IS YOUR WEB SITE UNFRIENDLY? Part 1 of 9Written by Laraine Anne Barker
First, let's pay a virtual visit to a web site that is my definition of unfriendly, although it doesn't have all faults I will cover in this series of articles.
On a group to which I subscribe, someone posted an invitation to check out a free story. He even included some glowing reviews to whet our appetites. And story sounded really interesting. But when I went to URL given by author, page wasn't story I expected. Apart from a load of Tripod pop-up ads that I thought would never stop coming, a Java splash page loaded in. That was followed by a most unexpected page--bright green print on a black background. I think author must have been pining for days before Windows made DOS computers so much easier to use as well as easier on eyes! To add insult to injury, writer included a sound file with absolutely no way of turning sound off. Fortunately file (mostly bird song) wasn't objectionable. I didn't read page of course--after all, it wasn't promised story. Since I couldn't even find a link that looked remotely as though it might lead to story, I went somewhere else.
The first thing I want to deal with that makes a web site unfriendly is page width.
Fix My Website: Practical GraphicsWritten by Stefene Russell
Despite my lousy eyesight, I'm a hopelessly visual person. When I dink around with site I co-edit with my friend Mary, I scan large stacks of photos and pictures from old pamphlets, and use them liberally. I admit it: I'm a graphics abuser, though sometimes I can't help myself.
This week, I stumbled on two separate articles (one online, one in print) that reminded me lots of people turn off graphics when they surf. I was humbled, and thought about going home to boot some of those images off our site (I'll get back to you on that one). The point is this: if you're aiming to get your site in front of as many eyes as possible, you need to build your site as if everyone on planet was still pulling up pages with a pokey 24k modem-or a Palm Pilot, for that matter.
*If they can't see it-tell them what it is. You've probably run your mouse over an image (perhaps you could see it, perhaps it did not load) to see a yellow window pop up, with a descriptive phrase inside, e.g., "Stuffed Quetl Bird, circa 1917." If they can't see pictures, tell them what's there. You can do this by adding a scrap of code into your image tag: alt="Stuffed Quetl Bird, circa 1917"
and insert it so: If you don't like to mess with HTML code, go to help files for your particular HTML editor and see how to insert this coding. *Text Links. Those who cannot see your links cannot navigate your pages (or at very least, they'll have a heck of a time). Search engines won't be able to detect a title or a phrase if it's inside a GIF - after all, it's not a word, it's a picture of a word. You don't have to do away with your cool buttons entirely, but be sure to add text links at bottom of page. This is usually a good idea anyway, images or no; orienting your user at every turn assures that they won't get lost.