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Cranky about website usability

I’ve just had my semi-annual argument with the author of Colorado Swimming’s website. I primarily use Opera and Netscape on Solaris, and Opera on Windows, and this website is barely useable even with Internet Explorer. I’ve got two separate issues with it – one is the navigation, which gets less intuitive everytime it’s redesigned, and the other is the extensive use of JavaScript, which makes the site a big hairy mess in anything besides IE, and isn’t too reliable in IE either. A summary of the author’s responses to my various comments:

* Upgrade your browser
* Only 1% of users have Netscape, and I’m not designing for 1% (apparently no one uses an OS other than Windows, either)
* The site validates with W3C (really?)
* The information you’re looking for is there, you just didn’t find it (and no, there’s nothing wrong with the navigation?)

Katja

2 Comments

  1. Michael Heraghty

    Universal design (trying to please all of the browsers, all of the time) is impossible. However, the principle is to “downgrade gracefully” — i.e. while not everyone will be able to see the artistic brilliance of your site, no-one should have a bad experience either.

    The Colorado Swimming website has some other usability problems, by the way. For example, the use of pull-down menus.

    See what usability guru Carolyn Snyder has to say about those: http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/library/us-tricks/?dwzone=usability

    Reply
  2. Katja

    Great reference – thanks! It’s easy to get so caught up in standards that you forget how very basic some of these issues are (like “don’t open new windows”).

    Reply

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