W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-ig@w3.org > July to September 1999

[Fwd: web peeves]

From: David Poehlman <poehlman@clark.net>
Date: Wed, 15 Sep 1999 15:31:28 -0400
Message-ID: <37DFF40F.DF0B3E4E@clark.net>
To: WAI Interest Group <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: web peeves
Date: Wed, 15 Sep 1999 15:30:35 -0400
From: David Poehlman <poehlman@clark.net>
Organization: Hands-On Technolog(eye)s
To: Francie Gilman <fgilman@clark.net>, jefm@clark.net,Louise Calderan
<lcalderan@freewwweb.com>,poehlman <poehlman@clark.net>


MY PET PEEVES ABOUT THE WEB
By Richard Morochove, Morochove & Associates Inc.

Some say your thirtieth birthday is a milestone that marks the change
from
youth to mature adult. If so, I hope to see more evidence of a
grown-up
Internet.

By one measure the Internet originated thirty years ago. ARPANET, a
computer
network organized by the U.S. Department of Defense and the forefather
of
the Internet, started operating on Sept. 2, 1969.

During its first twenty years, the Net didn't rate more than a blip in
the
public conscience. It's only in the past decade that one of the most
popular
Internet services, the flashy World Wide Web, was created and got the
spotlight of critical attention.

I love the Web, but I often find it as frustrating as living with a
gifted
but troubled child. Here are my pet peeves, the things that annoy me
most
when using the Web.

I hate windows that pop-up unexpectedly on a Web site. The most
commonly-used windows contain banner advertisements.

I'm not opposed to banner ads in principle. Someone has to pay the
bills for
the Web site. If there's no charge or subscription fee required to
access
the site, then ad banners can bring in the revenue.

Pop-up windows are especially annoying because they overlay the page
you
want to view and obscure the information you really want. I don't even
read
the ad in a pop-up anymore. My reflex is to close the pop-up window or
click
on the main window to hide the pop-up. I try to avoid Web sites at
Tripod, a
freebie Web host that loves to use pop-ups.

Even more annoying is an exit window that starts up when you leave a
site.
An increasing number of Web sites are spawning these new windows. They
don't
seem to care if the exit window annoys you, since you're leaving
anyway.
It's seen as one last chance to sell you something.

The exit window is often triggered by JavaScript command on the Web
page.
You can usually avoid this type of pop-up by adjusting your Web
browser
configuration to disable Java scripts. Unfortunately, this may
adversely
affect the functioning of other Web pages.

I detest slow Web pages. A well-designed page should use graphics
sparingly
and keep file sizes small so they download quickly. Webmasters should
use
the ALT tag that provides a text description in place of the graphic.
That
provides useful information if the graphic doesn't download. It also
helps
those people who surf the Web with the graphics turned off, to speed
up
their experience.

Ever visit a Web site and wait for a minute or longer to download the
home
page and find nothing on it but a corporate logo or fancy graphic? You
then
need to click on the graphic to get to a page that has some real
information
and useful links.

I hate these so-called splash pages. They're useless pieces of fluff
that
stand between the Web site visitor and useful information.

My theory is that Web site designers love splash pages because they
can show
off their fancy graphic tricks. And corporate honchos who don't know
better
are wowed and think, "Isn't our home page beautiful." They should ask,
"Why
is our home page so useless?"

Another peeve is Web sites that put information in a file format that
makes
it difficult to read. I can't count the times I've been happily
clicking
along, following informative links, only to be stopped cold by one
that ends
in a PDF (Portable Document Format) file.

Unlike regular HTML files, which can be viewed by any Web browser, in
order
to read a PDF document you must download the free Adobe Acrobat Reader
from
Adobe's Web site.

When I come across a PDF file on a public Web site I see it as a clear
sign
of a lazy or ignorant Webmaster. PDF files are huge, many times larger
than
a similar document written in HTML. Therefore, they take a long time
to
download and view.

After a long and futile resistance I did install Adobe Acrobat Reader,
because so many Webmasters provide information only in PDF. And what
do I
find? In virtually all the cases I've seen, there's nothing in the PDF
document that couldn't be accomplished by using regular HTML.

Why is it so popular? It's because a Webmaster can easily convert a
document
file to PDF. But here's where the rationale for PDF falls apart. If
the
document is already in electronic form, today's word processing
programs
make it easy to convert to HTML.

This is one Web add-on that designed for the benefit of the Webmaster
and
not the Web site visitor.

Do you have any pet Web site peeves? Write me at direct@morochove.com
and
I'll discuss them in a future column.

-- 
Hands-On Technolog(eye)s
Touching The Internet:
mailto:poehlman@clark.net
Voice: 301.949.7599
ftp://ftp.clark.net/pub/poehlman
http://poehlman.clark.net
Dynamic Solutions Inc.
Best of service
for your small business
network needs!
http://www.dnsolutions.com

---sig off---
Received on Wednesday, 15 September 1999 15:31:44 UTC

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