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Found It On the Web...

Commentary on NASA’s Site (2000.09.12)

NASA has a flash movie.

Of all the Web sites to have a flash movie, NASA has one. Granted, I like that rounded-edged font that they use, but why does NASA need a flash movie? And why a techno/rock beat? (“Hey kids, didn’t you know that NASA is hip?”... even though it reads like a mission statement to investors.) I found it while trying to do research for a story-line here, though anyone can find it on NASA’s home page.

What I also found interesting here is their use of ALT text. This stood out to me even more so after the discussion going on over at Astounding Websites that Glenn Davis brought up about the use of ALT and TITLE text to make Web sites more accessible, even to people who turn off their images because of their slow connection speed. Check out the ALT text for NASA’s logo:

“Animated NASA logo in which the orbit element circles the word NASA. On subsidiary pages, clicking on this graphic returns you to the NASA Home page, http://www.nasa.gov.”

That is a mouth-full. But it does provide information about clicking logos to return to home pages for people new to the Web and not aware of the way Web sites will do this. Although with this much accessibility and usability in one little logo, it makes you wonder why they skipped that for their image links to “Cool NASA Websites” down at the bottom. Somebody without images won’t know that the first image of the four takes you to “NASA Webcasts” as the ALT reads: “image of a computer screen with a film reel superimposed on it.” Oh, and while I’m at it, NASA Web programmers... ALT is not an attribute of BODY.

But that’s enough from me. I went to NASA’s site to do research, I got stunned that they had a flash movie, and from there I found more to pick at. I would hope that NASA is spending their budget for space exploration and the like, and not on a really fancy, over-the-top, better-than-anything-else Web site. (Even though they could make it look nice and make it accessible so that people will want to visit and boost public interest in space exploration.)

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