I’ve been following the Occupy Wall Street thing since I got wind of it last week. I think it’s a great thing, tho what results it’ll yield, when, and at what cost remains to be seen. But at least they’re shining a spotlight on some issues in how the economy looks. Really, money makes the world go round.
But I’ve been having some problems following the thing. I’ve had a few crashes while reading news sites. The Washington Post is one of those sites that without fail crashes Safari for me. Just to be sure, I fired up the site on my iPhone, let it load, and waited. Then the screen went black and returned to the menu. On my laptop, Safari just hangs, and I must force quit. Granted, my laptop is old, and I haven’t updated to the most recent version of Safari (see last post for one of the reasons why), but my phone’s OS and Safari are kept up to date.
While I doubt the Washington Post web crew are anti-Apple (especially with Steve Jobs’ recent death) or deliberately setting up their site to crash browsers and drive readers to other outlets, it’s symptomatic of a problem that a lot of sites has: clutter. Fancy new flashtastic features that most users don’t notice until it bothers them somehow, and clutter. Back in the day, most search engines filled their front page with categories and options, while Google stood apart with its simple, clean, and quickly loaded page. Today, even Google’s filling up their pages with clutter, tho it has the foresight to not load the stupid preview thing on the outdated Safari version on my old laptop.
Really, too many sites today are full of junk. Long pages that take too long to load on a phone, full of superfluous bloatware that crash browsers or that just slow everything down. I might have mentioned 1up.com‘s terrible, terrible ad before. It covered the whole window, and I had to take a moment to look for the “close ad” button. Not good design, not a good user experience. Many sites use a networking bar at the bottom of the page, one of my favorite sites the Escapist is one of them. Obtrusive and annoying, not just on old computers.
Seriously, while some machines have a lot of real estate on their screens, laptops, the more and more ubiqutious pads, and of course phones, have small screens. Sure, I get to about 2.5 megapixels on my desktop machine, but my iphone? Way less. (Sure, you can zoom, but that requires you to change your grip or else you’ll get tendonitis or something from trying.)
So, websites need to be smaller and less demanding for a few simple reasons:
- small screen devices
- compatibility / not crashing
- not annoying users