Seven Dirty HTML Tags & Techniques

In memory of George Carlin. May he rest in peace (with the invisible man above looking down).

I thought I’d take a look at seven HTML tags and techniques that are considered taboo, and that should never be implemented (at least on a public website).

<blink>
Ah yes, I remember when many a web designer would you this to be different and get attention. Attention indeed, the scorn of society. Just think, while the HTML language was being created, someone thought “I wish there was a way to piss off a whole lot of people reading a web page.” In fact, according to Wikipedia, the inventor of the blink tag, Lou Montulli, has said repeatedly in interviews that he considers the blink tag to be “The worst thing I’ve ever done for the Internet.”

<marquee>
Another attention grabber and irritant, I haven’t seen this tag in use for some time. Yet, after a quick check, it still works in IE & Firefox. What was worse was when a designer felt the need to place a hyperlink within the marquee. A definite precursor to the animated Flash ads like “shoot the monkey.”

<frame>
Yes, I used frames when I first started back in the mid-90’s. But I quickly got over it due to complexities not only for myself (targeting frames was a nightmare), but also for users (can’t link to content in a frame, difficulties printing, bookmarking, etc.). I’ll still use an <iframe> (no relation to an iPod) from time to time when absolutely necessary, however, frames have met their demise. So long, farewell.

<font>
Except for HTML email, the use of this tag should be forbidden. I remember way back when I used FrontPage as my web authoring tool (yes, I have confessed my sins and have moved on). Since I spent half my time in code view, I would become ill viewing all the font tags (and multiple-nested font tags). Oh the horrific code bloat. Thank goodness for CSS, we can kiss this tag goodbye.

Server-Side Image Maps
Hated them. Especially for navigation bars. Yes, the idea of an actual clickable map is interesting and likely beneficial, however, there are client-side solutions for this now.

The 1-pixel spacer GIF
Talk about loathing something.During the days of tables for layout, the spacer GIF was mandatory in keeping widths & heights in order. Thankfully, we’re all using CSS-based layouts today. Right?

Background Music
Everyone has been surprised, embarrassed, or both on this one. Even today, I still come across a website that forces you to listen to mood music or sounds, by default. The most irritating moment is realizing that the only way to stop the music is to leave the site.

Have one that’s not listed? Go ahead and contribute in the comments. Thanks.

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