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Donald MacCormick


Poll Results: Clear as Mud

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Poll Results: Clear as Mud -- The 1,600 responses to our poll asking about your common responses to Web pages that display badly offer some valuable lessons.


  • If you're a Web page designer, you have a large vested interest in making your pages display correctly, since 71 percent of the people participating in the poll said that going to another page or site was a common response, whereas only 32 percent said they'd try to ignore the problem and 4 percent said they would futz with the HTML to make the page display. In short, you may have gotten the hits once, but you've lost a regular visitor.

  • Web browser developers should note that 32 percent of the people try reloading the page, since that sometimes clears up problems, 17 percent try tweaking browser options to make the page display better, and 20 percent try a different browser (though only 3 percent try Windows browsers). The moral? There's lots of room for improvement in making the browser display pages better for the user and adjusting automatically to wacky page layout so the user doesn't have to fiddle with browser options. I'd also note that loyalty is relatively low if 20 percent of respondents commonly switch browsers to view a page correctly.

  • Finally, even though only 6 percent of respondents said they commonly report problems, that's a sufficiently high number that if I were a webmaster, I'd whack on the designers to make sure the site worked properly for as many users as possible. Otherwise you'll be receiving a lot of unnecessary problem reports. [ACE]


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