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Requiring Unnecessary Features or Plug-ins for Navigation

Not everybody has a browser that supports ActiveX, JavaScript, Java cookies, or Flash. We may have browsers that can’t handle those features, or browser versions that don’t include them. (For example, Opera offers both Java and non-Java versions.) Many of us have deliberately chosen to turn off some or all of these features, or our firewalls and other security tools may block them.

Viewed from a non-JavaScript browser, a surprising number of top-level web pages show nothing but an empty white window, seem to have no navigation bars, or contain large blank areas where I suspect there should be content. The page may have things that look like they should be links, but aren’t, or have links that can’t be clicked.

Equally irritating are unnecessary security obstacles, such as calling for SSL, certificates, or an account to get to information that should be freely and easily available. The key word here is unnecessary. Obviously, you need to restrict access to customer accounts and private information. But if you want any visitor to be able to find and get information, you shouldn’t make it unnecessarily difficult.

Also, don’t design for specific screen resolutions or window sizes. If you must specify sizes, don’t make windows so wide that we have to side-scroll just to read the right-hand inch or two of text.

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