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A reminder to keep web content up-to-date

August 22, 2010  »  WebNo Comment

Certain aspects of websites need not be “uniquely African”. In particular, maintaining overall site functionality and optimizing user experience are universal duties of any webmaster. This does not mean every African site coded under HTML 4.01 guidelines need to undergo a redesign to meet current XHTML 1.1 standards. Instead, supplementary and interactive content (ie: polls, widgets, etc that appears on sidebars should be treated just like traditional written web content.

Take, for example, Sudan Vision Daily‘s homepage sidebar poll titled, “What Do You Think About The New Design Of SV Website?” This feature is quite misleading, especially considering the site doesn’t look like it got a recent facelift. Upon further glance, the page adheres to HTML 4.01 markup. Why, you ask, would a site written under HTML 4.01 just have experienced an overhaul? It wouldn’t. In fact, the Internet Archive shows this particular poll was active at least as far back as 2006.

Such an oversight on the part of Sudan Vision Daily is not the end of the world (and is understandable given the limited resources in this nation), but it does confuse sharp-eyed first-time visitors. The worst case scenario would result in new visitors (perhaps new-to-the-Internet Sudenese, in this case) getting the impression that modern African web design is focused on static HTML. Of course, when disseminating information in developing countries, any website is better than no website. Still, although the case of Sudan Vision Daily is relatively insignificant, it is important that all sites, regardless of location, contribute to a sense of progress. After all, African tech excitement should permeate every corner of the continent.

Sudan Vision's 4+ year-old right sidebar poll. More people presumably thought the redesign was "Terrific" four years ago compared with today, thus rendering the current results meaningless. {}

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