How not to solicit redesign comments

Written by Adrian Holovaty on February 23, 2004

The folks at Newsday.com have redesigned -- and they're anxious to hear your feedback.

That is, if you're quick enough with the mouse. The "redesign reactions?" box atop the site's home page scrolls by faster than you can click it in Mozilla Firefox.

It uses the <marquee> tag, but here's an animated GIF interpretation (courtesy of Dan Cox), so this can be recorded for posterity.

Animated GIF of scrolling 'redesign reactions' box

Comments

Posted by Simon Willison on February 23, 2004, at 4:43 p.m.:

It's interesting to note that in Internet Explorer the messages slides in once from the left and stops. This is an excellent illustration of the dangers involved in using non-standard tags. The Marquee tag was invented by Microsoft as a proprietary extension to HTML and is only supported by Mozilla browsers as it is required for many chinese language sites. Mozilla doesn't support the "behavior" attribute which is used by Newsday to cause the text to only scroll once. It is likely the Newsday team failed to test the effect in browsers other than IE and were thus unaware of the usability problem it introduces in other browsers.

Posted by jrhallett on February 24, 2004, at 6:44 p.m.:

It still amazes me how many 'large' sites ignore browswers other than IE. One recent case is Ralph Nader's 2004 campaign site: www.votenader.org.

If fails to display any content on Safari for the Macintosh. A while ago I signed up for a Nader mailing list for another topic, so of course I received a message about his campaign announcement. Standard stuff, visit the site, get involved, donate money. I wrote them back that before I could make any decision I would need to be able to 'read' his site.

Posted by Jay Small on February 26, 2004, at 2:57 p.m.:

And how many suppliers of content and design tools still ignore anything but IE. I got a call from a vendor trying to sell us (at Belo Interactive) design tools aimed specifically at online advertisers looking for an "interstitial" experience, like an Eye-Blaster or Shoshkele.

I asked the guy to point me to a URL so he could show me the tools. He did, and I opened the demo page on my Mac (OK, I know, it's just a glorified BSD box :-) using Mozilla. None of the demos worked, and even the vendor's site navigation (based in the same technologies, I guess) broke badly.

I told him what I was using, and he harumphed and said, dismissively, "Sorry, our products work on IE on Windows only."

I'm sure we could tell an advertiser that the first time we tried to offer these tools for commercial design.

Argh!

Posted by Chris Heisel on February 27, 2004, at 4:51 p.m.:

I'd honestly like to know just who thought that a scrolling link was the best way to get feedback... hmm maybe they secretly didn't want feedback.

I'm with everyone on the vendors-who-think-IE-is-all-that, a registration vendor we're looking at only supports windows...

It's difficult to get many people to look past the ends of their noses, and when it comes to browser stats they act like those are set in stone.

Remember, Apple is the No. 1 brand among young folks these days (read: your Web site audience, likely), and Netscape was once the company to beat in the browser wars.

Oh well, preaching to the choir :-)

Posted by kaye trammell on March 5, 2004, at 12:46 a.m.:

Slightly off-topic, but Mark redesigned the University of Florida Web site at http://www.ufl.edu -- he only has 3 CSS hacks & uses the tableless CSS layout really well.

Posted by MJC on November 19, 2004, at 3:07 p.m.:

Good comments folks, but as an online marketing strategist and designer I went nuts in the 90's trying to please everyone, not anymore.

Either use IE or politely go someplace else. Safari for the MAC - you have to be insane if you think I'd recommend to a client that they should spend money testing for a product that commands a tiny inconsequential sliver of the marketplace. There are much better ways to spend money, but don't get me wrong, no one should go out of their way to incorporate code or design that shuts anyone out. That's also stupid. Safari has a responsibility to be totally compatible until they own the 50% of the market.

My company has more high-level business than we can handle and I am happier not trying to swim against the current.

I loved Netscape, but they blew it. Where were you when we were trying to save it? If you think my tone is vitriolic now, you should have heard me then.

As for MAC, unless you're a commercial operator it's mainly for those concerned with eye-candy than intellectual substance. (read, easily manipulated posers) I learned years ago not to be different just for the sake of being different and oh . . . cool. It's a production tool and not a looking glass.

I abhor how microsoft operates, but they hold the steering wheel.

Choose your battles.

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