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AOL compliance

To those who are interested, here's an e-mail from a friend doing BIG time sites.

From: 	Mattbsmith@aol.com[SMTP:Mattbsmith@aol.com]
Sent: 	Wednesday, February 21, 1996 5:01 PM
To: 	aug@ix.netcom.com
Subject: 	Re: Java World


On AOL compliance when designing web pages...

I HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE HATE it, but  HAD HAD HAD HAD HAD to do it. For the sole fact the Joe Average is too stupid to set up a PPP
connection, so he gets his access through AOL. He sees what's out there
through some cloudy glasses, but he sees it nonetheless. Those of us that are
building cyberspace - sure, we've got the hot rod of browsers to work with.
We've got secure sockets, we've got Java, VRML, all teh cool toys. But Joe
AOL doesn't.

And Joe AOL is the guy who spends his money where he chooses. So, if a
business wants to hit a target market on the web, they'd better do it AOL
compliant, or risk looking shitty to the potential customer. Joe AOL doesn't
KNOW that those garbage characters that are coming up on his screen (right
below the applet holder that is thrown off to the side) are supposed to do
something in Netscape - he doesn't care, he just considers it sloppy
programming on the part of the business. From there, his impression of the
business' brand goes downhill, creating a lose-lose situation for all

It could be awin-win however, if the web designer threw in a simple detection
CGI, and routed the customer to a Netscape Enhanced - Generic HTML - JAVA
compliant path for the site. Sure, he's gotta swallow his savvy and pride and
build a low road AOL version. But figure, that's the version that Joe Average
is seeing, and it better be damn good. (Well, as "damn good" as you can get
with AOL) Otherwise, the business paying for the buildout of the site will
get criticized, and the design firm will most likely get dropped.

I just went through this with a site for a large corporation. They're the
seventh most recognized brand in the world. (Do your homework - you'll figure
it out) We had do design a Netscape-non-Netscape road for it. The Netscape
one looks sweet, the AOL one looks as good as it can using no <CENTER>,
<TABLE> or <BODY BACKGROUND> TAGS. There's also a Java road, to be released
in a week. It was disheartening to downgrade our desing for the low road, but
we had to. And after that was over, a detection CGI throws the user to the
right place, so the brand image shines through to all people.


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