It’s Worse Than You Can Imagine

At first I was optimistic that the Lockergnome redesign wouldn’t be that terrible, I mean they have smart people there. Then the evidence mounted that there wasn’t going to be any good hybrid approach. Why go backwards? Is it a joke? Is ruining their website some twisted form of RSS evangelism?

Earlier today a comment from Simon said:

Well, the redesign appears to be out now and it�s much worse than I expected – blockquotes for indentation, paragraphs with non-breaking spaces in them for added vertical spacing – tag soup if ever I�ve seen it. Yuck.

He expanded his thoughts illustrated by the code snippet:

<table border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" width="778"
<tr><td align="left">
<div id="footer">
<blockquote>&copy; 1996-2004, Lockergnome LLC. ISSN: 1095-3965. All
Rights Reserved. Please read our <a href="/about/privacy-policy.phtml">
Privacy Policy</a> and <a href="/about/terms-of-service.phtml">
Terms of Service</a>. Web site hosted by
<a href="">Webair</a>.
Email newsletters powered by <a href="">WhatCounts</a>.
Domain registered at <a href="">GnomeDOMAINS</a>.

One can only assume that the newsletters will be following suit, and no one wants that kind of filth in their inbox.

All joking aside, I am going to be unsubscribing from all Lockergnome newsletters. I am not under the illusion that my action will be anything more than a number blip to the people there, but principle of the matter is I don’t have a lot of respect for them anymore. How can I take web development news seriously from an organization that is in the wrong decade code-wise? Even worse, they had something great and threw it away. If enough people were to do the same and unusbscribe they might take notice, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

I might even be forgiving if their markup (which is invisible to the user when it works) devolved but the site was much easier to use or aesthetically pleasing, but the site has degraded in every conceivable way. I decided I could tolerate the design long enough to unsubscribe, but couldn’t even find that on the site. Google brought up a cached page that no longer exists which pointed to the correct URI, which incidentally still has the old design. So if you also disagree with the recent direction things have taken, unsubscribe from Lockergnome.

Looking for something to fill the void? It didn’t come to mind the other day, but I highly recommend the SitePoint newsletters for web development topics. Blogs are also great, but sometimes it’s nice to get something in yoru inbox. I’m open to suggestions for other newsletters.

Update: I’ve written a new entry that explains why I care.

24 thoughts on “It’s Worse Than You Can Imagine

  1. I just saw the “new” site yesterday; disappointed is an understatement. Chris has always been intent on highlighting new technology, but that site is a step back 5 years. I’m highly disappointed, and couple with the rather mediocre offerings in the newsletters of late (and seemingly unending editor changes) I just may join you in unsubscribing.

  2. I can almost understand the return to tables, appealing to the masses has always been a hallmark of LG and there were some issues with the current (now old) design in obsolete browsers. It didn’t degrade particularly well. That said, while anticipating tables the thought that they would regress as far as they have never entered my mind. Talk about throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

    Hey, I’m glad he skipped the font tags but character encoding would be nice. Then again, proper nesting and a token attempt at validation would be nice too. Accessibiity? Your kidding right? I’m sorry, but considering how badly marked up this site is the Web Developers newsletter is looking a little less than credible.

    Oh yeah, it’s butt ugly.

  3. Ditto on the unsubscribing… As soon as I find a free minute, I’m off their list… I would think we might also want to write them telling them why we’ve unsubscribed, and maybe even point to blog entries with comments from others who feel the same?

  4. “Hey, what? We used div, we used XHTML! Our site rocks!”

    Some people just don’t get the idea of semantics and standards.

  5. ‘there were some issues with the current (now old) design in obsolete browsers. It didn’t degrade particularly well.’

    They could have planned for that, no?

  6. I’m not a validation Nazi. My page is missing some ALT tags and I plead guilty to using a [center] tag here and there. But the Lockergnome change is just ridiculous.

    Even people who hate using CSS for layout still realize it’s value for assigning colors and styles.

    bgcolor=”#FFFFFF” ???
    align=left ???

  7. Wait a sec – you’re unsubscribing because of markup? You’re unsubscribing because of text you’ll never see unless you choose to “View Source”?

  8. Jeremy — actually, I think it makes sense. Not because of the instant reaction, “they use bad markup and that’s EEEEV1LL!!!” More like, it’s because Lockergnome is *about* markup. This redesign calls into question the competence and knowledge of Lockergnome on the very subject that their site is about.

    Same thing would apply if, say, Matt changed his background image to a repeating pattern of pixellated dancing bear GIFs. That would speak directly to his authority on matters of style and design. Or if an ASP tutorial site produced their pages with JSP or PHP. Et cetera.

  9. Evan,

    Honestly, I never visited Lockergnome but for a few times (I’ve found better resources out there). Pardon my ignorance, but isn’t Lockergnome covering more subjects than just web design/development?

    You do have a point, though. If they have always preached about markup, they should follow their teachings.

  10. This page causes IE6 on Windows to open a new HTTP connection every time a tab gets moused over.

    What an incredible waste of bandwidth.

    I’ll never be back to this site, ever again.

  11. Mark, if you mean the shadows behind the tabs in the menu above, it’s actually done with a single image that is about 300 bytes. The same image is used for all the tabs and should be loaded (and cached) just once.

  12. What’s shocking abouy Slashdot is that ~ 50% of the time, it doesn’t even load correctly in the leading open-source browser (Firefox).

  13. Off Toppic, but I think you should tweak your “acronym finder” code. It is funny to see “SSN” in ISSN and “DOM” in DOMAINS acronymed in html code quoted above 🙂

    Talking about – they’ve used ~20 tables for layout when 1 (ok ok, let’s make it 3) is enough.
    And site still is far from perfect in NN4.x
    I call it hypocrisy. Or they simply don’t know how to code – neither old way nor new one.

  14. How about instead of saying it’s ugly, the code is bad… give some constructive advice. What would be a change in the right direction? What is wrong with the design (without looking at the insides)? I’m all for criticism, but not without a back up or suggestion for improvement. Better yet, offer to be a usability tester.