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I want YOU to join the Spawn Services!
Bologna!
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Gil...
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I am the Walrus!
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You'll never take Kairi's heart!
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I believe that if you leave food in the fridge too long, it begins to grow a mind of it's own...
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Total Votes : 21

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spawnofjaws



Joined: 20 May 2008
Posts: 559
Location: North Carolina! And proud of it...!

PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 1:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

**hugs tin**
I don't know what you're talking about, either, but I know hugs help everything...except broken backs and necks....
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Tinalles
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Joined: 22 Mar 2008
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Location: Grand Forks

PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2009 7:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Okay, here's a breakdown of my annoyances in more detail for people who don't know the code.

1) The site uses tables for layout. That is, the site's been written as a series of tables nested within one another. Here's a pic showing all the table cells they've used:



Red table cells are top-level; green indicates tables cells which are nested inside other table cells.

Most of those table cells are only there for adding space, for example the space in between the body text and the links off on the right. This isn't what HTML tables were designed for -- they were designed for displaying tabular data. Using tables for layout like this has several major disadvantages. They're hard to maintain (which is not really an issue on this site because it's basically one single page), they require a LOT more code than is actually needed, and they're slow to render.

Back when the web was first getting started, tables were the only way anybody had to actually do layout at all. In their time, they were the only thing going. But that time is long past. We have style sheets now, which let you achieve the same effect with substantially less code, which is easier to maintain to boot.

2) They're using spacer GIFs. That is, some of the cells contain an invisible image called "pixel.gif" whose dimensions have been set to a specified size in order force the table cells to a particular width or height. Here's a picture showing the spacer GIFs:



Spacer GIFs and layout tables go hand-in-hand. Note that the site explicitly promotes the use of spacer GIFs (hence the big "PIXEL.GIF" badge, which, while we're on the topic, has misspelled the word "designer" as "deesnider").

That's fine, except that spacer GIFs are just as obsolete as using tables for layout. And if you fail to set ALT text on them, as many web designers do, they cause major accessibility problems. Which brings us to ...

3) Bad ALT text. The "alt" or "alternate" text is a textual description of the image. It's used for several things: if the image fails to load for some reason, the ALT text serves as a replacement so you can at least get an idea what was there. Google and other search engines use the ALT text as a source of keywords describing the image, so that they can tell what it is. And blind people who are listening to the page read aloud have to have ALT text, otherwise the screen reader will recite the image's full path and file name.

Adding ALT text is usually very simple. The HTML looks like this:

Code:
<img src="kitten.jpg" alt="A fluffy kitten" />


The IMG tells the browser that an image goes here. The SRC part tells the browser what image file to use. And the ALT text describes the image.

In the case of a spacer GIF, which does not add any intellectual content to the document at all, it's fine to set the alt text as blank, like this:

Code:
<img src="pics/pixel.gif" width="144" height="142" alt=" " />


Screen readers will silently skip this image because its alt text doesn't contain any pronounceable information. The site itself does this, which is good, but if you look at their directions for using a spacer GIF, they fail to mention the ALT text at all, which makes it much more likely that inexperienced designers will omit it, thereby making their sites really freaking hard for the blind to use.

In the case of images that contain text, the ALT text should repeat any textual information in the image, so that blind people get the same information as sighted people. The site completely fails to do this.

For example, see the heading at the top which says "loremipsum.net" in gray text? That's an image. It has ALT text, but the alt text is set as the entire text of the "lorem ipsum" paragraph below. Which is idiotic. It almost doubles the size of the file, and the blind won't know that the image actually says "loremipsum.net". Even more egregious are the directions for using a spacer GIF, where the entire text of the document is a background image, and the only thing in the document itself is the spacer GIF without alt text. Blind people won't have any idea what the page says, not to mention the fact that writing text into an image is THE single most inefficient way to transmit textual information on the web.

To get a sense for how the use of tables and the badly chosen ALT text affects the experience for blind visitors, listen to lorem ipsum.net as read by a screen reader (MP3, file size 3 MB). Note that it announces each table cell as it comes to it, and reads the lorem ipsum text twice instead of once because it's been set as the alt text for the heading image.

Now, all of this is rather dry and academic. And it's not my web site, so you may ask - "Why do you care?" If it were just somebody's personal blog or something, I might still be annoyed, but I'd let it go a lot easier.

The reason is that this site is commonly visited by beginning web designers, and it's explicitly promoting obsolete, inefficient, and inaccessible web design techniques. As such, it's harmful to the progression of web design as a professional discipline. And that BUGS ME NO END. GRAR! >.<

So, does that clear things up?
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Tyris



Joined: 14 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 1:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

And they can't spell "designer."

At least, we assume that's what "deesnider" is meant to mean.
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spellingmistax



Joined: 28 Jul 2009
Posts: 618
Location: Asa took this ^ I stole it ^_^

PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tin, did you notice the part where I said ‘blissful ignorance’?. This is a dramatization of what happened while I was reading your post.

Spellingmistax was happily and joyously wandering around in blissful ignorance. Then along came Tin (the villain, boo hiss) with stompy boots of knowledge and a big club of relevant information and in a voice filled with authority, dramatically stated, “Flee happy ignorance, for you have no place here”. Tin then proceeded to crush ignorance beneath their booted heel, all the while hitting Spellingmistax with relevant information and speaking thusly “This is why”. When Spellingmistax woke up all that was left of ignorance was an understanding of why Tin hated the site and a nagging suspicion that Tin had done him a favor.

Two things about the above post. 1) It was written on a whim. 2) It could be summed up by saying; That does clear things up admirably.
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while Udina asked the usual inane civilian things that came about while under attack: "What's happening? Who is shooting at us? I'm squishy and not wearing armor and I'm a liability, get me to safety, etc.
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Spellingmistax = mistax = ax = anthrax


Last edited by spellingmistax on Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:18 am; edited 1 time in total
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Asa



Joined: 10 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two things, Anthrax: 1) "That was written on a whim," not "on a whimsy," and 2) Tin's major function is to explain things nobody needs to know in a way that allows us to explain it to someone else.

And I loved your metaphor. It was hilarious. ^_^
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Tinalles
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 29, 2009 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heh. Back in the old forum before the crash of '07, somebody once accused me of wielding an Analysis Bazooka against hapless forumers. That made me laugh. In fiendish glee, of course. >:-D
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Miho



Joined: 11 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Speaking of glee.... has anyone seen that new t.v. show Glee?

I have not yet seen it but I hear mixed reviews about it. Right now I'm watching a series called Dead Like Me and my friend told me to watch Glee online when I get a chance, but I don't know if I can bring myself to watch it. P.s. yes I'm addicted to online t.v. shows.
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spellingmistax



Joined: 28 Jul 2009
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Location: Asa took this ^ I stole it ^_^

PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Asa it has been edited, and thanks for the complement. Also, Tin is very good at that function.

an Analysis Bazooka *whishes he had cool weapons of that sort*

Can't say I have Miho, sorry.
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"He gave you a life and you should cherish that treasure." - Benny

while Udina asked the usual inane civilian things that came about while under attack: "What's happening? Who is shooting at us? I'm squishy and not wearing armor and I'm a liability, get me to safety, etc.
dubbed Anthrax by Asa
Spellingmistax = mistax = ax = anthrax
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Tinu.



Joined: 23 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 5:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Psst. The crash happened in February 2008! *flees*

Hmm, so it's a show, I've been wondering what it was. No, I haven't heard any reviews on it. I've heard good things about Dead Like Me though - I've been wanting to watch it. Do you give a recommendation?
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Miho



Joined: 11 Apr 2008
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I give mucho recommendations para that one. Hulu's got both seasons. However, it's for mature audiences. Meaning, lots of language and once in a blue moon there's some... ehm. adult content. So far in only two episodes.

I would also like to give a shout out to Dr. Horribles Sing-Along Blog, Firefly, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer... and yes... I'm aware that's all Joss Whedon shtuff... but he's a genius. Straight up.
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theBSDude



Joined: 09 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 2:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Statement:

Ducks are the cutest birds.

Rebuttal?
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Nem



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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ducks are a synthetic concept, an amalgam of sense data given general form by equating that which is not equal - this thing over here to that thing over there - at a general level. 'Duck' is just a way you think about a certain pattern in the world, cuteness a relationship. Your eyes gaze only across the surface of things, picking out forms and concepts, properties and relations. The only way you can have a truth in that sense is by self-deception.
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theBSDude



Joined: 09 Jul 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmm, agree.

Counter Argument:

Chickens look like dinosaurs.
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spellingmistax



Joined: 28 Jul 2009
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Location: Asa took this ^ I stole it ^_^

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What do I counter? I have no idea what dinosaurs looked like, they may well have looked like chickens.
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"He gave you a life and you should cherish that treasure." - Benny

while Udina asked the usual inane civilian things that came about while under attack: "What's happening? Who is shooting at us? I'm squishy and not wearing armor and I'm a liability, get me to safety, etc.
dubbed Anthrax by Asa
Spellingmistax = mistax = ax = anthrax
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Tinu.



Joined: 23 Mar 2008
Posts: 3690
Location: The land of dreams

PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Correction: Chickens resemble Dodos. And Dodos resemble Oviraptors.
Though I suppose that does mean that chickens look like dinosaurs - in that case, the above is more of a clarification.

EDIT: This is an excellent site to look up Dino pics.
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