Iraq tickers fail in some browsers
The script apparently isn’t implemented perfectly, though. It looks as intended in Internet Explorer (shown) or Netscape 4:
But in Netscape 6, the ticker is blank and doesn’t display even one story, let alone scroll through a set:
Adrian Holovaty has eloquently and correctly argued that Web sites should not be designed only for particular browsers. Unfortunately, with DHTML there really isn’t yet a good way to code according to one set of standards and have functionality “gracefully degrade,” as well-written HTML will. Thus, when developing anything special like a DHTML effect, Web developers need to write code that works in all major browsers, not just one or two.
If that seems like too much work for a stupid ticker, you’re right, the ticker is stupid and just ends up hiding those headlines from some of your site’s visitors. Put them in plain HTML instead, so everyone can see them. Or if you must keep the browser-specific ticker system, at least allow the headlines that would appear in the ticker to gracefully degrade to a simple list of links for anyone who can’t view the ticker.
Please, make the ticker stop!
Seriously, though, they 'sort of' nifty, but too much trouble at the moment to get them working on everyone's browser... Good catch, though.
Rex, you have the exact right attitude about when tickers (or any type of content, from text to photos to video to interactive databases) should be used — only when it makes sense, only when it is a great choice to communicate the information you’re trying to present. I’m not sure either what that “content moment” will be, but if someone does discover a great content-supporting way to use them, it will be great to have another multimedia tool at our disposal.
I have somewhat mixed feelings about tickers. The war seemed to bring tickers out en masse, which sparked a conversation around the office. Last week, there were two tickers on the Post at the same time -- the one you mention and another further down that was scrolling scores from the NCAA tourney. My argument was that tickers aren't inherently bad -- but they need a good content reason to exist. The NCAA scores one I liked -- a discreet, small amount of space used for tangential information that's hard to present in a news time like this past week. The scrolling news headlines, however, made no sense to me -- I'd rather scan a list.
CNN.com has one up right now too, similar to the Post one, but a little more effective from a content perspective because of the dramatic way they've laid out the page.