Homepage Pet Peeves

1. "Click Here" Links

I did a search on Alta Vista, using "click here" for my query. Now ... please sit down. There were three million counts for that query! (Oops! I suppose with this paragraph I just upped it to three million & one!) I see an eloquently written preamble about the upcoming link, only to see it end with that two-word phrase ... ugh! Can't people come up with a better name for their links? Is "click here" going to be the topic of the link I am about to follow? Do you have several pages about the art of clicking? What if I do not have a mouse? Do I click my heels three times and say "There's no place like home" as I hit the <return> key? So for the benefit of those of us without a mouse in our house, or for the vast millions who have not yet viewed The Wizard of Oz, please name your link accordingly.

2. Excessive use of Exclamation Marks!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know ... you have just made this cool home page and are excited about pointing us to this great new link!!!!!! All your exclamation marks and declarations about how awesome your page is will not make me as eager as you are!!!!!!!!! Again, trust that HTML will do its job. Links are bolded, and that is emphasis enough for me. I follow a link based on what I think is on the other side, not on how many exclamation marks you put in it or after it! Exclamation marks used that excessively will make me think you are over-advertising your page. If a page needs that much hype before accessing it, do I really want to?

3. Pre-formatted text

Ok, <pre> is necessary if you are displaying your finest ASCII art, but for everyone else, please learn markup language! Simple commands such as <p> can separate paragraphs for you, and it will look nice too. Homepages with links done in all pre-formatted text look even worse than pages with html mistakes! Please ... lose the <pre> and learn markup language. Don't be afraid, boldly step out where other homepages have stepped before. If you are new at html, it is ok to make mistakes. Don't be too timid to say you are new at html, and that you want to learn how to do it. You can be sure that anyone who stumbles on your page will be happy to show you how you can accomplish what you need to with proper markup. HTML is your friend ... don't try to replace it with your typing, because you can't.

4. Forgetting to close <em>

... Or even doing it intentionally will make your page look as if you had used a typewriter on looseleaf. It makes your pages difficult to read, and whatever useful information you may have for us will be superceded by underscore. Please, use <em> only where you want emphasis on a phrase, or a title of a book, and remember to close it with </em>. Writing your whole page the way this paragraph is written will make me hit the back arrow key faster than you can say "click here"!

5. Using header tags to increase font size.

Whoa ... I think I need my sunglasses here! This is what a page looks like in text when you choose to use an <Hn> tag instead of a <font size=+n>. It makes the whole page really bright for those not using a graphical browser! Again, when I see a page that looks like this paragraph, I look for my backspace key, and fast!

6. Double spaced lists of links

I see people place links to their public bookmark files in which all the links are double spaced. It takes twice as long to scan your links before getting to the ones I actually want. Not to mention that it is just plain unattractive. I once saw a huge list of bookmarks where each link was made into a list of its own!

7. Long names for your Links

This is a link to the paragraph that explains long links. You will find that long links that span several lines can sometimes be very annoying. People will still access your link even if you decide to make it shorter than a complete sentence! A short link with a brief explanation of what it is about will suffice.

8. Hit counts on pages

Sometimes the first thing I see on a page is "You are the 55629th visitor to this page!!!!!" Is this supposed to give me or your page higher status? Or is the page any better simply because one more person stumbled on it?

9. Pages that say nothing

I see some pages that are nothing but links, links, links, and practically no information about them. So I follow a few of the links and those pages are nothing but lists of links. You know, sometimes I access a homepage because I want to read, not because I want to keep pressing return on links! Please, introduce yourself, or introduce the subject of your page with an opening paragraph!

10. Pages with all images and no text

Sometimes I follow a link to a page which claims to have information on a specific topic. Then, from the Lynx browser, all I see is is [LINK] or [IMAGE] scattered all over the page. I know a picture is worth a thousand words, but can you please enlighten those of us with little access to graphical browsers? A [LINK] to what? An [IMAGE] of what? A page that looks appealing in text will make me more likely to bookmark it, so I can view it again when I have a chance to see it through Netscape. Please, try to construct your page so it will please the entire viewing audience. Those are the kinds of pages which get viewed over and over again.

Chebucto Connections TOP TEN
is edited by Robert E. Currie
who is happy to receive Questions, Comments or Suggestions.
If your browser does not support mail, write to Rob later at aa019@ccn·cs·dal·ca.

Last Month: April 1996 Next Month: October 1996