The 8 Most Misused Tools on the Web

Posted by: Rea Maor In: Internet and SEO - Wednesday, August 8th, 2007

Gimp for printing and photo work. It’s great that we have the free alternative of Gimp for those of us who just want to draw up some quick graphics without forking $800 over to Adobe. But even the Gimp development team makes it very clear that Gimp is not intended to be a Photoshop replacement. They say nothing in the “What Gimp Is:” section about print and photo work. People should stop expecting this of it.

PDF for web content. Why in heaven’s name can I still click a link on a web page and get a PDF document in 2007??? PDF can not be displayed in a web browser. It needs an exterior program just to read it. Having two programs open just to read text that should have been in HTML is an annoying hassle. Stop it!

MS Word for eBooks and email. MS Word is your best friend if you are composing office documents in an office, whose only audience will be other office workers in the same company, so you will know that everybody has the same copy of MS Word installed. But MS Word isn’t a publishing medium – not everybody uses it, the platforms that can access it at all have buggy and ineffective support, it isn’t consistent from one version to another even on its native platform – and, like PDF, it needs a special program just to read it. Hint!

Flash for your whole site. Eleven years after Vincent Flanders showed the world what is wrong with this, and you still have Flash-only sites that make you sit through their dumb 20-minute intro when all you wanted to do was come there and find out some quick information or, God forbid, order something. It’s a computer, not an opera theater. Drop the singing and dancing crap, and you just might have to stand on your merits as a web business. gasp!

Firefox extensions for marketing. Lately it seems you can’t go looking for Firefox add-ons without running into a hundred ways to install ad-ware on your browser. These pieces of obnoxious ad-ware are called “toolbars”, but we aren’t fooled for a minute. The difference between Internet Explorer and Firefox is that you have to specifically install your ad-ware in Firefox. Aw, bummer!

Photoshop for web layout. Photoshop is great for graphics work; designing the web page graphical elements in Photoshop is fine. But Photoshop is not a WYSIWYG HTML editor. Too many sites out there think that all you have to do is draw a web page in Photoshop, chop it up into block, and display the blocks on the web page with absolute positioning tags. This invariably leads to a broken web layout with the blocks being bigger, smaller, out of alignment, or overlapping in just about everybody’s web browser but the designers. It ends up looking like a Tetris game that somebody lost.

Tables for web layout, as opposed to CSS. Last I checked, it’s 2007. We have this new invention as of 1997 called CSS – perhaps we’ve all heard of it? Tables are fine for drawing a chart, which presents tabled data. Web pages are not charts. Using tables for the whole web page layout looks like you built it out of Legos and you only had one size of brick to work with.

Web-safe colors for color scheme. It’s dead -let it die. The last time a computer was made that could only show 216 colors was the mid-1990s. The web-safe color table makes a great palette for a bowl of Froot Loops, an opened can of radioactive fruit cocktail, or a science-fiction comic book about day-glo aliens. It’s lousy for everything else.


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4 Responses to “The 8 Most Misused Tools on the Web”

  1. Darren Says:

    LMAO! Brilliant rant. I couldn’t agree more with any of these. Running into a Word document on the web makes me want to vomit. What need is there for such a bloated file when html can do the same faster on the web.

    Great article!

  2. yyy Says:

    “PDF can not be displayed in a web browser. ”

    Well, actually it can… but still through external software’s plugin (adobe reader). I find it very annoying though…

  3. spoonyfts Says:

    Just a quick reply to ‘yyy’:

    “PDF can not be displayed in a web browser. It needs an exterior program just to read it.”

    Rea already qualified his statement regarding PDF’s not being displayed in a web browser.. And its not only annoying.. the adobe browser pdf plugin is barely a plugin these days.. it launches so many overheads (basically the entire reader) and so many people have so many problems with it crashes or hanging around afterwards.. It’s an abomination.

    PDF’s are great for ebooks.. and things going to print, but thats about it.

  4. Leah Says:

    I disagree on the GIMP and applaud the rest. The GIMP can do just about anything photoshop can, and I’m not paying $798 for two features. The GIMP’s more powerful features are hidden–you have to stumble across them to find them, pretty much.

    And YES–I am **SO** sick of photoshop web layout and PDF. I mean, if I’m printing something or reading a book, give me PDF, but _Come One People_!

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