Google is God. Don't Upset Her.

In web design, like life, it isn't always obvious what's important. On my Daily Sucker page I used a site that looked terrible in the text-based browser Lynx. Here's what the email suggesting the site said:

I sometimes look up web pages with Lynx, the text-only browser. Purely for speed and efficiency when I need to find information quickly, and I don't have time to wait for images to download, or in some cases, when I'm using a system with no GUI.

Now, I'm quite used to pages being a bit mangled when I visit them in Lynx, but imagine my horror when I visited to find out some information on hard-disk partitioning, only to be faced with this new and frightening vision of Mystery Meat Navigation.

I've always said, for a site to be totally accessible, you should be able to browse it with Lynx. If you can use it with Lynx, you can use it with anything.

Just so you understand, here's the page as it appears in the Lynx browser and here's a link to what the site used to look like so you can see it with your "normal" browser.

Lots of people were upset that I used such a "trivial" example for the Daily Sucker. The majority of the comments posted to the site (and the email I received) said, "Who gives a sh*t about the Lynx browser? Nobody uses it." Other people said "Making your site look good in Lynx is like accessibility. I'm not selling to the blind so why should I go to the trouble of making my site accessible?"

Why? Because the most powerful Internet force known to God and man visits your web pages and looks at them just like blind people and folks who use Lynx look at them — Google.

Google is blind and reads your sites linearly — as the code is sent to the browser — and then tries to interpret what it "sees" (I like to use the analogy that it reads your site like blind people read using Braille).

Obviously, how Google sees your site is the only view that counts. You can use Google's "Fetch as Googlebot" tool to "see exactly how a page appears to Google." You need to be signed into Google Webmaster Central to use this function. Google's Webmaster Tools require you to have a Google account (you mean you don't already have one?). If you don't have a Google account, get one here. Then log in to the Webmaster Tools and fill out the information. Once the information is input and you're at the Dashboard, on the left is a menu where you'll click the plus(+) sign in front of "Diagnostics." Then click on "Fetch as Googlebot."

Lynx is important because that's basically how Google views your web pages and Google is god. Don't upset her.