HTML and CSS Reference
In-Depth Information
A common variant of this is requiring a particular screen sizeā€”for instance, "This page is best viewed with a
screen resolution of 1024 x 768. To change your monitor/display resolution, go to. . . ." Well-designed web
pages do not require any particular screen size or browser.
Smell: Pages Require Dangerous or Nonstandard Technologies
Many sites require cookies, JavaScript, Flash, PDF, Java, or other non-HTML technologies. Although all of these
have their place, they are vastly overused on the Web. They are not nearly as interoperable or reliable in the
wild as most web designers think. They are all the subject of frequent security notices telling users to turn them
off in one browser or another to avoid the crack of the week. They are often unsupported by Google and most
other search engine robots. Consequently, you should strive to make sure that most pages on your site function
properly even if these technologies are unavailable.
Fortunately, the code smells here are really obvious and really easy to detect. Anytime you see a notice such as
this, you have a problem:
Cookies Required
Sorry, you must accept cookies to access this site.
In order to proceed on this site, you must enable cookies
on your Internet browser. We use cookies to tailor
our website to your needs, to deliver a better, more
personalized service, and to remember certain choices
you've made so you don't have to re-enter them.
Not only is this annoying to users, but these sites are routinely locked out of Google and get hideous search
engine placement.
Embarrassingly, this next example actually comes from a page that's talking about cleaning up HTML:
Notice: There is a Table of Contents, but it is dynamically
generated. Please enable JavaScript to see it.
The right way to do dynamic content is to use server-side templating, but still sending static HTML to the client.
One site I found managed to hit almost all of these:
This site uses JavaScript, Cookies, Flash, Pop-up windows,
and is designed for use with the latest versions
of Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator (NOT Netscape
6), and Opera.
If only they had asked for a specific screen size, they would have hit the superfecta.
This site also added a new one. I had forgotten about pop-ups. Given the rampant abuse of pop-ups and the
consequent wide deployment of pop-up blockers, no legitimate site should rely on them.
Of course, some things you can only do with JavaScript or other non-HTML technologies. I don't intend to tell
you not to design the next Google Maps or YouTube, if that is indeed what you're trying to do. Just try to keep
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