What Pop-ups? (An Opera Story)

Advertising.com revealed that people click on annoying pop-up ads 13 times as often as they do passive banner ads. This will surely translate to even more sites using pop-ups for generating ad revenue, but I’ll still never see them because the software developers of the web browsers Opera, Netscape, Mozilla and Safari care about user experience. They’ve integrated intelligent pop-up blockers as part of their feature-rich browsers. What I mean by intelligent is that these browsers will still allow pop-ups when you request them (by clicking a link) rather than indiscriminately blocking all pop-up windows (like the 3rd-party, parasitic add-ons to IE do).

I Heart Opera

Speaking of user experience, Opera7.1 is the most user-centric web browser I’ve used.

  • It loads in a heartbeat and uses very little memory.
  • I search google by typing “g [terms]” (similarly for
    Amazon, E-bay, etc.)
  • While I read, I open links in the background so I can look at them after
    finishing an article without having to wait as they load. Meanwhile they
    sit in a convenient, tabbed interface instead of in individual windows.
  • When researching something, I can create simple text notes that automatically
    remember where I was when I took them.
  • To go back I just hold the right mouse button and click the left (and
    vice-versa to go forward again).
  • If text is too big or small, I can zoom a whole page in 10% increments
    with [+/-].
  • I can “skin” the browser when I feel like a new look. (see
    pink_bunny
    or Azurino)
  • I can toggle images, javascript, java applets, plug-ins (like Flash),
    cookies, animated GIFs, embedded sounds.
  • It’s the most
    compliant browser with regards to modern web standards
    , letting me see
    sites as the designer fully intended.
  • If sloppy designers make broken web pages I can turn their style off with
    one click, giving me access to the unadulterated content of the site.
  • The latest version is only a 3MB download.

I could go on and on, but, basically, Opera innovates in ways that put me in control rather than leaving me at the mercy of the web. It’s all in their vision:

We believe in respect for our users.

Users have since the beginning shaped Opera’s features and spread the word to the uninitiated. Thanks to this interaction Opera Software exists today, both as an organization and as a technology leader. Opera Software will never forget that its main focus is the user.

You don’t win friends with salad!

“Sandra Garner and her husband, Darryl Garner, had invited a few guests over to their apartment on S Highland Avenue for a Memorial Day dinner. The menu was simple: A few drinks. A little chicken. And a whole lot of salad.” They argue over the salad, kick all their friends out, and both end up in jail for domestic battery, resisting arrest with violence, use of a firearm while under the influence, improper exhibition of a firearm and disorderly conduct. full story (St. Pete Times)

What pop-ups?

Advertising.com revealed that people click on annoying pop-up ads 13 times as often as they do passive banner ads. This will surely translate to even more sites using pop-ups for generating ad revenue, but I’ll still never see them because the software developers of the web browsers Opera, Netscape, Mozilla and Safari care about user experience. They’ve integrated intelligent pop-up blockers as part of their feature-rich browsers. What I mean by intelligent is that these browsers will still allow pop-ups when you request them (by clicking a link) rather than indiscriminately blocking all pop-up windows (like the 3rd-party, parasitic add-ons to IE do).

I Heart Opera

Speaking of user experience, Opera7.1
is the most user-centric web browser I’ve used.

  • It loads in a heartbeat and uses very little memory.
  • I search google by typing โ€œgย [terms]โ€ (similarly for Amazon, E-bay, etc.)
  • While I read, I open links in the background so I can look at them after finishing an article without having to wait as they load. Meanwhile they sit in a convenient, tabbed interface instead of in individual windows.
  • When researching something, I can create simple text notes that automatically remember where I was when I took them.
  • To go back I just hold the right mouse button and click the left (and vice-versa to go forward again).
  • If text is too big or small, I can zoom a whole page in 10% increments with [+/-].
  • I can โ€œskinโ€ the browser when I feel like a new look. (see pink_bunny or Azurino)
  • I can toggle images, javascript, java applets, plug-ins (like Flash), cookies, animated GIFs, embedded sounds.
  • It’s the most compliant browser with regards to modern web standards, letting me see sites as the designer fully intended.
  • If sloppy designers make broken web pages I can turn their style off with one click, giving me access to the unadulterated content of the site.
  • The latest version is only a 3MB download.

I could go on and on, but, basically, Opera innovates in ways that put me in control rather than leaving me at the mercy of the web. It’s all in their vision:

We believe in respect for our users.

Users have since the beginning shaped Opera’s features and spread the word to the uninitiated. Thanks to this interaction Opera Software exists today, both as an organization and as a technology leader. Opera Software will never forget that its main focus is the user.

You don’t win friends with salad

You can’t make this stuff up: “Sandra Garner and her husband, Darryl Garner, had invited a few guests over to their apartment on S Highland Avenue for a Memorial Day dinner. The menu was simple: A few drinks. A little chicken. And a whole lot of salad.โ€ They argue over the salad, kick all their friends out, and both end up in jail for domestic battery, resisting arrest with violence, use of a firearm while under the influence, improper exhibition of a firearm and disorderly conduct. full story (St. Pete Times)

Happy Ending With(out) Standards

Media Farm creates an inaccessible and invalid site and calls it a “Successful Standards-Based Migration.”

A recent case study on Netscape’s DevEdge details a “standards-based” overhaul of the NYU Stern School of Business’ Executive Programs site by the web design firm Media Farm. What it fails to mention is that, due to their goal of giving users of version 4 browsers the full experience of the site, Media Farm essentially placed the site’s content in a pile of meaningless structure glued in place by CSS, only accessible via graphical browsers.

Here is a simulation of the front page viewed with Lynx, a fully-capable HTML browser without CSS capabilities (this might be a decent representation of how the site will render on a mobile phone or PDA). What’s immediately noticeable is the lack of alt attributes on images, but also general structure. A look at the markup reveals 0 headings, 0 paragraphs, 69 images and 86 table-cells! The W3C states “content developers must not sacrifice appropriate markup because a certain browser or assuasive technology does not process it correctly,” and that is what Media Farm has done. Navigator 4, in particular, simply cannot style a well-structured document to the requirements of the site’s visual layout, so they used meaningless DIV and SPAN elements to replace headings and paragraphs and to hold tag-soup layout tables in position. Although the use of CSS to replace some presentational HTML is certainly a step in the right direction, there is still need for meaningful structure in a document, especially if you are claiming to author according to standards!