Check out the size of this textarea for comments that I found on an industry association site (I won’t mention which site or which industry). They’ve given their visitors a whopping 26 characters by 7 lines before a scroll bar is displayed.
You say it’s still possible to keep inserting text, so what’s the problem? You’d be right. The visitor can keep typing and create a large comment using the available facility. But have you tried to create a long message in a space this size? It’s very frustrating. Reviewing the text is very difficult.
Perhaps they are trying to discourage visitors from creating long messages. That can’t be it as there is no real barrier here. It’s still possible to create a long message, just not very convenient. Perhaps they are concerned about a larger input field forcing changes to the layout. I think they could extend the width to at least 36 characters before any significant adjustments would be required, but there’s plenty of scope to increase the number of lines displayed. 10 to 15 lines would seem more appropriate.
By the way, there was a link to site developer at the bottom of the page. I visited their site and looked at their contact page. It’s just as small.
[Note to self: Better check all the sites you’ve developed just to make sure I’m not throwing stones while living in glass house.]
I’m not touching the issues on this site related to the Flash (with an annoying sound effect) or the reliance on scripting for menus (that could be built in HTML and style in CSS with a virtually indistinguishable visual result but with less cruft in the code and greater usability). But I will mention a reference a small item that jarred for me on their home page. They show an icon for a DVD just below the text “View our short window film DVD”* and then “READ MORE” presented like a button. The whole thing is an image as a link. So when you click the image you go to a new page which has a YouTube video embedded on it.
[*There’s actually a clue about the industry in that text. It’s not a reference to Microsoft Windows, and the film has nothing to do with movies.]
What jarred? Two things bothered me. There’s no DVD it’s a YouTube video; and other than a small amount of text in the video, there’s nothing to read. A little proofreading goes a long way.
[Another note to self: Better hire an extra pair of eyes to keep me on the straight and narrow.]