EAA 172 Website Premise
Why it is designed the way it is.
I have heard from some wondering why there are no snazzy features such as "Flash" or other "modern" Website features.
I tell them that I operate
on the same premise as government agencies as well as Web retailers who want
to present and describe their projects -- and sell them, or give information,
rather than just give snazzy features.
It is very annoying, especially
to infrequent computer users, as many of our EAA 172 members are, to get
"error messages" whenever they try to use a Website. These errors may be
"Cannot load because you have an outdated browser" or "update your browser."
Other errors may be a pop-up on the screen telling them that they need Flash such-and-such or Acrobat Reader
such-and-such. All the club members wanted to do is look at the event
Calendar or see what happened at a meeting, or look at some pictures of a
past event. The viewers were not interested in seeing super-fancy graphics
or having to wait until some big pictures (graphics) loaded until they
could go to the next screen.
Some of the "snazzy" features I employ on "fancy" sites but not on this one are:
-- Flash graphics. Nice, but often take too long to load for dial-up. Streaming video or graphic slide shows can take a half hour to run on dial-up. Large graphics can take as long to load.
If someone has to wait over a minute to view a webpage most likely they will go somewhere else. The premise of the EAA 172 site is that most pages should take less than one minute to load for a person with a slow dialup connection. The EAA 172 Website's intention is to present information about our Experimental Aircraft Association, not to show how fancy Websites can be if you have fast-access DSL, cable, or other broadband access. This information should be available to as many people as possible. Those out "in the country" -- about half our members -- cannot get DSL or cable - they can't get Wideband or don't want to. I live in a Verizon, AT&T, Alltel, T-Mobile, etc. "dead zone" in that I have to walk to a hill on my pasture in order to use my cellphone here. Most people living out in the country also live in "dead zones" -- city folks have no idea that "live zones" are only in metropolitan areas and along freeways and some major roads.
Additionally, the Federal
Government requires its agencies to follow Web guidelines that are handicap
accessible. It writes: These provisions of the
standards provide the requirements that must be followed by Federal agencies
when producing web pages. These provisions apply unless doing so would impose
an undue burden. You can see the guidelines here: Web Guidelines
We are not required to follow the guidelines but as a non-profit group
we find it best to follow as many of them as possible.
The New York Times in August, 2009, reported that although 80% of Web users have access to DSL or other broadband type Internet access only 67% of Internet users actually use broadband. In a more recent NY Times article By Brian Stelter and Jenna Wortham published March 12, 2010, page A1 of the New York edition, about a third of Americans have no access to high-speed Internet service, cannot afford it or choose not to have it. Another NY Times article, an editorial, published March 20, 2010, had "Fewer than 27 out of 100 Americans have broadband service." Those in this 1/3 group who use the Internet then must use dialup, which in most cases is actually 26,400 bits per second (bps) --- not the 56,000 bps your modem is set at. This means that a large file or graphic can take perhaps 45 minutes to an hour to load. And forget about video, except for links, which give the user a choice (and a warning) about how long it will take to load.
Many of our club members,
and others interested in aviation, have older computers -- both Mac and IBM
compatibles which run at speeds as low as 200 mhz, not the 2000 or 3000 megahertz fast
computers used for games. They also use older versions of Netscape
or IE (Internet Explorer) and haven't heard about Firefox. Our club wants those members too!
This Website has been tested
with dialup as well as with Netscape, Firefox, Opera, and IE (Internet Explorer).
It should work with all versions of these browsers put out during the past
ten years. All pages, except for perhaps two or three, and there usually
is a "slow loading" warning with them, , should load in less than one minute
with 26,400 bps dialup. Most Websites, except Federal Government ones, take
too much time to load. Time how long it takes to load the EAA national Website:
-- 3 minutes, 10 seconds, at dialup speeds. Then try the EAA 172 Homepage - click Here, or Calendar of Events - click Here , and see the difference. Perhaps they, too, should consider
the needs of some of the "poorer" computer users! And as a computer person
from the late 70s, I can tell you that those software packages that supposedly
speed up your dialup download rate actually depend on you having a large
hard drive and a fairly fast computer so they can put the information and
graphics of your most used sites on your own hard drive so when you pull
up a frequented site only the new information has to be retrieved. It then
uses the stored information already in your computer when you visit that Website again. If you have a large
hard drive and a fast computer, this may be an approach you could use.
If you find that your older
computer and browser cannot pull up a page, copy the URL (page-name of the
page that's in the little window on top of the screen) then e-mail me and
paste it in your message, here: HELP
So, you might want to call the EAA 172 Website the:
Common Pilot Website
not the Geek Pilot or Rich Pilot Website
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This page last updated: 040112@0946EDT