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Just because you can, it doesn't mean you have to

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aj+ column

What would you do - apart from something else - when a manufacturer says you should look at its site and you discover it starts off with a running calendar that takes 20 seconds on a fast ADSL link to clock up the years since the beginning of past century?

This is accompanied by a very interesting changing thumbnail of buildings, which may or may not have been the company's four headquarters.

If you look very carefully it turns out that you can skip this intro, so next time you do, because establishing the longevity of a company can be achieved by the less tedious device of writing the start date somewhere. You then ask yourself, why not just leave out the optional intro in the first place?

Then, when you move your mouse, the two big white lines dividing the pale-ish blue screen turn out to really be giant cursor hairs. A tad bewildered, you position their crossing point near one of the index titles. These titles, trendily, are located on the right. Oops!

The title slides out left and does a fashionable horizontal shimmy, leaving your giant cursor wobbling with surprise on the right. Click on a product type and, after a pause for uploading, four thumbnails glide in from the left.

Move the giant crosshairs over a thumbnail image and it grows to four times the area. Aargh, all this out and in and tricksy sidewaysing is a bit like being at sea.

This is, of course, not a manufacturer's but an architect's site - that of Trehearne Architects at www. trehearne. co. uk, which has discovered giant crosshairs and serious website special effects.

OK boys and girls, repeat after me:

'Just because I can, it doesn't mean I have to.' And then try this one: 'Most of our clients are likely to be over 50. We try to be courteous to them. We give them the option of increasing the size of the tiny text on our site because we want them to read at least some of it.'

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