A Cranky Web Design Quiz

Think you're a good Web designer, eh? Then answer these ten questions.

The Quiz

  1. Give three alternatives to the <font> tag, and discuss the merits of each.

  2. As a site grows, the importance of navigational clarity increases. Discuss the paradox of navigability, considering the following site topologies: hierarchy, fully connected, database-driven.

  3. Discuss the merits and drawbacks of using color to signal semantic content.

  4. What factors determine the recommended maximum home page size (in kilobytes)? How are the factors related?

  5. Give three reasons why cascading style sheets are unsuccessful as a replacement for frames. Which reasons should disappear in time?

  6. List four ways Javascript can improve site usability.

  7. Why is "breadcrumbs" a poor name?

  8. Public mailto: links fall victim to automated address harvesters. Give five methods for defeating harvesters, and list each method's weaknesses.

  9. Scenario: all of your site's pages--and there are hundreds--include a piece of boilerplate text that changes every few hours. Give five methods for implementing the required site-wide update. Which methods maintain backward compatibility? What if you have only FTP access to your Web server?

  10. Use of the <base> tag creates two usability problems, one minor, one severe. What are these problems? Which of the problems, according to your philosophy of the Web, might be considered a way of enforcing good design? How does the logical consequence of this philosophy undermine its foundation?


This isn't a graded test; rather, it's the kind of test where if your answers are correct, you know it. As such, I'm not going to provide them. If you aren't sure of your answers, it's time to do some research.

For the record, the questions do have answers, which I've written up and tucked away somewhere. (Really! I've even timestamped it.) The point of this quiz is to make you think about Web site design, not to torture you.

Last updated 23 September 2003
All contents ©2002 Mark L. Irons

Previous: Minimal HTML ··· Next: Raising the Bar on Email