The sins web designers and developers commit are many, but few strike fear in my heart like sites that break the functionality of my browser. Seriously. If you can’t design a website that allows me to use my back or forward buttons, bookmark a specific page or print without having to use a “Print this page” link, you have failed at a very basic level.
What’s wrong with this, you may ask? Well first of all, it’s written in a very authoratative tone that isn’t at all pleasant. “WARNING!”. To me this says “GO AWAY!”. It’s in all caps which screams at you. It’s not friendly in any way. Just because I’m a little bit of a rebel I tried using my back button. It seemed to work just fine, but I’m wondering why on earth someone would scream this at their users and who thinks that’s a good idea? If you can’t make a site that works without breaking my back button, you’ve failed.
The same holds true for printing. Users should be able to print content (especially text content) without having to resort to a special “Print this page” button. Print style sheets have been around for a very long time, yet very few designers use them on a regular basis. I have to admit, we’re part of that crew sometimes too, but we’re trying to include it as part of everything we do from now on. Some examples of this behaviour can be found at DalMBA.com and MarlinShare, which we recently completed. It’s quite straightforward and easier to implement than a “Print this page” feature.
A big part of following web standards is ensuring that sites are accessible to as many people as possible. If you are scaring users with poorly-crafted warning messages and not allowing them to use their browser, not are you missing the letter of web standards, you’re missing the spirit of standards too.
Previously posted on brightwhite.ca