Sunday, November 19, 2006

Deciphering the indecipherable

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sometimes the information you really want is only available on a single web site, and that web site happens to look like it was whipped up by a blind, drunk Thalidomide baby.

As much as you might like to, you can't just FTP into the author's web server and give them a stern lesson in web design. So what other avenues does this leave open to you? The easiest technique I know of is to 'zap' these bride-of-Frankensteins with a web page de-cluttering bookmarklet.

These are like favourites or bookmarks, except the hyperlink is supplanted by a string of javascript code. When activated (by simply clicking on them in your browser's toolbar or bookmarks archive) they perform a predefined action upon the web page you are currently viewing, or provide a shortcut to other web services, a thesaurus query engine for example.

The linked page offers a wide variety of bookmarklets designed for reformatting web pages to make them more readable and printable. Some apply individual changes, while others can be considered meta-bookmarklets as they aggregate the effects of many of the more specific ones.

To put them to the test I set out to find the world's most hideously, eye-stabbingly awful web site in existence. I don't know if Hayden Video Weddings is quite the pinnacle of web site indecipherability, but it must come pretty close!

Below you can see the before and after shots, having applied Jessie's multi-zapper (roll over the image to flip back and forth between the two).

Wow, that's what I call a make-under! Following an audit, the health and safety authorities stormed the Hayden Video Weddings HQ. Those responsible were heavily fined and strong-armed into redesigning the site to preclude subsequent visual assault (allegedly).



Nice cleanup there.

Pretty sad a business selling itself on image did that.

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