Flutterby™! : 20 Things I Hate About Browsers and The Web

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20 Things I Hate About Browsers and The Web

2010-11-22 16:48:29.823662+00 by Dan Lyke 5 comments

A lot of people have been forwarding around Google's little propaganda piece: 20 Things I Learned About Browsers And The Web, a little demo of HTML 5.

  • What a gawdawful annoying interface.
  • Why does a picture book need to store local data to my system that goes beyond a cookie? 3.8 megabytes? Really?
  • I don't get why this is better than Flash. It doesn't degrade nicely in browsers that aren't laden with JavaScript.
  • While we're at it, how about another set of raspberries for the continued overrunning of the world with JavaScript: Most sites that use it for UI tweaks just make the site more annoying (Twitter, Facebook, every financial services site I've ever used, I'm lookin' at you). And it makes it much harder to actually use the data you're publishing for more interesting stuff than just mindlessly consuming it like television watchers.

So, yeah, I can see that the drooling masses are going to overrun the web with this crap, but we don't have to let the quality go quietly. Sigh.

[ related topics: Books User Interface Technology and Culture Television ]

comments in descending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2010-11-22 21:02:09.2634+00 by: Larry Burton

I just want to be able to scroll through the content without having to wait for a response from adserver.doubleclick.net or any of a dozen other domains that the website is hitting on every page for advertising metrics.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-11-22 19:23:42.121195+00 by: Mars Saxman

Mostly it's the attempts to automatically move my cursor from field to field that causes most of the cursing.

No kidding. Ugh. I can type, people: you don't need to do it for me, and it pisses me off when you try. Grr.

#Comment Re: made: 2010-11-22 17:51:26.808701+00 by: Dan Lyke

So to Facebook's failure with JavaScript: Overall I actually like the inline nature of commenting and such. What I object to is the number of times I've started to type a status update and, for whatever reason, the JavaScript decides I need to be at the beginning of the input field, and all of a sudden I'm typing where I didn't expect to.

Or all the places on Facebook that aren't accessible on the iPad because the JavaScript is just b0rk3d.

On Twitter's failure: That "see more entries by scrolling to the bottom" thing is way beyond annoying. As is trying to find any older entries.

Now to be fair, I avoid most of these problems on these two sites by using other applications. Or, in other words: their web implementation sucks so badly I use tools specific to making their web sites usable.

On the various financial services companies: Mostly it's the attempts to automatically move my cursor from field to field that causes most of the cursing.

On the 3.8MB, if that were just being transferred, yeah, whatever. That's local storage that the HTML 5 app is asking for. WTF?

And I guess the mindless consumption is the conceptual gap. I have various friends who love their iPads...

#Comment Re: made: 2010-11-22 17:39:12.870548+00 by: ebradway

I point the blame at two large software companies: Microsoft and Adobe.

Microsoft has done everything in it's power to make JS only useful for the most basic, crude UI manipulations. Ever try to use recursion in JavaScript? A few years ago, it was pretty much impossible. There's nothing in either the JavaScript standards or programming model it supports that says "recursion is bad". It just failed in so many different ways, especially in Internet Explorer. Google has been fighting this. FireFox has also taken up the cause. Apple Safari and Opera also have much more solid JS interpreters. You can now write real code in JS. It's still not very consistent across browsers.

Adobe is also to blame. They make really great tools for creating rich documents and compelling apps. But where they suck is by keeping a tight fist on the free tools used for consuming those documents and apps. Content (and code) is dead once it's embedded in a PDF (or Flash app). Why couldn't Adobe be happy selling their really great tools for creating PDFs and Flash apps and just completely open the reading and displaying of those content types?

Microsoft and Adobe created an apparent need for a truly open standard for richer content and applications on the Web.

(And I guess I can sympathize about your issue with a 3.8MB memory image for the page... I mean, that's what, over 10% of the RAM in your 386/33Mhz with 32MB of RAM and must have taken forever to download over your 14.4Kbps AOL connection).

#Comment Re: made: 2010-11-22 17:14:23.060615+00 by: other_todd

Here's the thing about JavaScript: I disagree with your contention that on most sites JS just makes the site more annoying. I agree it is OFTEN misused. But the problem here is that you are an atypical user, and I think that's the part you're going to have to make your peace with.

I have had to back gradually away from the obvious submit/response model (do something, press a button, get a new page in response) on web pages over the last five to seven years. My customers demand it, and to a certain extent, they are right. If the page contains all the information needed to calculate the order subtotal, why do I have to push back to the server and reload to get that subtotal? Why not do it right there? That, to me, is the only utterly justified purpose of JS - to perform page updates and sanity checks on data entry that can be done "on the spot," without needing to go back for another round of HTTP call-and-response.

Of course, the problem is this has gotten carried to excess. The user wants to believe that everything is happening dynamically on the page, to the extent that I now use JS to disguise when CGI-style queries are being made to the server, by putting them in updatable portions of the page. To the user it looks like they're staying on the same page, and that's what they really want. Why? Don't ask me. But I know they do.

Most users LIKE portions of the screen that expand and contract as they are needed, menus and other such items that pop in and pop out - these are seen not just as nifty, but also help handle screen real estate better, which is going to become more and more of an issue as we raise our second generation that has been taught to prefer to look at the web on a handheld screen far too small to contain it.

Also: Call me a cynic, but people want to mindlessly consume, for the most part. That there might be the biggest conceptual gap you have to leap. I don't think you're going to change the majority here; if on the other hand you're insisting on trying to fence off a protected area where some quality standards are upheld, well, I support your doomed cause!