My New Lamborghini (or Why Some Web Sites Suck)
Recently, I purchased a new Lamborghini. In an effort to flash my new bling, I decided to go see a movie at the local drive-in theatre. What a mistake.
Recently, I purchased a new car—a Lamborghini, actually. In an effort to flash my new bling, I decided to go see a movie at the local drive-in theatre. Although my previous car was a Ford Taurus, this is something I have been doing since I learned to drive.
When I get to the theatre, however, I am stopped at the gate by an “automotive compliance” officer, who politely informs me that the theatre no longer shows movies to Lamborghinis. In fact, they have implemented a strict policy of American-only cars. I look into the parking lot, and sure enough, there are nothing but Fords, GMs and Saturns.
Well, I already purchased my ticket, so I drove in anyway. After I parked, I discovered the audio connection was broken and the screen was blurry. I tried another spot and got the same result. I tried five more, all the same. I look around, but American-car-driving audience was quietly watching the movie, evidently without any technical issues. Thoroughly frustrated, and still seeking to flaunt my new hotness, I leave the theatre. Behind me, a Volvo speeds away and the driver gives the “automotive compliancer” officer the finger. Evidently his experience was no better than my own.
So I try to go to the mall. But when I get off the highway, the road signs get funny. Words are misspelled, letters are upside down, and a few signs are completely blank. It feels like I’ve entered the Eastern Bloc. I look around, but no one else seems to notice, except for a BMW parked along the side of the road. The driver is flipping a map in all directions, but it’s obvious he can’t navigate any better than me. Wait a minute I think. Sure enough, every car around the mall was American made. A Ford sedan zooms past, quickly followed by a lumbering Hummer.
So after meandering around for an hour, I find a back road into the mall. By this time I am sick of driving and looking forward to a fruit slushie in the food court. Then, as I near the mall parking lot, my car runs into an invisible wall. I am shaken, but the damage is minimal. Backing up, I try again and again, but an undetectable force field surrounds the mall. Then an ancient GMC minivan meanders by, right through where I kept getting blocked, with no ill effect whatsoever. I yell a few more obscenities and turn around.
Pissed, I drive my sweet Lamborghini bling home, wondering if I have to go back to my old Ford just to get around. All I know is that both the drive-in theatre and the mall lost all future business from me.
For the analogy-challenged, this is a sampling of my daily online experience. Because I use Opera (the Lamborghini of browsers), I am constantly at odds with sites that promote Internet Explorer—deliberately or otherwise. Common faults:
- Sites that advertise stupid warnings like “Best Viewed in Internet Explorer.” Get over it. Not everyone uses your browser. (The theatre.)
- When I do get into a site that promotes one browser or another, stuff doesn’t work. (The theatre, again.) Plug-ins don’t load and layouts become b0rked.
- When I do get to a site that I think is going to work, with no reason whatsoever, my browser crashes. (The mall.) Don’t know why. This may be the fault of the site, or it may be a bug in Opera; regardless, it demonstrates the developer’s lax testing methods.
I understand that the web standards movement has been making huge headway in changing the habits of hundreds (thousands, maybe?) of developers worldwide, but I am constantly finding sites from young developers and designers (high school, college, some younger, some older) that promote bad practices. It’s bad enough when these IE-centric customs are on a personal site, but to sell the practices to clients is detrimental in moving forward with a better web.