I find the current state of web site development abysmal. While it would take pages and pages to enumerate the design shortcomings visible on the modern web, one that truly baffles me is sites where many active elements (links, buttons, fields) end up out of the viewable window space. This even on sites that appear to try to implement “responsive design.”

Back in the 1990’s, it was common for web sites to assume that 100% of their users were using Internet Explorer running on Windows 95. If you were creating a website (there weren’t yet “web developers”), it’s understandable that you might have such a tiny world view that you assumed everybody used the web like you do: with an Internet Explorer window expanded to full-screen, filling the entire 640x480 space with web content. You would then place elements accordingly.

It’s now almost thirty years later, and full-time “professional web developers” write sites that download megabytes of JavaScript libraries to implement “reactive design” yet, somehow, I still run across sites that assume the browser window is zoomed to full screen. They hide critical elements out of the visible area and force you to zoom and horizontally scroll. I see this in even expensive, high-end sites such as my bank’s.

That’s garbage design and a negligent lack of testing.


Addendum 2024-07-07

This isn’t just about aesthetics or convenience. This post was inspired by my bank’s web site. Banks are famously “where the money is” and cybersecurity failings are frequently traceable to an arrogant attitude of assuming you know — or need not care — about how your systems’ users and adversaries operate. Incorporating standard libraries without questioning their function, and failing to thoroughly test in diverse environments are what lead large organizations to become “victims” of security breaches.

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