When laughter does not follow a joke, an explanation usually does. The explanation cannot save the joke, which has already crashed and burned like a cheapo airplane fallen from a calm blue sky. It may save the joke's pilot, however, who faces accusations of negligent jesting, intentional eccentricity, or worse. With that in mind, I strap on my explanation, leap from my plummeting pun, and yank the chord.
A great many web pages sport a vertical band of color running down their left borders--so many, in fact, that it has become something of a web design cliché. I won't deny that such borders look good, or that I sometimes use them, too. Still, though, it sometimes seems like a waste of good pixels.
I thus designed a colored left-hand border that pokes a bit of fun at web conventions. Although it superficially resembles the usual sort of border, my HTML pun in fact relies on rather different HTML coding. The conventional approach relies solely on a background image of a long vertical stripe. I use such an image, too. But I've overlaid it with a table having a correspondingly shaped cell, and filled that cell with a repeating series of hyperlinked characters. Massed together, the colored characters play a visual pun on the conventional sort of left-hand border.
Only an HTML geek can see the humor in that sort of joke, I suppose. But my design aims at more than just laughs. Because each link in the punning left-hand border corresponds to a link in the right-hand text, the border changes in color and texture as you browse through my website. Cool, huh? But wait until you hear the punchline!
As you visit more and more of the links on my site, the border glows with more and more red (by default) dots. The border thus operates like a browsemeter, measuring how completely you've browsed through the site. Interesting? Only to people who like to complete patterns--which is to say, almost everyone. Even folks without obsessive streaks will feel an urge to color in the border completely. The browsemeter makes it easy, too. You need only click on the unchanged bits to fill in the border--getting a complete tour of my site in the process!
So, at least, I reckon human psychology. But, then again, I must have something of an obsessive streak myself. Why else would I explain a bad joke so completely that I risk making it sounding a bit like a sick one?
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