Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Further Website Irritants 

To follow up on yesterday's comments, I'll mention a couple more recurring website design irritants, and then I'll change the subject or risk stones being tossed at my glass house.

One which occurs even on the most professional of sites is the mention of a website URL without actually making the URL a live link. You see this even in articles on CNN or the New York Times sites. If you want to follow up, you have to copy and paste the text into the browser address window. (Worse are those occasional newspaper articles about some remarkable website that never mention the URL at all!) Newspaper sites may have slender excuses; articles are written for print, and then ported to webpages, perhaps without careful editorial oversight. That presumably explains why the Washington Post, for months now, can't seem to format its bestseller list.

A curious irritant that has no exact corresponding print counterpart are those sites that are in effect completely anonymous. Not only can you omit dates on your webpages, you can entirely hide your identity and location. For example, there is an SF bibliography site called (heh heh) http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/ that routinely pops up on Google searches of current books. It has an awful lot of data on authors and books, and links for where to buy them. But nowhere on the site is there a clue about who compiles the data and maintains the site (or why); the only contact is an email link to webmaster@fantasticfiction.co.uk. Since it therefore lacks any kind of authority, and because despite the volume of information I've never found the site particularly useful, I've never bothered to link it to any of Locus Online's links pages.
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Mark R. Kelly

The opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of Mark R. Kelly, and do not reflect the editorial position of Locus Magazine.
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