Webdesign Please


The TOC freak show at W3C and OASIS

The W3C and the OASIS web sites have hundreds of specs with TOCs designed in all sorts of ways. Most of them are pseudo web design using break elements and non breaking spaces for indention or CSS margin-left. They all have additional problems like including the number of the list item in the link, or not having a period after the first level.

Page Zoom in IE7 is a usability disaster

Nice that Internet Explorer is on the move again but the new PAGE ZOOM is just a deprecated magnifying glass: No line wrap, no fluid webdesign. As soon as you start zooming the dreaded horizontal scroll panel is right in your face.

Don't use copyright all over your website

Copyright statements can be necessary also in web pages but should be used sparsely. Boilerplate statements only add noise to most web pages and they discourage some websites from linking to our resources.


Use inverted colors to highlight the link having focus

It is often difficult to find the cursor when a web site is navigated using the keyboard. Where is the link having focus? With CSS the author of a web page can adjust how the the link having focus is visualized. Using inverted colors are the best way to highlight it.

The benefits of footnotes in webpages

Good old footnotes are undervalued in webpages. Even serious commentary and longer articles and reports often use mediocre tooltips made with the title attribute as a poor substitute. Footnotes are much more usable and accessible.

User friendly 404 error messages reconsidered

For years we have praised the wonders of user friendly 404 error messages tailored to the website. But most often such error messages are as bad as they can be even forgetting to use the 404 status code in the HTTP header. It is high time to reconsider if the job is better left to an improved default 404 provided by web servers where it naturally belongs.

Updated: 2009-08-03