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  • #16
    Re: USATF web site

    I'm sure they'll be tweaking it over the next few days but, as Jon says, it's a start. I agree with Realist, I'll go for functionality every time over looks. Take a look at Matt Drudge's godawful looking site. However, it's had 8.3 million visits today and 215 million in the last month! Of course, they're all fascist rig....opps, sorry, won't go there!


    • #17
      Re: USATF web site

      >Scroll down to what? The only part of the page that is supposed to contain
      >information specific to that page is cut off at about two-thirds of the width
      >of the information. I can't see any of women's A and B standards, and the
      >qualification guidelines and such are similarly cut off.>>

      I see what you mean, sort of. When I open in two different browsers (Safari and Explorer) I get two way different presentations. In Safari I'm presented with a set of left-hand navigation links and a monster see of white on the rest of the page. If I scroll down, what appears to be a completely different page (even has a line across it) appears with all the qualifying information.

      In Explorer I get just a handful of left-hand navigation (compared to a couple of dozen) links and the standards right beside them. But have to use the horizontal slider to read half the women's column.

      Given our server problems of a couple of weeks ago and all the havoc that caused for everyone, I'm not dissing the USATF site, however! They just have some issues to work through. And I need to figure out which browser to use!


      • #18
        Re: USATF web site

        What, no coffee and dougnuts? And my kid had his heart set on a balloon....


        • #19
          Re: USATF web site

          >Take a look at Matt Drudge's godawful looking site. However, it's had 8.3
          >million visits today and 215 million in the last month! Of course, they're all
          >fascist rig....opps, sorry, won't go there!

          guess since you took the time to look that closely at it to find readership numbers, you must have overlooked all the links to godawful, hate-monegring left-wing.... oh, heck, I don't want to give Fraulein Dowd any more pub...

          I for one like the look of the new site that Keith has put together for USATF. A few tweaks here and there and I'll really like it.


          • #20
            Re: USATF web site

            wow, congratulations on being the first person in world history to call matt drudge LEFT-WING..

            he's as right as they come..

            on topic point: i never found the old website hard to navigate.. what i want are VIDEOS and VIDEO FEED ARCHIVES OF PAST MEETS!


            • #21
              Re: USATF web site

              YCN stated:

              "and trying to fit four
              columns, all of which are fixed width, into a locked-in 800x600 screen format
              really sucks. Why can't people adopt useability features that are built into
              HTML 4.0 and XHTML? I want a website where if I don't see so well I can adjust the font size from my Internet Explorer view menu. I want a site that
              automatically adjusts content to the size of my screen, not the size of screen that someone thinks is ideal. I am at 1024x768 right now and will be migrating to 1280x1024 in the next few weeks, and I have to view websites that force me
              to try and read fonts so small I need a magnifying glass? Whose width is only
              62.5% of the width of my display?"


              First and foremost, the majority of this world still runs at 800x600. Although my visitor stats don't comply with this (as you'll see below), designers should still build a around 800x600 format. It's slowly migrating where 1024x768 will be the standard. However, that doesn't mean you should leave an audience of 800x600 in the dust.

              1024x768 - 56.37%
              800x600 - 30.65%
              1280x1024 - 5.18%

              More information about this dilema is below:


              I'm at 1280x1024 right now as well. It's great for work and I can understand your issues, but I don't have trouble reading text at this format. I know there are people who do, but then you have to ask, why have a larger monitor?

              If you build a page that incorporates 100% page width, you have to realize the many drawbacks that can cause. I'm a firm believer on not going the 100% page width, especially for news or sports websites.,, and many more organiztions follow this rule because of the many limitations there are at risk (which I won't go into as you'll just be bored).

              I'm sure the team at USATF realize this and followed the "rules", but did fail in other aspects. I won't get into too many examples, but the text on top of all the headers is not matted correctly. It's almost as if the text is an image on top of another image, when it shouldn't be that way. As all you Photoshop experts know, it should be a simple blending option from your text layer.

              Check out their meta tags by viewing the page source. Although meta tags are basically useless now, they only have the following athletes entered for key word search: "marion jones, stacy dragila, michael johnson, alan webb"

              I'm sure they realize they have more work to do along with some very basic improvements. Let's not forget that there is not one website in this world that is perfect.

              You can't please everyone but can only go after the majority which is what I think the USATF website has done and I congratulate them for that.

              It's a BIG improvement from their old website. I can see that they are taking the right direction in terms of web development.


              • #22
                Re: USATF web site

                Well said, Tom. I agree 100%


                • #23
                  Re: USATF web site

                  Why even bother with the complications of columns?

                  Put navigation links at the top, on a single row, which will wrap to two rows if needed (Hopefully no one should have to click that many times to reach the information they need.) By providing a complete contextual visualization of where the visitor is on the site, you enable rapid familiarity with navigation of your site, and you allow a visitor to jump back only as far as they need to negotiate the site with a single mouse click.

                  Such as:

                  Home > Topics > Disaster Prep > Hurricanes > Checklist

                  Above or below the navigation links, put ads, variable-width graphics, or other continuity formatting that you desire to give your site a unique character. But always remember that either the user should be able to set a cookie to determine display width, or else width should be variable.

                  Never set fixed text sizes. Always allow the user to adjust text to the most readable size for them.

                  Only use the well-known combinations of text and background colors that have been shown to have the highest readability. You can vary those slightly on the palette, but it is best to use a palette limited to 32K total colors maximum. If you can get by with a 4K or 256 color pallette, all the better.

                  Avoid busy repeating background images, a simple pale watermark usually will do to add a great deal of pizzazz with minimal effort.

                  Do not overwhelm the visitor with too many visuals. They usually take too long to download without a high speed internet connection, and they use bandwidth without compelling advantages to their use.

                  Try to keep the site organized to where a person needs at most three or four mouse clicks to find anything.

                  Provide a truly usable search function that can be limited to results from your site. Google can provide this service for anyone.

                  Either put ads at the top or the bottom or interspersed in between content, but do not put them left or right of the meat of the webpage.

                  Make sure your website is browser neutral. Many different browsers are in use, and many of them do not support all of the latest standards in the same way. Know what code is non-neutral and avoid it, or provide cookie based custom setting for browsers based upon their capabilities.

                  Limit the amount of text on one page to about 10 or 15 kilobytes of download. Give people the option of downloading large tables or pdf or text or other files, but don't force feed this upon them.

                  Focus first on content that is unique and original to your site. This provides a compelling reason for people to bother to visit.

                  Limit the use of very bright colors except in cases where you wish to attract people's attention, and even then, make sure that they will keep coming back if they have the page shout at them all the time.

                  Provide comprehensive glossaries of technical terms or abbreviations that may be common knowledge to those who are familiar with your website's subject matter, but which will repel those who want to learn to enjoy what you have a passion for.

                  I could go on forever with this...

                  Always include enhancements for those with disabilities if you have a site that can be expected to have a national or international reach. Even if yours in a niche site, consider enhancements for those with the most common disabilities if it can be achieved without exhorbitant cost relative to the volume of readership of your site.

                  Always provide help pages, FAQ's, a comprehensive site index, contact links, an some sort of feedback mechanism or forum.

                  CGI scripts, Java and other fancy frills that may benefit you but not the customer generally should be avoided, unless you can adequately prepare contingency alternatives to active scripting. Ask yourself why you really need it in the first place.

                  The use of stylesheets should be a must, as should be the user's ability to choose a flat file web site without complex formatting.

                  Provide simple and practical print formatted pages for information that people might be expected to want to print out.

                  And by all means, ask people what they like and don't like about your site, and track which complaints are most common. Try to fix the biggest gripes first, then work toward the smaller ones. Do not take the stand that people's opinions are not valid because you know more about web publishing than they do. Your site is not for your gratification, it is for people to use. If no one wants to visit your site, it doesn't matter how right you think you are.

                  That's it for now. I've covered maybe one percent of what I could address, but it IS Friday night.


                  • #24
                    Re: USATF web site

                    You stated:

                    "Never set fixed text sizes. Always allow the user to adjust text to the most readable size for them."

                    Then you contradict yourself by saying:

                    "The use of stylesheets should be a must"

                    You can't give the user the ability to change the text on your webpage AND have style sheets. For such a deep site such as the USATF, you should use style sheets. In fact, every website should have style sheets or CSS.

                    The Track & Field News website uses a stylesheet because it's very easy to maintain and update. More important, they along with everyone else, knows exactly how they want their webpage to appear for their audience.

                    If you gave your customers the chance to change the size of your text, especially on the front page, your formatting would be all over the place and I don't think the advertisers or sponsors would like that very much.

                    Below is our company website that I am in the process of building:


                    If we allowed the users to alter the size of the text, none of the tables would be in place and we couldn't promote our services the way we want it to be seen correctly. I'm sure the USATF and many other organizations see it this way or at least they should.

                    I do, however, agree with most of your points. As I've stated before, you can't have the perfect website, especially with the amount of resources that may not be available.


                    • #25
                      Re: USATF web site

                      I'd dearly love to hear what exactly it is about stylesheets that disallows the use of variable text sizes.

                      If you would explain, I'd be willing to listen.

                      A stylesheet only controls those elements you specify. Nothing else.


                      • #26
                        Re: USATF web site

                        >Definitely an improvement but nothing great. Tom Borish could've done a much
                        >better job.

                        And would have for free.


                        • #27
                          Re: USATF web site

                          The main benefit in CSS, is that it manages to separate the style from the content on your web page. What CSS does, is that it handles the style of your web page, and lets HTML do the content. This is good because the stylish capabilities in HTML are quite limited. Secondly, with the use of an external style sheet, you are able to alter you entire site style, by only editing one single file.

                          It depends on if you specify a font size in your style sheet. For example, try to make the text size larger by using your Internet Explorer toolbar by going to View > Text Size > Largest. As you'll see, you can't make the text larger because it's implemented into the style sheet not to do so here, just like at

                          The reason most companies don't want users to alter the text is because, as I've stated before, they want to make sure the layout is exactly as they want it to appear across as many browsers for all users as possible. Simply put, it's to be consistent with their design.

                          The future is Flash and there is no better example than the best design company in the world than 2Advanced. You can find their website below:


                          Flash MX 2004 Professional is VERY powerful and it's a great program to learn. You can implement datase programming through a content management server and ActionScript 2.0. Ok, I won't bore you all to death with this.

                          On that note (and going back to the original topic) USATF did a good job, in my opinion, in obtaining this value. In fact, for all of us over the years complaining about their website, perhaps we should send them an email for a job well done even though they still have some small issues to work out which I'm sure they will take care of.


                          • #28
                            Re: USATF web site

                            Flash MX 2004
                            >Professional is VERY powerful and it's a great program to learn. You can
                            >implement datase programming through a content management server and
                            >ActionScript 2.0. Ok, I won't bore you all to death with this.>>

                            You're about 12 screens too late.


                            • #29
                              Re: USATF web site

                              What did you think about IAAF:s changes when its last redesign went online? And the recent changes to Runner:s World? Trackshark:s flash? USATF may have a shot at reaching the same level as the aforementioned, but it will take time...possibly a long time.

                              How did USATF choose its Athlete Bios - Cross Country? Sage is up there, but no Ritz. Berryhill, but no a start, but perhaps the list should have been in place prior to going live.

                              Several college athletics sites are better. However, I can not state that one national athletics site is better than another, as EAA, Friidrott (my own country:s site) and UK Athletics are not superior in layout, design or ease of use than is USATF, for example. I give thumbs up to Leichtathletik in comparison.

                              USATF: I saw it. I felt it. I experienced some disappointment.


                              • #30
                                Re: USATF web site

                                >Who cares what it looks like, so long as it remains practical? As Donald
                                >Sutherland said to Robert Ryan in (trivia question), "Very pretty, but can
                                >they fight?"

                                Dirty Dozen.