Pixel Acres

When spacer gifs go bad

It’s a while since I gave any thought to spacer gifs, but I was looking at the Exxon website tonight (as you do on a Tuesday evening) and saw something that made me chuckle. I was viewing the site in Firefox (of course), and noticed that on many pages the text “spacer.gif” appeared prominently within the layout.

Exxon spacer gif screenshot

Now, it’s not too surprising that a website designed a few years back makes liberal use of tables and transparent spacer gifs for layout, but inexplicably all of the gifs have been given an img alt attribute of – you guessed it – “spacer.gif”. By itself this won’t cause display problems, but the href provided for the spacer gifs is also incorrect, meaning that the browser is unable to display the images. In combination these boo-boos cause Firefox to render the image alt values on screen, messing up an otherwise clean layout.

I’m surprised no one who works on the Exxon website has noticed this problem. I guess they all use Internet Explorer over there.

2 Responses to “When spacer gifs go bad”

  1. Hyperreality says:

    Interesting observation! Maybe Exxon should take you up for a re-design and this time, tableless! ;)

  2. Vernon says:

    And if you couldn’t convince ‘em to go tableless… at least “spacerless”! Man I hate spacer images!