I Am Not Charles

Wild Zebras

Posted in the Living Room by Joe on May 10, 2008
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Christian at Design Desires posted some simple Javascript to make dynamic zebra-striped tables. He asked for comments to be mailed to him – in keeping with last month’s rant about open discussion, I’m posting my response here instead:

No sir, I don’t like it.

I don’t find it adds anything. I’m perfectly able to read across the lines of a plain old static table, so highlight one line doesn’t make it any faster to read that line. It also doesn’t help me pick out a line when scanning with the mouse, because I’m already looking at the line that gets highlighted – I put the mouse there myself!

I don’t know if it’s just my browser, but highlighting the line causes a lot of flicker. (The “more extreme” example from Neil Roberts is even worse – it actually resizes things while I’m mousing over them, jerkily. That’s terrible!) So I’d really hesitate to use this until it’s been tested on a lot of browsers and setups to make sure it’s smooth everywhere.

The only advantage I could see is if I look away and come back later. There might be some value in highlighting the line after the mouse has stopped there for a few seconds, which wouldn’t cause flicker when scanning quickly. It still might be more annoying than useful, though.