I live outside of DSL range so I use a standard dial-up modem every day. Being bandwidth-impaired can be frustrating at times, but it could be better if more sites practiced some minor low-bandwidth courtesy.

My top design pet peeves are related to forms and have simple solutions:

a) It's fine to have a JavaScript focus() in the page's onLoad event, but if there are a bunch of graphics on the page, I've probably already filled out five fields by the time the page fully loads. Once all of the graphics finally load, the focus takes the cursor away from the field I'm working on and places the next five characters I've typed into the initial field...where they don't belong. Then I have to erase those characters, find the spot where I was on the form, and continue. And I'm not going to wait until all of the images load to start filling out the form–and neither is anyone else. If there are a bunch of images on the page, skip the "convenient" focus().

b) I don't mind images instead of standard form buttons, but for pete's sake, pre-load any graphic form elements with JavaScript so they're the first images that show up on the page. Once again, I don't want to wait for every other image to load before I can find the submit button. Most likely I'm done with the form by then and ready to move on.

It feels like I'm in the minority of Internet users with only a dial-up connection because just about everyone I know has DSL. But I'm actually in the majority. According to this article: Broadband Slowed by High Prices, "By the end of 2002, only about 15 million to 16 million U.S. households will be using a broadband connection — out of roughly 66 million homes with Internet access."


what's a modem?
my point exactly.
Although not specifically a low-bandwidth gripe, my peeve is essential the same with regard to pop-up windows. While, for example, amazon.com or the IMDB loads up, I'm already typing my search request in the appropriate field. Then a pop-up window...er, pops up and I have to dismiss it, tab back to the search field, figure out where I left off typing and resume. It slows me down and annoys the heck out of me.

I have broadband connections at home and office, but more often than not, I'm tethered to my modem while on the road. I usually have graphic loading turned off on my laptop's browser, which significantly impairs the navigability of many sites. ALT tags, people. ALT tags!

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