July 8, 2002-- Newsletter #188

By Joe Burns

Goodies to Go (tm)
July 8, 2002--Newsletter #188

This newsletter is part of the internet.com network.

Goodies Thoughts - Privacy Policies

How important is your privacy to you? On a scale of 1 to 10, the vast majority of web surfers would rank their privacy up near a 10 in importance. Unfortunately, too many websites rank a user's privacy much closer to a 1. Those are the sites that leave that ever-lingering bad taste in the users' mouths. Because of this "bad taste", more and more user's are paying much closer attention the Privacy Policies provided by the websites that they visit.


So, what is a Privacy Policy?


I'm sure that most of you have viewed a privacy policy at some point in your web surfing adventures. Basically, a privacy policy lets the user know how the information the user provides will be used. It can also provide additional information on things like encryption of data, how privacy disputes are handled and many other privacy related issues.


There are also different ways that sites implement and publish their policies. Many sites will implement a blanket policy that covers the entire site. Others will implement different policies for each section of their sites. For example, a site may have a Privacy Policy in place for their discussion forums that is completely different from the policy on their shopping cart system. Others take yet another approach by combining the two methods above. This is done by creating a blanket policy that covers all areas of the site and then adding in special sections that cover specific areas of the site.


So, when should I use a Privacy Policy?


As a general rule, a website should have a Privacy Policy in place if they are accumulating and/or displaying any user provided information. This means that if your site has a shopping cart, a newsletter subscription form, a survey, discussion forums or even a simple guestbook, you should be providing a Privacy Policy. Simply put, if you gather any information at all about the user, you should provide a Privacy Policy.


So, what is usually included in a Privacy Policy?


If you look around the web much you will find a very wide variety of policies in place. The most important items to include in your policies are the types of information that you collect, what you intend to do with information collected and what options the user has in the collection of data. You can also include secondary information like how to handle disputes and special contact information. Here is some more specific explanation on the three most important items outlined above:


Types of information - Policies should state exactly information will be gathered. This could be in the form of specific user input entered via a form. It could also be information that is not "volunteered" like information on the type of browser they are using or their IP address.


Your intent - This should specifically outline what you will be doing with any data collected. Will the data only be used on your site? Will it be included in market statistical survey report? Will it be sold or rented to third parties?


User options - This would include things like whether a user has the option of not having his information sold to third parties, what personal information will be required to complete certain forms/sections, and information on unsubscribing or removing their information.


So, do I need to get legal advice before making a Privacy Policy?


Well, that depends on the size and type of site that you are implementing your Privacy Policy on. For the most part, just including a detailed explanation of the items above will be quite sufficient. If you take a look at Privacy Policies on other sites you should be able to get a pretty good idea of how you would like to word your own Privacy Policy. Take a look at the internet.com Privacy Policy (http://www.internet.com/corporate/privacy/privacypolicy.html) and the VeriSign Privacy Policy (http://www.verisign.com/truste/index.html). They should help get you started.


If you are implementing a policy for a larger business or corporation, though, you may want to consult an attorney before publishing any policy. Larger businesses have much more to lose, so it's always a good idea to run your policy by an attorney first.


So, is there anything else I should know?


The role and standardization of the Privacy Policy is ever-evolving. In December of 2000, the W3C published P3P.


If you remember, the W3C is the World Wide Web Consortium. They are the folks that "guide" the web with the goal of making it a more standardized and user-friendly place. The P3P publication stands for Platform for Privacy Preferences specification.


The P3P is intended to make it easier for the average user to define their own Privacy Policy. The policy that they create is then automatically checked against the policies of the sites they visit. If the site requires more information than the user wishes give, the user is alerted and then has the option to over-ride their own Privacy Policy settings.


The idea is a very sound one. By automating the Privacy Policy process, users will be able to easily know what information a site will require as well as what a site intends to do with any information provided. In most cases, it will eliminate the need for user's to read through the sometimes lenghty Privacy Policies of the sites they visit.


The whole process is implemented through an XML file. The XML file contains specific pre-determined tags that define all of the major components of a site's Privacy Policy. It also has the flexibility to add non-standard policies as well as a traditional written Privacy Policy.


While this is not by any means a requirement for websites that gather data, it is most likely the wave of the future. Only recently, with the release of Internet Explorer 6.0, has P3P actually been implemented in a browser. This implementation will probably signal the beginning of wide-spread use of this new standardization method.


The specific structure of the XML file, how to make it public and all of the other facts regarding the P3P specifications can be found at http://www.w3.org/TR/2000/CR-P3P-20001215/.


Thanks for reading!


Quiz Goodies

Here's an easy one for you this week. Using DHTML, how do you turn a hyperlink red when you hover over it?


Read answer below.

Q & A Goodies

Questions are taken from submissions to our Community Mentors. You can ask a Mentor a question by going to http://www.htmlgoodies.com/mentors/.



Q. I have a VERY VERY basic knowledge of HTML and I'm completely lost. My friend Amanda made the new layout for my site. I can figure out everything except how to make the navigation at the bottom work. It was put in as part of the design. The design was saved as a JPG. I can't figure out how to make links out of the graphic that she made. I'm really desperate cause I don't want to go back to my old boring layout.


A. You are going to have to use an image map to finish the links on your site. There are a couple of tutorials on the HTMLGoodies site. I suggest using this one:


It has links to image map editors that I suggest you use instead of hand-coding it.

*** This question was submitted to our Mentor Community. The answer was provided by Bob Conley, one of our Web Design Mentors.



Q. Hi, I was wondering if there was a way for me to remove a bottom scrollbar, but not the side one.


A. You can't. If you prevent scrolling, you lose both. All you can do is try to make your pages fit into standard size windows. If you get horizontal scrollbars when the window is full size at 800x600, it's too wide and you need to fix the code.

*** This question was submitted to our Mentor Community. The answer was provided by Eric Ferguson, one of our HTML Mentors.



Q. I'm using Dreamweaver to make my website and I'd like to make the image on the opening page constantly change like a slide show while viewers look at the page. Right now there is a different image each time the viewer visits the page (or each time they refresh the page). I'd simply like it to change every few seconds all on it's own. I have about 11 images or so, all the same size but I can't figure out how to do it. I've tried the tutorial in the program as well as a book I've got for Dreamweaver and they explain it some but I still can't figure it out. There's stuff about Layers, Creating Layers......etc. I just want to know step by step how to do it. I'm hoping you can help me, I'm lost on this one.


A. You will have to use an editor to manually go in and modify the document to add the code necessary to do this. Here is some sample code that might be of help:

<TITLE>Image and Link Slide Show</TITLE>
var a=0
var count=0

// Set this variable to the speed at which you want the images to change. The speed is in milliseconds.
var speed=10000

// Enter your images Here along with the directory if need be.
var imgs=new Array()

// Enter your URLS and what you want to go in the ALT property. This is so when they mouse over the image
// There will be a small description of the Image or URL. Make sure you separate them with an
// ampersand "&" so that the script can separate them out before writing out the link.
var urls=new Array()
urls[2]="http://www.dynamicdrive.com&Dynamic Drive"
urls[3]="http://www.htmlgoodies.com&HTML Goodies"

// Array used for preloading
var myimages=new Array()
// Preload First Image
myimages[a]=new Image()

// This is the function that rotates the images and links. You should not have to modify it.
function Doimglink()
// window.status=a
document.mydiv.document.write("<A HREF='"+newurls[0]+"'><IMG SRC='"+imgs[a]+"' BORDER='0' ALT='"+newurls[1]+"'></A>")
elm.innerHTML="<A HREF='"+newurls[0]+"'><IMG SRC='"+imgs[a]+"' BORDER='0' TITLE='"+newurls[1]+"'></A>"
// Preload the next image
myimages[a]=new Image()

// In the DIV below you may have to add the top and left properties to the style tag to position it
// correctly in the window. You must keep it positions as absolute for it to work in NS4.0+ browsers.

<BODY onLoad="Doimglink()">
<CENTER><H1>Slide Show With Links</H1>
<DIV ID='mydiv' STYLE="position:absolute;top:120;left:200"></DIV>


*** This question was submitted to our Mentor Community. The answer was provided by Jim Young, one of our JavaScript Mentors.

News Goodies

eBay dropped a cool $1.5 to pick up PayPal.

Click here to read the article


Pop-up ads getting on your nerves? Here's a little read that might make you grin.

Click here to read the article


Have you been interested in learning about web services? Here's an article that might help guide you through the maze.

Click here to read the article

Quiz Answer

Adding this simple hover feature to your pages only takes about 3 lines. Here they are:


  <STYLE TYPE="text/css">

    A:HOVER {COLOR: #FF0000}



That's all there is to it. This tells the browser to apply the hover effect throughout the page. The "A" in "A:HOVER" refers to the <A> tag for hyperlinks. The "HOVER" tells the browser what effect to apply to the hyperlinks. Everything in the brackets {} defines what is to happen when the user hovers over the link. In this case, it is turning the text red.


You can also apply other effects like changing the size of the font or making it bold instead of changing the color by separating the effects within the brackets with a semicolon. You can even combine effects.



And Remember This . . .

Did you know that on this day in history two interesting events in U.S. history occurred?


Even though the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4th, Independence Day, it was not until today that the document was first read in public in Philadelphia. It took two more days to get copies sent on their way to the colonies and a month to get all of them signed.


Coincidentally, this was the last day the Liberty Bell was heard ringing. In 1835, it was ringing for the recently deceased Chief Justice John Marshall when it cracked, never to be heard again.

Thanks for reading Goodies to Go!


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