O (microcosma) wrote in naivedesign,

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The Importance of Using Proper Practice

Let me clarify here what is poor practice: poor practice is using code that functions only in a particular browser and has not been universally defined as compulsary inclusive for all new browsers. Poor practice includes, but is not limited to, the following:
  • coloured scrollbars (illegal code)
  • text filters such as glow text, dropshadow text and alpha opacity (also illegal code)
  • image maps
  • iframes (!)
  • javascript

There is literally a heap of Internet Explorer-specific code that doesn't work in other commonly-used browsers like Netscape and Firefox. Some code just doesn't show up, but some causes horrible page errors like offset of positioning or makes the page unintelligable.

It's worth checking that what you want to do is legal code, or universally visable, and if not, what the effect will be on people using other browsers. If you want your site to be visable to as many people as possible, you need to cut back on the bad coding practice. It isn't fair just to say "well everyone should use Internet Explorer" because some people can't, or don't want to. You have to accomodate them.

It isn't hard to find out what is and isn't illegal. The site you found the code on will probably tell you itself, if not, try checking at http://calidator.w3c.org. If you can't find out then, ask a fellow webdesigner, and if you still don't know, just don't use it. There are legal ways of doing everything, bar javascript and text filters, that I've listed up there and any other things that might be necessary to the function of your page. If there isn't an alternative, the code isn't necessary. 99% of people shouldn't be using text filters, anyway, they almost always look terrible.

Iframes are a personal pet peeve of mine. Regular frames require little more effort and make the page function more cleanly in most browsers, yet most people use Iframes. Don't do it. I feel as passionately about this as about people who can't spell. They might even work in most browsers, I don't know, I just hate them anyway.

Using javascript is a design choice. There are benefits to using javascript because it enables you to do things you can't do with HTML or CSS. However, some people don't have it enabled in their browsers. You should provide an alternative to your page or at least a warning if it contains javascript for these people if you do decide to use it ever. I would suggest, though, that frequently the cons outweight the pros. Flash sites, again, are a design choice. You can do very impressive things with Flash, but it isn't accessible to everyone. While using javascript and Flash limits your accessibility and annoys me, it is excusable in the same way that coding sloppily is not since there is no HTML alternative. Using sloppy HTML is not a design choice, it is a choice to be lazy.

But Mary, you've used coloured scrollbars here!
Indeed I have. I made a design choice, knowing that coloured scrollbars just won't show up in most browsers but won't cause funky errors in most, either. It's just something that only I.E. can see, but, I'd like to emphasise, as divadrummer said to me: whether it can see coloured scrollbars or not is not good criteria for choosing a browser.

I hope somebody who actually needs to read any of this stuff joins.

- Mary (foetusinfetu)
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