First, let's pay a virtual visit to a web site that is ... of ... although it doesn't have all ... I will cover in this series of ... a group to which I ... someo
First, let's pay a virtual visit to a web site that is my definition of unfriendly, although it doesn't have all the 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 the story sounded really interesting. But when I went to the URL given by the author, the page wasn't the 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 the author must have been pining for the days before Windows made DOS computers so much easier to use as well as easier on the eyes! To add insult to injury, the writer included a sound file with absolutely no way of turning the sound off. Fortunately the file (mostly bird song) wasn't objectionable. I didn't read the page of course--after all, it wasn't the promised story. Since I couldn't even find a link that looked remotely as though it might lead to the story, I went somewhere else.
The first thing I want to deal with that makes a web site unfriendly is page width.
Preferably design your web site to be viewable on a 12-13" monitor. (Yes, there ARE still some of these around!) A good yardstick is to keep it within the default width of your browser. I find it mildly irritating when I'm forced to pull my browser out to the full width of my monitor.
However, having to scroll past the width of the screen is downright irritating--a bit like trying to read a comic or newspaper and having someone else continually covering up the right-hand side of the page. If a site stretches past my 15" (640 x 480) monitor I have to be very keen on its content to stay--and I probably don't go back to it. Page lengths are not quite so important and will vary depending on content, but it's not a good idea to make them too long.
Statistics from my own web site indicate that just over 20% of people are still using 640 x 480 monitors. So, if you design your site only for the majority of visitors, you're effectively blocking out more than a fifth of Web surfers-- or at least making it difficult for them to appreciate your site fully.