Monday, 16 August 1999
"Best viewed with..." Do you know that expression? "Optimised for X00 x X00 pixels" is another one just like it. Best viewed with reusable pixels It amazes me that new sites keep popping up that claim it with a certain pride. Such encounters make me blush with shame, how about you? I'm annoyed that these sites ignore the Internet's unique, platform independent character. How can they overlook the motley diversity of browsers, versions and platforms?

I couldn't care less about someone who's messing about on his personal home page. But even professional sites are guilty of browser fanaticism and overload their site with features and gimmicks. Featurism thrives. It is a decease, related to fetishism.

What are these web designers thinking? Let me offer you 3 possibilities:

Thought 1

Nag a customer

A would-be customer has to adapt, spend a few hours downloading the latest browser version, with all the required plug-ins, and buy a new monitor if need be.

Thought 2

Stop a customer

The company does not want too many customers. The E-barriers are intended to keep the customer base as small as possible.

Thought 3

Blunt Ignorance

A group of computer geeks has created the site, without any knowledge of marketing matters or usability. The site is above all, an exhibition of their technical skills.

I fear that ignorance prevails. Odd, as beginners have plenty of home page courses to choose from. To seniors, the web has quite a few advice's and guidelines to offer.

Competition holds a bit of hope. Customers are free to choose. Mandatory software usage is no longer valid on the web. They leave bad sites with a simple click. A good site does not deter customers, avoids annoyance and is browser independent ( As expected, the most popular sites do without all the gimmicks (

Browser independence is not just a contemporary matter. For years and years applications have outlived the tools, operating systems and computers for which they were originally designed. In the past year I have switched browsers several times (Netscape 3 -> 4, Opera 3.5 -> 3.6). So, browser specific features are wrong for sites that are build to last.

Any idea how long the current web pages will continue to exist? I don't, but it's bound to be long. HTML originates from SGML, a markup language developed by Charles Goldfarb in 1974 ( Those mark up principles have been around for a while, and will continue to be for quite some time. Your home page may even outlive you (!

Till next week!