September 16, 2004

<paragraph><sentence type="normal"><pronoun>I</pronoun> <verb tense="present">wonder</verb> <adverb>how</adverb> <adjective degree="positive">insane</adjective> <pronoun>one</pronoun> <verb type="auxiliary" tense="present">can</verb> <verb tense="infinitive">go</verb> <preposition>with</preposition> <noun size="plural" countable="yes">markup languages</noun></sentence> <sentence type="normal"><adverb>Pretty</adverb> <adjective degre="positive">insane</adjective><comma /> <pronoun>I</prnoun> <verb type="auxiliary" tense="past">should</verb> <verb tense="present">say</verb></sentence> <sentence type="question"><verb tense="infinitive">Find</verb> <pronoun>it</pronoun> <adverb>hard</adverb> <particle>to</particle> <verb tense="present">read</verb></sentence> <sentence type="normal"><pronoun>Me</pronoun> <adverb>too</adverb></sentence></paragraph>

sentence[type="normal"]::after {
  content: ".";

sentence[type="question"]::after {
  content: "?";

comma {
  content: ",";

In case you're not willing to decipher the content that's being marked up, the above says "I wonder how insane one can go with markup languages. Pretty insane, I should say. Find it hard to read? Me too.". GrammarML anyone? :-)

Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox, a huge collection of articles he's written, continues to suck away my time. I really enjoy reading it, because it's clearly and concisely written and every document has an extensive array of outgoing links to peripheral subjects. All his links have very good titles, which makes it predictable where you'll end up after following the link (but you should expect that from a usability expert, shouldn't you?). Suffice it to say that his links have earned my complete trust. I don't like the extremely simple look of his articles; he should really increase the line-height and set a subtle background color. But that's nothing my user style sheet can't fix. (I really enjoy applying it and going fullscreen (F11) in Opera when reading long articles.)

Incidentally, I've fallen victim to mistake number six in Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design: Page Titles With Low Search Engine Visibility. It's fixed now; instead of "Håvard's web site - [title]", the <title> element (that's what shows up in the title bar of the browser) now contains "[title] (Håvard's web site)".

The incompetency of our school's "intranet" (it's not really an intranet since you have to log onto it via HTTP), it's:learning, infuriates me to no end. And this time it's not mainly because yet another <table> gets raped or that they specify several CSS declarations' values that are the initial values anyway (yes, they actually do that), but because of a few severe usability problems. The dropdown from which you choose which class to view information about has a redundant "Go" button; the page changes immediately after you select the option. This deviates from expected behavior, and leaves me wondering what the hell that button is doing there in the first place. Another, although not as serious, thing that bothers me is that the teachers apparently can't decide among themselves on which format to use for the options. Some use the full name of the class (such as Brukersystemer, the IT class I take), some use the class code (such as 3REL, the format I prefer) and yet some have the name of my school, followed by my group (3AFB), followed by my class, in parentheses, lowercased (Sola vgs 3AFB(krø))! Is some fucking consistency too much to ask for? (Technically I haven't, ehrm, asked yet, but I will. Believe me, I will.)

The highest usability hazard has to be the interchangable use of .doc files and PDFs for our time schedules and other miscellaneous information, all of which fit perfectly in HTML. It's seriously annoying to have to fire up Word or Adobe Acrobat Reader when I shouldn't have to.

Blasted incompetence...

On a more happy note, my HTML tutorial is really starting to shape up, XML and XSLT look enticing, CSS3 will rock your world, and my English teacher, Ivar Lein-Mathisen, kicks ass.

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