Weaknesses of the Web

      Like any medium, the Web also has its weaknesses and limitations. These must be understood in order to make effective use of the medium.

    It's Not Print

      The Web is no substitute for print. The following fundamental differences are important:
      • On-screen text is harder to read.
      • Printed graphics are more detailed.
      • Printed pages are instantly viewable.
      • Display quality is not controlled on the Web.
      • Cross-referencing is easy on the Web.
      • Print organization is linear; the Web is hierarchical.
      This last point may require some elaboration. Print is by its very nature linear in its organization. One page always follows the same page - the sequence never changes. A Web site which worked like a book would be difficult to use because the single large page would take a long time to download. The user would then have scroll to the desired information. The use of hypertext links allows pages to be broken into smaller logical units but does impose a hierarchical organization on larger Web sites. The user "drills down" through various layers (as few as the designer can arrange) to the desired content. This site is really too small to require such treatment, but our Carfree Cities site is large enough to require hierarchical organization.

Text displayed on computer screens lacks the quality of printed text.

Hierarchical navigation.

    It's Not Television

      The Web is also no substitute for television, for the following reasons:
      • Passive users will avoid the Web.
      • Many people do not have Web access.
      • Web audio and video are of low quality.
Continue on to Design Issues