Published on February 1, 2004

Browsing with the Nokia 6600: due siti mainstream

Hey, this post is vintage content. It dates back more than 20 years ago: it may contain outdated and inaccurate information.

With pachydermic slowness I publish two screenshots representing the home pages of Repubblica and Punto Informatico seen on Opera from the Nokia 6600. And some considerations.

The site's tabular layout is 'disassembled' and reduced to a very long list of textual contents interspersed with images, in which the logical blocks are rather difficult to locate and read: titles are no different from ordinary text (at most they are written in bold), and finding the right link to reach a section of the site implies memorising its vertical position within the page.

The use of tables for page construction also causes a non-ideal arrangement of the contents: dismantling the tables of the site, and the use of tables to build the page causes a non-ideal arrangement of the contents: dismantling the tables of the site, and the use of tables to build the page

The use of tables for page construction also causes the non-ideal arrangement of content: by disassembling and reassembling the layout, Opera first displays content which, on a desktop browser, would be displayed in the left-hand column. The opening article is pushed down by (in this case) 7 screens.

A layout based on CSS, although it would perhaps not entirely solve problems of this kind, would certainly improve the situation: some link blocks could be inserted further down in the HTML and arranged in the desired position by means of style sheets.

On connections which are not too fast, as mobile phone connections sometimes are, the order in which the page contents are downloaded also has a certain practical importance: if the opening article arrived first, it could be read without waiting for all the menus which, in this case, precede it to be downloaded.

And, again on the subject of link speed, Repubblica automatically reloads the page at regular intervals (which are a little too short, by the way). Every time this happens, the page is reloaded from scratch, you have to manually go back to where you were, and, on a GPRS connection (where pricing is based on traffic) you have to spend more money for the same page (minor variations apart, such as stock market indexes and updated banners). This last aspect, which goes almost unnoticed on a desktop, especially with a broadband line, particularly annoyed me: being interrupted halfway through reading the opening article and having to pay for downloading the same page to continue reading it is an idea I don't like.

The page reload probably does not work

The reloading of the page probably has the main purpose of updating the advertising banners, an indispensable requirement for an on-line newspaper like Repubblica. Eliminating this feature altogether is an option that perhaps should not even be considered. However, a longer interval between reloads could be provided on some platforms, typically those where reading is done on very small screens and is generally slower.

Informatic Point

Also on Punto Informatico you get to the point after four or five screens. And for the same reason as on Repubblica: the column on the left is displayed at the beginning.

Here, however, the links are more regularly distributed throughout the page, making it a little easier to find the content of interest. Although there are no real headings to open the articles and the sections are not separated by obvious elements, the page appears quite tidy.

It should be noted that the first screen shot does not show the newspaper logo, while the first banner on the page is clearly visible.



January 9, 2004

I am Silvano Stralla. I am a developer, I like taking photos and riding bikes.
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