Website Design Tips or Things Not To Do

Ok folks, I have decided to toss out some general tips for those of you who consider yourselves website designers. I have been seeing lots of poorly designed sites out there, and it has frustrated me enough that I have to mention a few of the top offenses. Read this and take heed, you might think you are cool and a super leet rumpshakin pimp webmaster dude but, you’re not. Follow me:

  • Keep your audience in mind. Don’t forget that you are writing a website for a wide variety of users, not a small minority. Sites that don’t render in anything but IE and have the little button “Best Viewed in Internet Exporer” drive me insane, and in fact I won’t do business with sites like that. Most of what I am going to talk about in this post centers around this main issue.
  • DON’T BASE THE WHOLE SITE ON JAVA-FREAKIN-SCRIPT! Did I make myself clear? I can’t tell you how many sites I have found that not only don’t have any navigation links without Javascript enabled, but won’t render at all without it. Here’s a clue, if I just described your website, you are a moron. Javascript is great, but it’s also dependent on the browser again which means you can’t rely on it for critical things like navigation (if that’s the only navigation), rendering the site in the first place, form input validation (duh!), etc. Anyone who uses it for form input validation is crazy, you don’t trust that to something that can be manipulated on the client side … HELLOOO?!
  • DON’T BASE THE WHOLE SITE ON FLASH! Did I stutter? Not only does it take way too long to load, especially for people on dial-up (yes, people are still using dial-up, in fact, the majority of web surfers still do), but we run into that whole client side thing again. Don’t alienate people because they don’t have the right plugin, I don’t care how widespread you think it is. I know, you are thinking that it’s only 5 or 10 percent of the visitors, but why throw away that many opportunities? Come on man, get with it.
  • Don’t over do it with the gadgets. Yes, fly up pop out whirl around shout at you menus are cute, but they detract from the whole purpose of your site, to convey whatever information you have to the visitor. Now, if you have no content maybe you should have all that stuff.
  • The same goes for too many graphics. Load that page up with too many pics and you are back to having it take too long to load and people getting fed up and moving on. From the research that I have read, you have about four seconds to get the page loaded and grab a visitors attention before you have lost them. Think about how fast you yourself move on when surfing. Uh huh, see?

I think that’s enough for now, it’s a good start anyway. At the very least you should get an idea of where I am going. Keep your sites clean, simple and easy to navigate. Great designs are fine and well, great even, but do it right!