I’ve not been able to find much time to write articles for my own blog recently. However, I have written an article for our Internet Development blog.
The article covers web stats and discusses what you can and can’t tell about your audience: That most secretive of animals, your website audience
I must admit I was surprised when the Email Standards Project (http://www.email-standards.org/) launched recently. The project aims to explain why Web standards are important for email. To any techie worth their salt the whole idea must grate horribly. After all, the Web is not email and email is not the Web.
I, and I can’t be alone, just want plain text emails rather than the bloated rubbish punted out by the marketing department (because they can and not because they should). I read my mail on a variety of different devices from my mobile to a desktop PC and using a number of different clients from Thunderbird to Pine. I don’t want to waste time/money by downloading HTML email to my phone (by paying for the extra bandwidth) and is my experience of reading an email really enriched by having it rendered in whatever colour/font the sender thinks I need to see?
There are few things that will make your site look more unprofessional than users following a broken link and receiving a 404 – File not found message. For a good developer it’s easy to ensure that a site is free from broken links. If you’re a Linux user you can use ht://check, if you prefer Windows you can use Xenu and Mac users can try BLT.
However, not all Web developers are as diligent (or competent) as you are. I’m sure you choose Cool URIs that never change and, in those very few circumstances where you do have to change a URI, you put in a proper server-side redirect. However, what about those other Web developers, the ones that link to you, how many of them check links after they’ve created them?
What do you do if another developer makes a mess of linking to you so that it causes a 404 Page Not Found error on your site?
Web site testing is one of those things, like sticking to the speed limit on motorways, that everyone says they’ll do but, in reality, most don’t. Like speeding you have the potential to get somewhere more quickly but to do so you must take risks that can be very costly.
Almost without fail, testing will be the one area of a project that’s cut by a client if money or time get tight. In a lot of cases a developer will be told “We don’t need external testers, we’ll just get the guys in the office to give it the once over” or worse still “We’ll fix any problems after we launch”. Continue reading