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Browsing on the Bleeding Edge
There are so many new and exciting features of dHTML and other "bleeding edge" technologies, but often it's hard to decide whether to use them or not. Before you decide to develop the pages at the edge of HTML, there are some things to think about:
How many new features are on the page already?
If a page has too many flashing lights, gizmos, and special effects, the readers may be turned off rather than impressed. Also, things like java applets can take up system memory for the readers and can cause their browser to crash if there is too much going on.
A good rule of thumb is to limit the page to one special effect of any kind. This includes music, streaming video, java applets, fancy java scripts, and dynamic HTML
What are you trying to achieve with the effect?
Try to design the pages with purpose. If you want a rollover, add it to the areas of the page that might not be clicked on if you didn't call attention to them. Use dynamic positioning to serve a purpose. Fancy effects that are effective will enhance the Web page rather than detract from it.
Can you achieve the same effect with an older technology?
The older your effects are, the more likely it is that it will be supported by multiple browsers. If you can create a motion effect with an animated GIF, more people will get the point of the page than if you use Netscape layers and DHTML.
The more you can keep the site browser non-specific, the more readers you will have.
Do you want a browser specific effect; have you thought how other browsers will see the page?
Even though you may want people to only view the page with Internet Explorer 4.0, you can't control what browsers people use. Sites which look perfect in Internet Explorer 4.0 may not look good in Netscape 3.0 .They look strange and barren. They were designed to be viewed with a styles compatible browser, and no thought was given to browsers without styles.
When using an effect, keep in mind how other browsers will see (or not see) the effect. Many effects have built in support for non-compliant browsers. For example, if you use the IFRAME tag, you can include text inside the tags that can explain what the non-iframe compatible browser is missing.
Standards-Based Pages Are Best
The point of standards is that you can rely on them to stay the same, or at least be backwards compatible. When you build a standards compliant page, you're building a page for the future - that will last no matter what browsers come along
About the Author: Kyle Newton is a professional internet marketing specialist and can launch and manage your complete web presence from Web Design to internet marketing and offers a FREE SEO E-Book download at his site.