Websites: Style or Substance? ||>
When I first got enough Internet access to take an in-depth view
of Buffy websites, it was four years ago and I was a college freshman.
These websites looked pretty much the same, with a black background,
okay graphics and the kind of yummy content that I spent hours
looking at. Somewhere along the line this changed. It started
when some sites got, for the lack of a better word, prettier.
This was very nice change, and easy on the eyes, but now I'm a
senior and this style has completely overwhelmed the Internet.
It seems as if the basis for praise of a site is no longer "Wow,
that got me to see Buffy in a whole new light" but
rather, "Well isn't that pretty!"
I suppose this wouldn't be so annoying if it weren't so egocentric
at the same time. Let me explain. The first sites I visited regularly
were The Buffy Cross and Stake and Domain of the Slain. These
sites weren't beautiful, but they were for the fans. They helped
us catch up on episodes that we missed, the spoilers we love to
hate, and generally sustained us through rerun hell with things
like fanfic and quizzes. They gave us something to sing about,
as it were.
But now, sites are all about style. They take forever to load,
and if you don't have the right browser or graphics card, forget
it. However, the worst part is that it is almost selfish. These
format-driven websites force surfers to wait forever for the sites
to load, they have to conform their browsers to the webmaster's
specifications (instead of the other way around), and for what?
So that the viewer can admire the webmaster's skill with graphics.
Furthermore, format-oriented sites often change their format.
Now, this doesn't seem all that important until you see the big
picture. Changing a site format takes a long time. There are programs
to make it easier, but it's still an arduous task. This is, of
course, time these webmasters are taking away from making actual
updates to the content of their websites, so that they look like
something more than empty shells with pretty pictures.
What this spells out is that these sites aren't worthwhile without
loads of content. So, if you are planning to be a webmaster (or
are one already), please take this into consideration. It's time
to go back to when it was fun to go to websites, instead
of surfing in the intellectual wasteland that seems to be encroaching
on Buffy sites.