Fat Steve's Blatherings

Saturday, May 14, 2005

The Internet Age is not really here yet.

      As an example, view this page using Internet Explorer, in a separate window from the one you're reading this in.  Hmmm, print's kind of tiny, no?

      Then click View, text size, largest.  Well isn't that special -- the print size didn't change.  It doesn't matter which of the text sizes you click, the print size stays the same.

      Now click Tools, Internet Options, Accessibility (and why is it there, rather than under View?), and check the box that says "Ignore font sizes specified on web pages."  Stop a moment to contemplate the fact that there is an option on your browser to allow other people to specify the font size, rather than you, the user.  Ask yourself what anyone could have been thinking when they did this.  Ask yourself why the default option is to let others control your viewing experience.

      Now, view that WCBS page again, with the text size set for 'Largest.'  Hey, you can't read the story!  The stuff on the left side has extended to cover most of it!  This means the web-page designer never bothered to find out anything about how anyone else uses the web.  Nor did the designer check with anyone who doesn't have young eyes.  The designer doesn't mind tiny print, so we shouldn't.

      Oh, yes, by the way, did you notice that if you leave the WCBS page open, it will periodically take control and switch your browser there, without you doing anything?  Does this make you more or less likely to view WCBS's site again?

      My take on all this is that for most people, the web is form of geek masturbation.  Web pages are designed so that the designers' egos can be expressed.  Alas, there's no way to take said egos out and shoot them.  But such nonsense goes far to explaining the "dot-com bubble."  As a means of commerce, this kind of thing just isn't serious.



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