Taking control on the web

Are you getting tired of waiting forever for web sites to download? Of having fonts too small to read on your computer? Are you sick of bad colour schemes, autoplaying music, and just plain junk on every web site you look at?

It's time to reclaim the web and convice web designers that less is more. The web was originally designed as a way to share information by using hypertext links to transparently move you from one document to another. These days, it can be hard to find the content of the page because of all the ads, the bizarre color schemes and the tiny fonts used. Some companies now have ads/links/news briefs/whatever on all four sides of a web page with only a tiny place in the center for the content. This is a trend that can be halted, if people just say no.

Speeding up the Web

Turn off all the multimedia components that your browser allows. Internet Explorer makes this easy. In the advanced tab in Internet Options, you will find a section called multimedia. Just untick the boxes for a faster web experience. On Navigator, look at the top set of options you can change. Untick the images box.

Warning, this advice will break some web sites. It should not do so, but it will. Good web design will ensure that all images have alternative text, which is what your browser should display instead of the image. Netscape has the bad habit of only displaying the alternative text if it happens to fit the space provided.

You will probably have sites for which you make exceptions. I will allow artistic sites and certain game sites to have full multimedia capabilities. Your mileage will vary. Any truly business oriented site should be able to present all the information necessary for you without any of these fancies.

Complain about poor navigation

Ever been to a web site that you knew should have a certain product or certain information but you could not find it? Some web sites are a nightmare to navigate. You aren't sure where you are, nor where the information you need might be. If you can find a contact email address, tell them about the problem. Some corporations seem to reflect their internal structure in their web site, which leaves outsiders completely puzzled as to where information might be.

Web sites should not resemble adventure games. Navigation should be clear; what is offered, where to find things, a site map and site search (for large corporations sites) should be standard.

Preventing pop-ups and other annoyances

Turn off the Javascript. That will prevent many of the pop-ups, roll-overs and other cutesy stuff that you don't need. The disadvantage is that Netscape 4.* depends on Javascript for stylesheets, so for Netscape it is a question of what is most annoying.

Did you want this link to open a new window? You, as a user, don't need Javascript for that! If you are using a PC, you can right-click a link to get a window of options including open in a new window. Hold down the mouse button if you are a Mac user to get a similar menu. Yes, you can open a second or third window, so the first page stays available to you. Right-click (or hold and click) an image to save a copy or even set it as your background.


Opera is an extremely user-friendly, configurable web browser. It has many features that can be changed by the user. Web site too small for you to see? Tell Opera to display at 200%. Do you have problems with finding links within the text or telling if you have visited those links? Opera has a special link presentation menu that lets you set colors and/or underline and/or strikethrough to mark the difference between visited and unvisited links. You can also force borders around images which link to other documents and use 'frame' to create a border around a text link.


The web should be easy to access, easy to navigate and easy to use. When it is not, then you should complain about the site, tell your friends to avoid the site, find a competitor's site that you do like and purchase from them. Remember, it is your web too!

This is copyright © by Lynn J. Alford (more about the author). Send mail lynn.alford@deletethis.gmail.com.

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