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Limitations of the web heading graphic

Limitations of the web

Here is a list of the big ones.

Speed
All the things on the web except plain text take time to download (sit in your computer). Animations take the longest followed by BIG graphics followed by sounds and small graphics. I would like you to be aware that people dont like to wait for things. 10 secs later and you may have lost them. They will just truck on out of there, off to another site.
So... what is the verdict? Animations, big graphics etc. should not be included unless they are absolutely necessary to convey the information you want.

Browsers
They're are browsers and versions of browsers. The two biggest are Microsoft Internet Explorer (ver. 2,3,4,5) and Netscape Navigator (ver. 2,3,4 and almost 5). They are different and display the pages slightly differently. As a webmaster I have both installed on my system to compare the results but older versions do not recognise some of the latest HTML commands and therefore will not display properly.
There are also many other browsers (the web interface) so just be aware that not everyone has the latest version of Explorer or Navigator.

Screen sizes
First two paragraphs updated Feb 2008 taken from Wikipedia article on Display Resolution.

At one time 800600 was the most common choice for exploring the internet, but that changed in the year 2002. Currently 1024768 Extended Graphics Array is the most common display resolution.[1][2] Many web sites and multimedia products were re-designed from the previous 800600 format to the higher 1024768-optimized layout.

The availability of inexpensive LCD monitors has made the 5:4 aspect ratio resolution of 12801024 more popular for desktop usage. Many computer users including CAD users, graphic artists and video game players run their computers at 16001200 resolution (UXGA, Ultra-eXtended) or higher if they have the necessary equipment. Other recently available resolutions include oversize aspects like 14001050 SXGA+ and wide aspects like 1280720 WXGA, 16801050 WSXGA+, and 19201200 WUXGA

You probably know monitor sizes are increasing. A system used to be standard with a 14" monitor but lately it has gone through 15" to 17" standards! 21 inch monitors used to be the preserve of newspaper layout designers but not any more. On the other side of the coin is palmtop/desktop and WebTV! The size of the monitor doesn't matter so much for the website it is what the screen is sized at, that is the monitors width and height measured in pixels which is important.
Some of the screen sizes
This diagram shows some of the different screen sizes that websites have to tackle. You may have seen some website saying this page optimised for 800 by 600 or whatever. That is the webmaster not doing his job which is to try and make the page work for all or at least most screen sizes. You can do this by setting out tables in percentages rather than actual pixel values for example.

Plugins
A net mob has come up with these statistics for installed plugins which contradicts what I say below...
Personally I doubt the veracity of these statistics as far as extrapolating away from their sample base.
Which Plug-ins do your visitors have?
Multimedia plug-ins have the largest installed base- with LiveAudio (81.5%), AVI (74.26%), Quick Time (69.63%), Beatnik (36.79%), Media Player(34.38%), and Real Audio Player (29.57%) all in the top ten. Other top plug-ins include, Shockwave Flash (62.4%), Shockwave for Directors (33.63%), Adobe Acrobat (30.62%), and Cosmo - a virtual reality tool (12.93%).**
** Stats taken 6/28/1999 by Statmarket http://www.statmarket.com/
Here is some more from them...
Plug-in usage on the Web is becoming more popular, in general. Seven of the ten top plug-ins have increased their installed market share - with RealPlayer showing 166.55% growth since the beginning of this year. Following RealPlayer, in decreasing order of market share growth, are Beatnik (112.11%), Shockwave Flash (44.89%), Adobe Acrobat (34.62%), Shockwave for Director (29.05%), AVI (7.60%), and LiveAudio (6.07%).
Here is what I say...
These are separate programmes that are not part of the browser but interact with it (as a separate programme that 'plugs in" to it) to enhance something like multimedia (realplayer, quicktime) or animations (flash). The trouble is that some/most people dont have them and dont want to or dont know how to download them. Herein lies a difficult dilemna as they sometimes but not always make a page more interesting showing a little film clip or cartoon or whatever. Great segue (pron. 'segway' meaning 'way of leading into or introducing the next part or segment') yeah right but great segue anyway into...

Internet User inexperience
Not everyone is going to spend hours (or years) of their lives getting to know the quirks and foibles of the web. If I see a sight using a Flash animation with no choice to get out of it I just wonder. Who do they think is going to see this? I try to keep up to the latest plugin versions and still I am amazed after waiting a couple of minutes or longer for a download to get the message I need my plugin updated, yeah great and fudge to you too. There is an amazing statistic of how many people who do not know how to use the scroll bars . The people who dont know how to use them never see the bottom of any screen because they cant get there. I do not blame the inexperienced user, some of the shortcuts and methods of navigation or even email usage can be daunting to the new user. I do blame web designers for not designing sites which are easy to navigate and for assuming that everyone is highly experienced with computers and the internet and has heaps of time to sit down and figure it out.

The little things that add up to a big thing
For this segment I wanted to list all the things that I wish everyone realised about web design. Stuff like the fact that I can name a typeface (or font) on a page, like say Garamond or Bembo (serif) or Universe or Humanst 521 BT (sans serif) and while they may look as I intended on my computer there is no way of telling if YOU have those fonts installed on your computer. You will probably just default to good old Times New Roman (serif) or Arial (sans serif).
Colours and sizes of type and areas of the page are also problematic and computer systems depending on age, memory, speed bla bla, do not display colours the same way (256, 16 bit, millions, 12 etc.)
You've heard me go on about speed and the problem is speed is also not standardised in any way so depending on modem, processor, memory, ISP (Internet Service Provider), even browser type and version, not to mention connection (satellite, T1, ISDN, dial-up). It all means that some people see pages quicker than others but should the people with older systems be disadvantaged? I dont think so. Sure we are heading toward faster connections but at the moment MOST people dont have fast download speeds so why pretend they do?
Particularly as the most important thing is content , which so many pages just forget outright and think if they have some flashy animations and pictures that they have a great site, wrong. You have a waste of money and if you can entice people to your site which may register on the 'hit' counter I guarantee they will not return. You have to have useful information regularly updated. Games, contests, reports are good for return visits. Chat pages are getting a little old for me but some people love them and I still post occasionally to sports discussion and rock band discussion pages.

Security
All information on the web is not secure.



Author: David Thatcher


HardWeb - making websites work

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