lot about HTML and CSS at We found a useful bit of color-related information with a nice colorwheel online.

Web Design Awards

[NO] Web Design Awards Won by These Pages (That's Fine With Us)!


Our current "experiments" are using software that has become a de-facto standard: Javascript and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). For instance, we have used them for our Javascript-created page listing of JWB troopship cards from the First World War. We have also used Javascript for web-based slide-shows. These are being phased out, in favor of static photo pages, whose creation is enabled with JBake. Of course, use of CSS and Javascript is used very successfully by many "modern" web systems such as Flickr, Google GMail, and Google Maps. (These Google systems have become a great deal more sophisticated in recent years, but like every tool, using them may not solve all your problems, and their use may introduce more problems than you wanted to have. Just sayin'.)

In addition, when we have to work on the server side, we use PHP.


We used to not play favorites as to browsers, but we are currently using Brave! As part of the open source world it's of course free to use!

The problem is that portable devices (phones) use a variety of browsers, and the desktop has yet to really settle down to a particular brand. We try our pages with a few different browsers (particularly on the phone) to see how they look. Let's hope these pages look good to you!

For testing of web pages on Chromium, we use the Window Resizer Extension to Chrome. It really helps to preview the effects of window size on a web page.

NOTE that these pages are also designed so you can view them with LYNX (or without images activated)! LYNX is also available for DOS (really!)

Copyright © 2015-2019 Robert Swanson

Page Layout Design Made Possible by: Vanilla.

Updated September 20, 2019

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