A Matter Of Style

No Two Web Pages Are Alike.

No Two Web Pager Are Alike


But if you've done any browsing in the web lately, you'll be certain to agree - some web pages are just ANNOYING !

If we make annoying web pages, people won't want to return. Why make a web page that no one wants to come back to? If the goal of the internet is to reach thousands of people, then why would one want to run thousands of people off? Actually, webmasters don't TRY to run people off, they simply don't know how to make a web page that isn't annoying.

So the question is - what makes a web page annoying, and how do we avoid it?

I think I speak with SOME authority here. You are on section 21 of my course for a reason - you kept coming back. This means that I have learned what it takes to get someone to keep returning to a web site. This is only because I have observed and learned what makes ME leave someone elses web site.

Here are my top ten turn offs.

      Pop Up Windows.
        Let's face it, they are just plain annoying. What is the first thing you do when you see a pop up window? At first, you may have looked at them, but if you've been using the web for any period of time, you simply close them. Now they even have programs that will close them automatically. Best bet - don't get into the bad habit.

      Slow Loading Pages.
        Don't you just hate it when you try to load a web page, and it takes forever, possibly locking up your computer in the process?
        There are 2 leading causes for this problem:
          1. Sloppy Code:
            If your HTML code opens a gator or quote, but doesn't close it - it can confuse the browser which is trying to interpret the page and lay it out properly. This confusion can cause your computer to slow down or even lock up. Always double check your code, and heck, have a friend do a spell check on it while you're at it!
          2. Large Files
            If your computer is trying to pull a large file down a skinny pipe (a slow internet connection), it's kind of like trying to push an elephant through a garden hose. It just ain't gonna get there soon. Try to keep ALL files, including graphics, below 20Kb. in size. Keep in mind that not everyone on the web HAS a 20 GHz Core8 system with DSL or a T1 line connected to it. Most rural folks have about a 1 GHz processor and a 56K modem. People from other countries may even be using old 2400 baud modems! Also, don't use too many graphics either. This can cause the same effect. I'd say about 10 files or graphics per page is about the limit, although some would argue.

      Butt Ugly Pages.
        You've seen it. The florescent green page with pink letters. You can't read it. It hurts your eyes to try. Backgrounds that make the page difficult to read. If people go to the internet to be entertained, they aren't looking for something that hurts their eyes. If they are going to be educated, they need to be able to read your text. Learn from this very important acronym:


        Keep It Simple Stupid!

        I'm not saying that it has to be "plain". You web site can have all the style and flair you want it to. But don't use extremely busy backgrounds and animated gifs that take AWAY from the meaning and readability of the site.
        Try to keep a contrast between the background and text colors, without being such a contrast that it hurts the viewer's eyes. If you must have extravagant pictures - DON'T make them the background of the page. This almost always makes the page completely unviewable. And when choosing fonts, try to choose true type fonts that you think the viewers would already have in their arsenal. This keeps the viewer from having to download a specific font to see your page.

Pages that don't load well.  It is most annoying when you download a page, and go to read it, and the writing takes you off the screen so that you have to keep moving the scrollbar at the bottom of the page from the left to the right in order to read the entire page.  It is quite disturbing and I know very few people who like to do it.  It can altogether be avoided, and I intend to show you how.

    The fix for this problem is simple. Make the entire page a table, and make the table only 800 pixels wide. ( I make mine 775 pixels wide ).
    By doing this simple trick, it makes it so that folks with even the most basic computers by today's standards, can view your page in 800x600 mode ( the windows safe mode standard ), without having to scroll back and forth. Here's the code to fix it:

      < TABLE border="0" cellPadding="0 cellSpacing="0" width="800" nowrap align="center" >

            The whole text of the web page goes here.

            < /TD>
      </TABLE >
Pages that are poorly organized.
    If a page is poorly organized, it may take forever for you to find the information you are looking for. This will cause you to leave that page, and go looking elsewhere. If having someone leave your web page is the goal you are seeking - you've achieved it. However if you want people to stay and have a look, you need to make things easily findable. Use indexes, clickable links, and direction buttons to your advantage. Don't put too many links to other sites, or make the page so busy that your user can't find the important stuff.

Relatively useless pages
    Ok... this is a gray area here, but let's face it - how many pages out there are dedicated to narcisism? Certainly there is a place for eBay,, Google, and . All these pages have useful utilities, contain information, entertain, or otherwise help the global community at large. There are, though, literraly thousands - perhaps millions of pages that say "Hi, my name's Joe, I'm 18 years old, blond and stupid enough to have a useless web page." I understand that human beings have a need to be noticed. I know that we desire to express ourselves. It's one thing if our page is dedicated to the artistic value of photographs we have taken. It's completely another to have a web page just for the sake of having a web page. If we are going to say something to the whole world, why not make it a statement worth remembering?

    Too Many Ads
      Unless your web site is it realy doesn't make sense to have so many ads on the page, that it obscures the purpose of the page. If I'm looking for drivers for my video card, and go to a driver's site - I want to find the driver, not mull through hundreds of ads looking for one tiny link to what I realy came for.

    Non - Existant Sites.
      This one bites at the root of capitalism itself. Joe Schmuk buys a the web domain for $20 a year. He does this hoping that the multimillion Dow Chemical company will want the site, and pay him thousands of dollars for the site. So he builds a web page on that domain that basically says - if you want to own this site, you're gonna have to pay me. He pays monthly fees to keep this domain somewhere out on the web. Sometimes this ploy works. Usually it doesn't. Huge companies have two things going for them that we don't. They have lots of time and lots of money. They'll simply wait for you to NOT buy the domain some year, then they'll scarf it up. In the mean time, you wast your $300-400 a year to maintain a site that they aren't gonna buy. You're out $300-400, and they've simply waited you out. In the mean time, folks like me go out looking for the poison information on a chemical and run into your stupid site. Unless you are a jerk and have unlimited funds - I wouldn't even try this trick.

    Audio On A Webpage
      Picture this if you can: The baby is down fo a nap, mother is looking for a site that sells baby toys. She comes you your page, and you are selling toy stuffed dogs. So you have a .wav file of a dog barking. It's not that loud, and it doesn't run on forever. You think it's not harmful, but her dogs hear the dog bark on the computer and go ballistic, waking the baby and generally upsetting her day. Do you think she's gonna buy your toy dog now? If you must have Metallica or other sounds on your web page, fine, but at least give some kind of warning first, so the user can turn off his speakers. It would also be nice if the user could turn the music on and off at will.

    Dead Links
      I'm guilty of this one. Probably the least annoying in my opinion, but annoying just the same. You write a page, expecting to write another page tomorrow, but something comes up, and you don't get the second page written. Now you've got a link to a page that doesn't exist yet. Or you link to someone else's web site, and the site goes away. One or two links like this aren't too awfully bad, but a whole page full of them can drive a reader away from your page. To avoid this, check and re-check your links to make sure they are still active. If they aren't - at least have them re-direct the user to your home page. If not, why not just delete the link altogether until you get that page written?

    Well, that's it. the top 10 reasons I run away from web sites.
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