Journal: News & Comment

Thursday, February 03, 2005
# 9:23:00 AM:

Pulling no punches

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I love the list of 2004's worst web design mistakes from the venerable Web Pages That Suck:

  1. "Nobody cares about you or your site. Really. What visitors care about is getting their problems solved."
  2. "You should be able to look at the home page of any site and figure out what the site is about within four seconds. If you can't, your site has failed."
  3. "Web Standards, Usability, and tableless CSS. These are simply tools. Remember, nobody gets excited about the tools used to build a house ('Please tell me what brand of hammers you used!'). People get excited about how the house looks and performs."
  4. "As the client starts to sign the lucrative, long-term contract/pledge, you reach over across the table, grab the client by the throat, and yell 'Not so fast [...] I haven't finished my presentation!!!' You wouldn't do that, would you? Then why are you using design techniques that keep the visitor from getting to the sale?"
  5. "There are probably 10 million ways to screw up navigation."
  6. "Mystery Meat Navigation occurs when, in order to find specific pages in a site, the user must mouse over unmarked navigational 'buttons'—graphics that are usually blank or don't describe their function."
  7. "Unless you're an online shop selling t-shirts, cameras—you get the picture—your web site is not your marketing strategy. Your web site is part of your marketing strategy."
  8. "Ask yourself: 'What content do I have that would cause anybody in their right mind to visit my site a second, third, or fourth time?' [...] If you can't answer this question, you really shouldn't have a Web site."
  9. "Text is Text. Don't use graphics or Flash for text."
  10. "It's very easy to keep adding material to your home page until it gets out of control." (Ahem, cough, pay no attention to
  11. "Web design is the reverse of a magic trick. In a magic trick, you show the audience your right hand and perform the trick with your left. In Web design, you tell them where you're going first—and then go there."
  12. "Of course, we all realize that a 'Skip Intro' button signifies that the content on the page is worthless. Good Web designers only put content that must be viewed on a page. By giving them the option to skip this material, you're saying it's not worth seeing. If it isn't worth seeing, why do you have it on your site in the first place?"
  13. "Like Flash, there are so many ways to misuse graphics. I'm amazed by the number of sites with ugly graphics and the number that still use animated GIFs."
  14. "Microsoft doesn't use FrontPage to create pages on—even the pages discussing FrontPage. If Microsoft doesn't use it, why should you?"


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