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Contest - Usability Best Practices


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147 replies to this topic

#136 qwerty

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Posted 08 August 2003 - 02:39 PM

Oh, by the way, this does seem to provide a great benefit when thinking about indexing spiders!

I've been experimenting with that myself. Can you talk a bit more about the results you've been seeing?

#137 leftbrain

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Posted 08 August 2003 - 03:13 PM

Hi All:

One issue I have been bumping into lately is the need to maintain compatiblity with Netscape Version 4.x. I'm fairly new at site design and CSS. The number of CSS selectors that don't work properly in Netscape 4 is enough to make me want to hunt down all those users and ... well, let's not go there. I discovered recently that some of these users have no choice in browsers, at least in their workplace.

I'm working on a site for a company that is producing a TV documentary on the Vietnam War. One of the company owners relayed a message to me from a gentleman who was having trouble viewing the site in Netscape 4. And not just any gentleman, but one of those who had been interviewed for the documentary. Turns out he works for a major defense contractor with 30,000 employees, and they ALL use Netscape 4. Upgrading would take "an act of Congress" (his words, not mine), as the browser software interacts with other aspects of their computer systems.

OK, so I had to go back and re-work everything, and I learned some new things, and maybe the site is the better for it. Just wanted to put my 2 cents in, and caution everyone to keep those older browsers in mind.

By the way, I am in the middle of reading Andrew B. King's excellent book, "Speed Up Your Site." Highly recommended. Too bad many of the tips won't work in Netscape 4.... :aloha:

#138 pageoneresults

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Posted 08 August 2003 - 03:14 PM

Hey there qwerty, you want me to reveal all of my secrets upon my arrival? ;)

I cannot pinpoint the exact benefits of the Absolute Positioning but I can give you an overall summation of what happens when you combine that with other elements of search engine marketing.

What's a spider do when it requests your page? Reads the server header, the page header and then page content.

Are spiders programmed to inhale only so much code before moving on to other pages? According to Google, they (Googlebot) used to have a limit of 101k although I'm not certain if that still applies today, I have no pages that go over the 101k estimated limit.

If the spider is programmed to index only so much k, then you want to make sure that your most important content is right there at the beginning of the page, just as the visitor views it in their browser. We also know from experience that the focus is given to content that appears closer to the <body> tag in the html. Don't believe me? Look back in history and view some of those pages in the top ten, eek! I had a few. ;)

Plain vanilla html mixed with well planned CSS can improve a sites overall usability and visibility. Think usability first and visibility usually follows suit. If you build for the visitor using well formed html/xhtml, you are that much further ahead in the next generation of site design.

Since I've been using this methodology for over two years, I have no clue what it is that is working, I just know it works. After 7 years, it is more habit than anything else. ;)

#139 Jill

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Posted 08 August 2003 - 03:18 PM

Welcome, Leftbrain! :aloha:

Jill

#140 qwerty

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Posted 08 August 2003 - 04:31 PM

My hope is that sites I build this way are more likely to contain content in a Google snippet (rather than, for example, the alt text of the navigation buttons, which are going much further down in the actual HTML) when the page comes up in a SERP for a keyword phrase that isn't in the visible text.

I'm also hoping that people on incredibly slow connections (I know they're out there) are going to have something worthwhile to read while they wait for a given page to finish loading.

It would be great if you're right that putting the content at the beginning of the body will help in spidering too. I'll have to see what kind of results I get.

#141 pageoneresults

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Posted 08 August 2003 - 05:13 PM

With all things being equal besides html markup, this...

<body>
<div class="name">
<h1>Heading</h1>
<p>Paragraph 1 content</p>
</div>

...will outperform this...

<body>
<table>
<td>
<tr>
<!-- A bunch of markup code here for the tables, cells, etc that make up navigation and any other elements that are before the core content. -->
<h1>Heading</h1>
<p>Paragraph 1 content</p>
</tr>
</td>
</table>

This is based on my experiences. Mileage may vary depending on your driving conditions.

#142 pageoneresults

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Posted 08 August 2003 - 05:20 PM

qwerty, I've found that Google snippets are a little more concise when working with content positioning. Rarely will I ever see navigation elements appearing in snippets. If they do, it is because of the way Google extrapolates the snippet and found the words in proximity to something else on the page.

#143 Webnauts

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Posted 26 September 2003 - 08:42 AM

This thread is so large, that I cannot really tell what is missing and what not.
And that is not a so good usability, or? :lol:

Is someone planning here to put all the cool stuff of this thread on a kind of list?
That would be very interesting.

By the way I would at least like to invite you at my first thread:
http://www.highranki...?showtopic=1005

#144 BrianR

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Posted 26 September 2003 - 05:35 PM

I agree, Webnauts.

So, Horsecove, when are you going to publish the article in Jill's newsletter that you promised w-a-y back at the beginning of this thread!?

BrianR

#145 qwerty

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Posted 26 September 2003 - 05:39 PM

She published it on her own site, Brian: http://www.keyreleva...bility-tips.htm
(Actually, it's a working draft, but it looks very useful.)

#146 Webnauts

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Posted 26 September 2003 - 05:46 PM

She published it on her own site, Brian: http://www.keyreleva...bility-tips.htm
(Actually, it's a working draft, but it looks very useful.)

I am very impressed! I will promote this page! GREAT WORK!
I already published in my own forum!

#147 BrianR

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Posted 26 September 2003 - 06:07 PM

Thanks for pointing that out, qwerty - it's good stuff!

And a hearty 'well done' to horsecove too. And a thankyou.

BrianR

#148 Webnauts

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Posted 27 September 2003 - 12:45 PM

I think this is not mentioned here.

Tip: "Using bold text for emphasis has the opposite result when read by people with dyslexia."




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