Without a doubt, these pages are not amongst the greatest design achievements in the history of mankind. At least, if you think that "design" includes graphical things. You might have guessed that I have thought of some very good reasons why these pages are designed in the way you see them now, and why this is the "real thing to do" ;-)
I am a big fan of "content over presentation". These pages should contain information - not more, and not less. My personal experience is that if you visit a website frequently, any kind of graphical "gimmicks" are inevidently leading to frustration.
Because of this, these pages are pure information. A little bit of structuring via tables, lists and of course some headings - that's it, basically. A few links are also placed at strategically important places. It seems to be sensible to use the advantages of hypertext if you write HTML ;-)
English is not my first language. Because of this, there are without a doubt numerous fatal grammatical and spelling mistakes hidden somewhere on this website. I would like to improve my English further (I tried it by reading english newsgroups - I don't know how many times I have read "definately"...), so if you find any mistakes, please give me some feedback.
Graphics can be used to prepare content in an easy-to-understand way. They can lead to a better overview, and they can be used to ease navigation.
So why are there no graphics on these pages? This has many reasons. First of all, none of my pages seem to be predestined to get better by adding some graphics. If we leave the "make it prettier" aspect aside, only a graphical navigation support might be useful. However, the webpages are not exactly "heavily linked", so that the lost-in-hyperspace symptom is not really a problem.
Graphics can also be used as an advertising measure, to animate potential customers to explore the website. Well - these pages are not intended to advertise anything, so nobody needs to be animated to explore.
For me, HTML (and the Internet of course) gives me the possibility to provide hypertextual information for a large user community. Because of that, the used HTML features are concentrated on the essentials, to do a structural markup of text.
The essence of this is: no gimmicks, no Java, no Java/ECMAScript. Pure HTML as God (or CERN ;-)) intended.
Some might argue that my pages discourage potentially interested people.
This might be correct for the "casual surfer", who - more or less by accident - visits this website. However, chances are that the content here is of no use for those people anyway, so nothing is lost.
The people who are really interested are targetted in a more direct way anyway, like publishing the relevant links in the usual places. This makes sure that the visitor is really interested in the content of this website - which also leads back to the "content over presentation" argument.
In conclusion, it is really the case that visitors who have no primary interest in the content of this website are at least not encouraged to explore further, because the probability that they find something useful is nearly zero. That saves time for all of us.
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