Simon Willison’s Weblog


Thursday, 11th July 2002

Bad faith my arse

This is ludicrous. NAF have ordered the transfer of the domain name to Molson beer, who hold a trademark on the word “Canadian” (a brand of beer):

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Lovely PNGs

Here’s a treat for anyone with a browser that supports alpha transparency in PNGs (Mozilla and IE5/Mac do, IE/Win doesn’t). Click on one of the little magnifying glasses under a thumbnail and the skin in question will pop up as a floating PNG, which you can drag around the screen. Admire the drop shadows, translucency and general prettyness and ask yourself why Microsoft haven’t implemented this X years after PNG became a standard. Hat tip to Boris Mann on thelist for the link.

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Image map accessibility

Mark Pilgrim continues to educate with day 24 of his series. Client side image maps need not pose a barrier to accessibility thanks to the helpful way in which alternative browsers use the alt attribute. They still aren’t much use for people using a normal (non-lynx) browser with images turned off though, and server side image maps are a big no.

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More Connected Earth

Connected Earth is getting a fair amount of criticism for its shoddy browser detection. In my opinion, browser detection is only a small part of its problems. Should you get past the front door the interface used to present information is “mystery meat” navigation at its very worst—identically coloured dots which reveal only a hint of their purpose when you hover over them, leading to pages that contain two or three paragraphs of information at the most before you have to click on another dot. Pages are slow to load even on broadband so trying to follow content quickly becomes a painful experience. There’s a lot more to this dinosaur than just a browser detect page.

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A million pounds down the drain

This site will make you cry: Connected Earth, BT’s new million pound (yes that’s £1,000,000) online museum devoted to the history of communications. It’s so bad it isn’t even funny—and don’t even think about trying to visit without Flash (I did and was presented with an alternative interface consisting of a single select box that refused to respond to mouse clicks). Load up on IE5+ and Flash and you’ll be treated to the single most unintuitive interface I have ever seen—good luck figuring out what the small, identical purple circles do. There are 2,000 pages of extensively researched content in there somewhere—obviously the designers thought it would be more “sticky” if you had to work really hard to find them. I could rant more, but quite frankly I just want to go to bed.

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