explaining web standards to clients

Discussion in 'HTML' started by Jeff Fritz, Oct 17, 2005.

  1. Jeff  Fritz

    Jeff Fritz Guest

    I've started out by coding websites for myself - but eventually have
    moved on to making websites as projects for people. Originally, when
    doing personal websites, I had the leisure of taking my time and coding
    however I wanted - however, when coding for someone else, they often
    want things done a certain way.

    It's hard explain to someone non technically-savvy about what's the
    best way to code a website - they often want a feature that isn't
    exactly in line with coding standards. So basically, you have to
    explain to them in as simple terms as possible, the advantages of
    coding according to web standards.

    For example, take excessive javascript code - many clients or users
    might want you to make a website that has some fancy flashing text or
    needless image effects using javascript. It might work fine for your
    user, who has a mainstream windows PC that runs these effects fine.

    However, you need to make your user realize that not everyone's PC is
    equal - and thus as a result, javascript in one person's browser
    might completely bog down their computer's resources so much, that it
    virtually renders it useless. In others, javascript might not even be
    supported. So, any functionality of the site that relies on javascript
    will be inaccessible by these users.

    It's impossible to track down all of the combinations of users'
    operating systems, computer speeds, and browser software, so it is best
    just to stay away from javascript altogether. When making an
    informational or commercial website, it's very important to take your
    audience into consideration.

    If you're making a vending site that sells computer parts, most likely
    your audience will be computer savvy and may be able to handle some
    javascript elements. However, if you're making a general information
    page on a topic, you should make your page as clear and accessible as
    possible.

    So, that's just one aspect of code that you may not see eye to eye
    with your user about. However, explain it to them in easy to
    understand concepts, and they will have an easier time comprehending.
     
    Jeff Fritz, Oct 17, 2005
    #1
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  2. Jeff Fritz wrote:
    > It's hard explain to someone non technically-savvy about what's the
    > best way to code a website - they often want a feature that isn't
    > exactly in line with coding standards....


    As it should be, it is their site. You can tell them all the benefits
    in the world about how a properly coded website is more acessible, or
    that usibility is better, bla bla bla. But they don't care. Their
    competition's website has a fancy purple spinner, and theirs should
    too.

    After you explain the advantages of a propperly coded website, it is in
    their ball park. If they want the fancy purple spinny thing, then give
    it to them, or they will take their business to someone that will.

    You can then walk away knowing you did the honorable thing. But
    someone else walks away with a paycheck for making the fancy purple
    spinner....

    --
    -=tn=-
     
    Travis Newbury, Oct 17, 2005
    #2
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  3. Jeff  Fritz

    Andy Dingley Guest

    Travis Newbury wrote:

    > If they want the fancy purple spinny thing, then give
    > it to them, or they will take their business to someone that will.


    It depends on what your role is. If you're there as a lowly web-grunt
    (someone who codes what they're told), then get spinning. If you're
    there as a consultant (someone who offers to make ecomm work), then you
    have to explain to them why they shouldn't use the dancing penguin, or
    else you leave gracefully. The last thing you want is for your
    long-term reputation to become "The guy who made the awful site for
    FooCo where you couldn't see the content for purple spinny stuff".
     
    Andy Dingley, Oct 17, 2005
    #3
  4. Jeff  Fritz

    Neredbojias Guest

    With neither quill nor qualm, Jeff Fritz quothed:

    > I've started out by coding websites for myself - but eventually have
    > moved on to making websites as projects for people. Originally, when
    > doing personal websites, I had the leisure of taking my time and coding
    > however I wanted - however, when coding for someone else, they often
    > want things done a certain way.
    >
    > It's hard explain to someone non technically-savvy about what's the
    > best way to code a website - they often want a feature that isn't
    > exactly in line with coding standards. So basically, you have to
    > explain to them in as simple terms as possible, the advantages of
    > coding according to web standards.
    >
    > For example, take excessive javascript code - many clients or users
    > might want you to make a website that has some fancy flashing text or
    > needless image effects using javascript. It might work fine for your
    > user, who has a mainstream windows PC that runs these effects fine.
    >
    > However, you need to make your user realize that not everyone's PC is
    > equal - and thus as a result, javascript in one person's browser
    > might completely bog down their computer's resources so much, that it
    > virtually renders it useless. In others, javascript might not even be
    > supported. So, any functionality of the site that relies on javascript
    > will be inaccessible by these users.
    >
    > It's impossible to track down all of the combinations of users'
    > operating systems, computer speeds, and browser software, so it is best
    > just to stay away from javascript altogether. When making an
    > informational or commercial website, it's very important to take your
    > audience into consideration.
    >
    > If you're making a vending site that sells computer parts, most likely
    > your audience will be computer savvy and may be able to handle some
    > javascript elements. However, if you're making a general information
    > page on a topic, you should make your page as clear and accessible as
    > possible.
    >
    > So, that's just one aspect of code that you may not see eye to eye
    > with your user about. However, explain it to them in easy to
    > understand concepts, and they will have an easier time comprehending.


    You could always add a link on the page to shut off the active content
    crap.

    --
    Neredbojias
    Contrary to popular belief, it is believable.
     
    Neredbojias, Oct 17, 2005
    #4
  5. Jeff  Fritz

    Rossz Guest

    Jeff Fritz wrote:

    > If you're making a vending site that sells computer parts, most likely
    > your audience will be computer savvy


    And therefore will have wisely turned it off!

    If you use real world figures for browser usage, you will lose this
    argument. The vast majority of people are running Window boxes and
    Internet Explorer with the default settings.

    Personally, I work with the standard and only deviate when absolutely
    necessary to get something to work in IE. I _NEVER_ use javascript in
    such a way that it is required. For example, I'll use javascript to set
    the focus in the first element of a form, it's a nice feature if it
    works and the page doesn't break if javascript is turned off. Using
    javascript based links to open other pages breaks all kinds of shit,
    including (and this might get their attention) "Search Engine
    Optimization" (I'm trying to be buzzword complient).

    A few simple arguments.

    1. Standards complient pages are easier to maintain.
    2. Standards complient pages load faster.
    3. Standards complient pages make search engines happier.
    4. Standards complient pages are easier to make accessible to people
    with disabilities (e.g. blind).
    5. Standards complient pages usually use less bandwidth
    6. Javascript should be used to improve the experience for the user, but
    the lack of it should never prevent the page from being usable.
    7. Javascript is usually not Search Engine friendly.
    8. Flash is not Search Engine friendly (besides, it's evil).
    9. ActiveX is evil incarnate and anyone who uses it is going to hell.
    Plus, God kills a kitten and a puppy each time someone uses ActiveX.

    --
    Rossz
     
    Rossz, Oct 18, 2005
    #5
  6. Jeff  Fritz

    Mark Parnell Guest

    In our last episode, Rossz <> pronounced to
    alt.html:

    > For example, I'll use javascript to set
    > the focus in the first element of a form, it's a nice feature if it
    > works


    I beg to differ. Unless there is only one form element on the page, and
    the form is the whole purpose of the page (e.g. Google's home page), I
    find it really annoying.

    --
    Mark Parnell
    http://clarkecomputers.com.au
    alt.html FAQ :: http://html-faq.com/
     
    Mark Parnell, Oct 18, 2005
    #6
  7. On Tue, 18 Oct 2005 10:10:25 +1000, Mark Parnell
    <> wrote:

    >In our last episode, Rossz <> pronounced to
    >alt.html:
    >
    >> For example, I'll use javascript to set
    >> the focus in the first element of a form, it's a nice feature if it
    >> works

    >
    >I beg to differ. Unless there is only one form element on the page, and
    >the form is the whole purpose of the page (e.g. Google's home page), I
    >find it really annoying.
    >


    It annoys me. I tend to use the backspace button to go back in teh
    browser history, and I hate it when the cursor gets "stuck" in a form
    field.

    Nick

    --
    Nick Theodorakis

    contact form:
    http://theodorakis.net/contact.html
     
    Nick Theodorakis, Oct 18, 2005
    #7
  8. Jeff  Fritz

    rossz Guest

    Mark Parnell wrote:
    > In our last episode, Rossz <> pronounced to
    > alt.html:
    >
    >
    >>For example, I'll use javascript to set
    >>the focus in the first element of a form, it's a nice feature if it
    >>works

    >
    >
    > I beg to differ. Unless there is only one form element on the page, and
    > the form is the whole purpose of the page (e.g. Google's home page), I
    > find it really annoying.


    I agree. I wouldn't set the focus in a search box that's way in the
    lower right corner, but when the whole purpose of a particular page is
    the form, then setting the focus simply makes life easier.

    --
    Rossz
     
    rossz, Oct 18, 2005
    #8
  9. Jeff  Fritz

    dorayme Guest

    > From: "Andy Dingley" <>
    >
    > Travis Newbury wrote:
    >
    >> If they want the fancy purple spinny thing, then give
    >> it to them, or they will take their business to someone that will.

    >
    > It depends on what your role is. If you're there as a lowly web-grunt
    > (someone who codes what they're told), then get spinning. If you're
    > there as a consultant (someone who offers to make ecomm work), then you
    > have to explain to them why they shouldn't use the dancing penguin, or
    > else you leave gracefully. The last thing you want is for your
    > long-term reputation to become "The guy who made the awful site for
    > FooCo where you couldn't see the content for purple spinny stuff".
    >


    Well said indeed!

    dorayme
     
    dorayme, Oct 18, 2005
    #9
  10. Andy Dingley wrote:
    > Travis Newbury wrote:
    > > If they want the fancy purple spinny thing, then give
    > > it to them, or they will take their business to someone that will.

    > It depends on what your role is. If you're there as a lowly web-grunt
    > (someone who codes what they're told), then get spinning. If you're
    > there as a consultant (someone who offers to make ecomm work), then you
    > have to explain to them why they shouldn't use the dancing penguin, or
    > else you leave gracefully.


    So you are telling me that if company XYZ came up to you and said "here
    is a contract that will pretty much set you up for the next year or
    two, but we want a dancing penguin. Your reply would be "I am sorry,
    my web morals will not let me make such a site for you."

    Mine would be, "Will it be dancing to the right or left, and what color
    would you like...."

    In the real world (outside of alt.html) It is easier to sell a client
    on wiz-bang than not. (And wiz-bang != ecomm not working)

    --
    -=tn=-
     
    Travis Newbury, Oct 18, 2005
    #10
  11. dorayme wrote:
    > > Travis Newbury wrote:
    > >> If they want the fancy purple spinny thing, then give
    > >> it to them, or they will take their business to someone that will.

    > > It depends on what your role is. If you're there as a lowly web-grunt
    > > (someone who codes what they're told), then get spinning. If you're
    > > there as a consultant (someone who offers to make ecomm work), then you
    > > have to explain to them why they shouldn't use the dancing penguin, or
    > > else you leave gracefully. The last thing you want is for your
    > > long-term reputation to become "The guy who made the awful site for
    > > FooCo where you couldn't see the content for purple spinny stuff".

    > Well said indeed!


    So you explain to them and they still want it. Do you leave? I don't.
    I make the purple spinner work.

    --
    -=tn=-
     
    Travis Newbury, Oct 18, 2005
    #11
  12. Jeff  Fritz

    Dylan Parry Guest

    Using a pointed stick and pebbles, Travis Newbury scraped:

    > So you are telling me that if company XYZ came up to you and said "here
    > is a contract that will pretty much set you up for the next year or
    > two, but we want a dancing penguin. Your reply would be "I am sorry,
    > my web morals will not let me make such a site for you."


    My reply would be "Okay. I'll look in to that 'dancing penguin thing' as
    I have a feeling it will be /very/ expensive, but sure I'll try hard to
    give you the best dancing penguin there is." Then I would spend the next
    two years procrastinating about the penguin, give them something much
    better and they would forget they ever asked for it.

    --
    Dylan Parry
    http://webpageworkshop.co.uk -- FREE Web tutorials and references
     
    Dylan Parry, Oct 18, 2005
    #12
  13. Dylan Parry wrote:
    > > So you are telling me that if company XYZ came up to you and said "here
    > > is a contract that will pretty much set you up for the next year or
    > > two, but we want a dancing penguin. Your reply would be "I am sorry,
    > > my web morals will not let me make such a site for you."

    >
    > My reply would be "Okay. I'll look in to that 'dancing penguin thing' as
    > I have a feeling it will be /very/ expensive, but sure I'll try hard to
    > give you the best dancing penguin there is." Then I would spend the next
    > two years procrastinating about the penguin, give them something much
    > better and they would forget they ever asked for it.


    The procrastinating might get you fired by that one Marketing VP who is
    anal about his dancing Penguin. (And you are making the assumption
    that the dancng penguin and ecommerce are mutually exclusive)

    I am not saying it is "right", or even in the best interest for the
    company, but it is the way the real world works. Humans (especially us
    rich bloviating corporate Americans) like shiny things.

    --
    -=tn=-
     
    Travis Newbury, Oct 18, 2005
    #13
  14. Jeff  Fritz

    Andy Dingley Guest

    On 18 Oct 2005 02:35:06 -0700, "Travis Newbury"
    <> wrote:

    >So you are telling me that if company XYZ came up to you and said [..]


    > Your reply would be "I am sorry,
    >my web morals will not let me make such a site for you."


    Yes. It's only a contract. I have to think about three things:

    Do I want to do it?

    Does it pay?

    Where does it leave me afterwards, in terms of what I want to do next?

    Now penguin wrangling fails on the first and usually third (maybe I like
    penguins, I just don't think they're appropriate here). There's also no
    real implication that it will pay any better than some other contract.


    >a contract that will pretty much set you up for the next year or
    >two, but we want a dancing penguin.


    I haven't had a contract that would "set me up for the next year or two"
    since 2000 or so. The stuff out there these days is penny-pinching
    little dog-ends of jobs. You have to look at the big picture for one
    thing because the little pictures just aren't a big enough bribe any
    more!


    Incidentally, I finished a contract today. At one point I said, directly
    to my boss' face, that the line of CSS he wanted (absolute font size in
    pixels) was written on a post-it in front of him. I explained to him
    what it did, why I wouldn't use it, and quite clearly not a word of it
    sank in. I then told him I simply _wasn't_ going to code such a line
    into the CSS because it was Wrong and that if that ended the contract
    there and then I was quite happy about it. The site is still using ems
    as it ought and I was there for some time afterwards.

    Now maybe tomorrow they'll change it, but that's their right. I'll cut
    corners if they want, but I'll not do something that's just plain wrong.
     
    Andy Dingley, Oct 18, 2005
    #14
  15. Jeff  Fritz

    TJ Guest

    Andy Dingley wrote:

    > On 18 Oct 2005 02:35:06 -0700, "Travis Newbury"
    > <> wrote:
    >
    >> So you are telling me that if company XYZ came up to you and said
    >> [..]

    >
    >> Your reply would be "I am sorry,
    >> my web morals will not let me make such a site for you."

    >
    > Yes.


    Bull.

    > It's only a contract.


    "*only* a contract"?

    > I have to think about three things:
    >
    > Do I want to do it?
    >
    > Does it pay?
    >
    > Where does it leave me afterwards, in terms of what I want to do next?


    So which is it? Is it that you don't really care about feeding your family
    as long as your "web morals" remain intact, or are you independantly
    wealthy?

    > Now penguin wrangling fails on the first and usually third (maybe I
    > like penguins, I just don't think they're appropriate here). There's
    > also no real implication that it will pay any better than some other
    > contract.


    So long as it pays? Personally, I don't care.

    >> a contract that will pretty much set you up for the next year or
    >> two, but we want a dancing penguin.

    >
    > I haven't had a contract that would "set me up for the next year or
    > two" since 2000 or so. The stuff out there these days is
    > penny-pinching little dog-ends of jobs. You have to look at the big
    > picture for one thing because the little pictures just aren't a big
    > enough bribe any more!


    Without even realizing it, you just shot down your own argument.

    > Incidentally, I finished a contract today. At one point I said,
    > directly to my boss' face, that the line of CSS he wanted (absolute
    > font size in pixels) was written on a post-it in front of him. I
    > explained to him what it did, why I wouldn't use it, and quite
    > clearly not a word of it sank in.


    Exactly. Your boss want's what HE (and likely HIS boss) wants, NOT what YOU
    want.

    > I then told him I simply _wasn't_
    > going to code such a line into the CSS because it was Wrong and that
    > if that ended the contract there and then I was quite happy about it.


    Hopefully he fired your ass right on outta there. I would have.

    > The site is still using ems as it ought and I was there for some time
    > afterwards.
    >
    > Now maybe tomorrow they'll change it, but that's their right. I'll cut
    > corners if they want, but I'll not do something that's just plain
    > wrong.


    You should quit if they ever ask you to make a purple, spinny-thing.
     
    TJ, Oct 18, 2005
    #15
  16. Andy Dingley <> said:
    > Incidentally, I finished a contract today. At one point I said,
    > directly to my boss' face, that the line of CSS he wanted
    > (absolute font size in pixels) was written on a post-it in front
    > of him. I explained to him what it did, why I wouldn't use it,
    > and quite clearly not a word of it sank in. I then told him I
    > simply _wasn't_ going to code such a line into the CSS because
    > it was Wrong and that if that ended the contract there and then
    > I was quite happy about it.


    Though the example is anecdotal, Knowing you from this group it is
    exactly what you should have done. (I would have been disappointed
    had you said anything to the contrary.)

    On the other hand, in similar situation (with web applications not
    websites, but equally anecdotal) I have told contracts that what
    they wanted to do was either stupid or at the very lease
    ineffective as a solution. Sometimes they change, some times they
    don't. I stick with them in either case. And I too get called
    back on a regular basis. Sometimes to fix what I told them was
    broke in the first place.

    Had that contract let you go you would have won because you did
    what you believed was right. I do the same.


    --
    -=tn=-
     
    Travis Newbury, Oct 19, 2005
    #16
  17. Jeff  Fritz

    TJ Guest

    Travis Newbury wrote:

    <snip>

    > Had that contract let you go you would have won because you did
    > what you believed was right. I do the same.


    Then you're as big a fool as the OP.

    You're asking me to believe that you'd deliberately throw away money over
    "web-morals" = nothing?

    What the hell? If you're not trolling this group is more f-ed up than I
    thought.

    It's like some kind of Televangelist thing with bits of useful info thrown
    in for distraction. LOL!

    Y'all GO!

    Please! You ALL keep fighting the "good fight". PLEASE!

    Y'all just keep making sure your sites are drab, dull, W3C compliant, and
    boring.

    Meanwhile? I'll keep giving my clients all the purple, spinny-things they
    want, snatch tips from this group, and continue taking $ out of your
    collective pockets.

    Sheesh! For folks that are so obviously *very* intelligent, most of ya
    sure are stupid in your own special ways.

    :)
     
    TJ, Oct 19, 2005
    #17
  18. Jeff  Fritz

    dorayme Guest

    > From: "Travis Newbury" <>

    > dorayme wrote:
    >>> Travis Newbury wrote:
    >>>> If they want the fancy purple spinny thing, then give
    >>>> it to them, or they will take their business to someone that will.
    >>> It depends on what your role is. If you're there as a lowly web-grunt
    >>> (someone who codes what they're told), then get spinning. If you're
    >>> there as a consultant (someone who offers to make ecomm work), then you
    >>> have to explain to them why they shouldn't use the dancing penguin, or
    >>> else you leave gracefully. The last thing you want is for your
    >>> long-term reputation to become "The guy who made the awful site for
    >>> FooCo where you couldn't see the content for purple spinny stuff".

    >> Well said indeed!

    >
    > So you explain to them and they still want it. Do you leave? I don't.
    > I make the purple spinner work.
    >



    You make it sound simpler than it is in practice. I have said
    this before, a lot depends on the respect the co have for you.
    You are usually, if you are any good and they are not very bad,
    able to influence them to some extent. Sure, things get to be a
    matter of compromise. But, for what it is worth, I like Andy
    Dingley's starting position on this. You are a disgraceful
    trollop Travis, a taxi for hire, a mercenary with no morals... I
    want that you should attend my Thurs evening Ethics classes...
    (Credit card details please?)

    :)

    dorayme

    (Do note the smiley Travis, and you also take a couple of chill
    pills, I took mine as you suggested!)
     
    dorayme, Oct 19, 2005
    #18
  19. Jeff  Fritz

    dorayme Guest

    > From: "Travis Newbury" <>
    > Dylan Parry wrote:
    >> So you are telling me that if company XYZ came up to you and said "here
    >> is a contract that will pretty much set you up for the next year or
    >> two, but we want a dancing penguin. Your reply would be "I am sorry,
    >> my web morals will not let me make such a site for you."

    >
    > My reply would be "Okay. I'll look in to that 'dancing penguin thing' as
    > I have a feeling it will be /very/ expensive, but sure I'll try hard to
    > give you the best dancing penguin there is." Then I would spend the next
    > two years procrastinating about the penguin, give them something much
    > better and they would forget they ever asked for it.


    >The procrastinating might get you fired by that one Marketing VP who is
    >anal about his dancing Penguin. (And you are making the assumption
    >that the dancng penguin and ecommerce are mutually exclusive)


    >I am not saying it is "right", or even in the best interest for the
    >company, but it is the way the real world works. Humans (especially us
    >rich bloviating corporate Americans) like shiny things.



    No, Parry has hit the nail on the head about stalling,
    influencing etc. That is the real world. You have a fantasy
    picture of a hard bitten remorseless uncompromising world. Don't
    be so cynical.

    dorayme
     
    dorayme, Oct 19, 2005
    #19
  20. Jeff  Fritz

    dorayme Guest

    > From: Andy Dingley <>
    >
    > Now maybe tomorrow they'll change it, but that's their right. I'll cut
    > corners if they want, but I'll not do something that's just plain wrong.



    I like this. I like it a lot. Travis, you are facing a solid
    wall of integrity here. Stop fighting, You are lost.

    dorayme
     
    dorayme, Oct 19, 2005
    #20
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