5 Ways To Annoy Your Audience

By the kind folks over at ESwat:

  1. Unnecessary use of splash pages
  2. Forcing a browser window to resize
  3. Single-digit sized fonts and the pixel perfect layout
  4. Using icons that make no sense
  5. Preventing certain browsers from accessing your content

Nothing really new right? Splash screens. When last have I seen a splash screen? I remember in the mid to late 90’s, how everyone who was anyone had a fancy lil' splash screen running at index.htm and a link: skip, pointing the the main site at enter.html or main.html or even index2.html. Lol, those were the good old days. Now let’s leave them dead and buried people. Those were for the days when developers were first flexing their Flash muscles. Right now, it’s more important to get visitors on the site and keep them there with what they came for.

Resizing, hmph. Using Firefox for so long has kind of gotten me immune to this, because by default Firefox does not allow JavaScript to resize it’s windows. I just thought, for the heck of it, that I’d re-enable this feature and see who still resizes windows. All I have to say is wow. First off, anyone who knows about the benefits of tabbed web browsing has set up Firefox to load “new windows” in new tabs. With resizing, this is just chaotic. When the window resizes, all the other tabs resize. Sure resizing may have had it’s uses, but it is really annoying having to set my browser window back, just because someone decided it would look better a different way.

Not all eyes are created equal. But I do understand web designer’s reason for doing this. Sometimes, especially with Table Layouts, you just need stuff to be a certain size. If fonts start getting too large then your columns and rows get all screwed up and stuff start flying all over the place. How do we solve this? Hard code pixel widths into your HTML and CSS files for font sizes. Hey, I say I understand their reason, I never said it was a good one. The problem with this tactic is that it looks fine on 800×600 pixel screen, as they usually do. But what happens to the Tech Guy with the 24" flat panel? It’s bad enough that the site is only 800 pixels wide on his huge screen, but now he can’t even resize your fonts to fit his resolution a lil' bit better. As a web designer, do you really want to alienate people because they have different equipment from you? I think not.

Icons. What can I say? Your icons better be standard or damn well be self explanatory. Users are not going to sit and try to deduce what they think you might have meant by a fuzzy lil' flower.

And lastly, browser compatibility. This is a whole other post on its own. However, let me give you an example. I came across a website which look completely butchered when I viewed it in Internet Explorer. The only reason I even tried is because of what the author stated at the bottom of the site. He said that all his code is XHTML standard and works fine in Firefox. That was quite true. He also said that he is purposefully making no attempt to make the code look even reasonably well in Internet Explorer. He urges his Internet Explorer readers to complain to Microsoft and have them “fix” their browser. Now I’m just about as anti-IE as the next guy, however do you really think that any Internet Explorer users are going to take him up on his offer? Or even go through the trouble of switch browsers for him? Again, I think not. Everyone who knows the benefits of Firefox is already using it. The only reason someone uses IE is because that’s what’s available or they don’t know any better or, for some reason, they prefer it. What ever the reason, as a web developer, you need to understand that IE still rules the market, and a rather large chunk of your traffic is going to be from IE users. Try not to piss them off if you have any interest in your traffic.