2002 Olympics - Site Review - WebReference Update - 020117 | WebReference

2002 Olympics - Site Review - WebReference Update - 020117

((((((((((((((((( WEBREFERENCE UPDATE NEWSLETTER ))))))))))))))))) January 17, 2002

___________________________ Sponsors ________________________________ This newsletter sponsored by: 802.11 Planet Spring 2002 events.internet.com _____________________________________________________________________

This week we review the accessibility of the new 2002 Olympics site. Well, at least they have ALT tags.... In other news Molly talks standards, Rhodes talks info architecture, and IBM converts RTF into HTML. Dave releases Radio 8 and Macromedia revs Director. Film at 11.

http://www.webreference.com *- link to us today http://www.webreference.com/new/ *- newsletter home

New this week on WebReference.com and the Web:

1. SITE REVIEW: 2002 Olympics 2. OTHER VOICES: * Raise Your Standards * Information Architecture for the Rest of Us * Functions in PHP * Converting RTF documents into HTML documents 3. NET NEWS: * Radio 8 Released * Director 8.5 Released

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\--------------------------------------------------------------adv.-/ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1. SITE REVIEW: 2002 Olympics

Well, it's that time again. Another Olympics is nigh and pundits are picking the site apart. Your humble editor is no exception. First let me make clear that I love the Olympics, look forward to it every time it happens (the games that is), and would love to go, again. However, being the world-wide games that they are certain accessibility and usability minimums surely apply to the web site. Speaking of Shirley...

Shirley from Brainstorms and Raves starts us off with a scathing review about the new 2002 Olympics site. Hat tip to Meryl.net.


Complete with frames and fully dependent on JavaScript for display, this site does at least feature ALT tags for images, unlike last time when IBM had to add them later at great cost.

Beyond the fact that folks who turn off JavaScript are locked out, there are some other glaring, yet common usability problems.

* Performance Problems

Frames are used throughout the site. These should be banished as they slow down the display and clutter up our screens. The frames are written with JavaScript document.writes, with no <NOSCRIPT> alternative, ouch. View sourcing a few frames shows the site's been Akamaized which is good, but it's overspecified with <SHUDDER> font tags? This is the year 2002 people, anyone heard of CSS? Switching to CSS here would save mucho bandwidth.

* Black Links

How do users tell these are links? How can we tell the difference between black text and black links? They are not even underlined, further exacerbating the problem. Users expect blue or colored links, and that they at least be underlined. Some links spawn new windows, and some even require JavaScript to work, an accessibility no-no. At least the visited color is different.

* JavaScript Bugs

I know Shirley covered the dependence on JavaScript on her blog but on my Mac running IE5, *every page* spawns a JavaScript error. Unsupported objects, syntax errors, this does not engender confidence in a site. So if you are a Mac user, you might turn off JavaScript to get rid of the errors right? Guess what. Gotta have JavaScript enabled to use the site. See my problem here? I see this is a Microsoft ASP site, could be a sign....

"This site requires javascript enabled on your browser."

If you're going to require JavaScript at least test the site on PC and Mac platforms with recent browsers. But, I digress.


The site doesn't use META tags. Guess they think this is a one- time thing and traffic won't be a problem.

Here are some sample titles:

Olympics Frame Top SLOC - Cover Front Page 3:11 PM ET Thursday, January 17, 2002

This is useful if I happen to not know the current date and time.

The site looks good, but I expect better for such a high profile site. The main TITLE says just "Olympics." Um, which one? 1924 where Harold Abrahams won the 100 and Eric Liddell the 400? Can't you just hear Vangelis in the background? A more descriptive title tag wouldn't hurt here. Try it for yourself below, but be sure to have JavaScript enabled and don't use a Mac.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 2. OTHER VOICES: Raise Your Standards, Information Architecture for the Rest of Us, Functions in PHP, Converting RTF documents into HTML documents

* Raise Your Standards

At the very least, you should know what the recommendations are and understand them. Once you know the rules, you have more freedom to innovate and break them, or follow them to find out how adherence can strengthen your work. http://www.webtechniques.com/archives/2002/02/desi/ Web Techniques, Feb. 2002 Issue

* Information Architecture for the Rest of Us

John Rhodes explains information architecture in a simple and clear way. http://webword.com/moving/restofus.html Web Word, Jan. 17, 2002

* Functions in PHP

Modularize your code with PHP's functions. http://webdeveloper.earthweb.com/servdev/article/0,,12111_956891,00.html Earthweb.com, Jan. 17, 2002

* Converting RTF documents into HTML documents

Use XML as an intermediary for the fastest way to put legacy RTF documents on the Web. http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/xml/library/x-tiprtf/index.html IBM.com, Jan. 2002

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~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 3. NET NEWS: Radio 8, Director 8.5

* 'The Web's Typewriter' - UserLand Software Introduces a New Publishing And Knowledge Management Tool to Desktop Users

Version 8 is out and it's a doozy. If you haven't tried Radio, you don't know what you're missing. http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/020116/sfw010a_1.html Yahoo.com/PR Newswire, Userland Software, Jan. 16, 2002

* Macromedia Updates Director 8.5, Shockwave

Macromedia has revved Shockwave to support anti-aliasing for 3D graphics, and Windows XP compatibility. A native Mac OS X version is slated for later this month. http://www.internetnews.com/dev-news/article/0,,10_957431,00.html Internetnews.com, Jan. 2002

That's it for this week, see you next time.

Andrew King Newsletter Editor, WebReference.com aking at internet dot com

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