Les Getchell | Web design philosophy

A few tips …

To start, it's knowing what not to do. See Jakob Nielsen’s Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design + Top Ten Web Design Mistakes of 2005 + The Ten Most Violated Homepage Design Guidelines. And for lots of examples of bad design, see Vincent Flander’s Web Pages That Suck.

What are the especially bad ideas?

Frames. Not all browsers and search engines support them. See partial remedies at Search Engines and Frames.

Flash. The Web is not television. Unlike television and Flash, which are passive and linear, the Web is interactive. The gratuitous use of Flash is a classic case of form over substance — and wrong form at that.

Splash. Why go to a splash page to be asked to go to another page? Dumb. And frustrating for the reader.

It is far more important to be found by readers than to look cool. Flash and splash may be loved by designers who don't understand the Web but they are not loved by search engines.

Surprise noises. Let’s make it embarrassing for the reader. Nothing like going to a page then suddenly have loud sounds and music come from a computer — especially when others are sleeping, or when the reader is in the library or at the office.

Hidden links. Nothing more frustrating than making a reader hunt for unobvious links.

Buried pages. It’s frustrating for a reader to go to a new page every paragraph or so.

So-called Web 2.0. Don’t get caught up in the hype. Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web, calls it “jargon.“ And, as Nielsen puts it, “Web 2.0 can be dangerous to your profits."

See a pattern with bad design? Focus on the reader. Avoid the fads.

So what are the good things to do?

It’s about content. Lots of content. Go in-depth, and more depth. Readers will decide how much they want or need.

And it’s about information management. Give people depth but give it to them organized — logically and intuitively. Take a tip from journalists: Write in inverted pyramid order. Write in plain English, too.

Be fresh. Give people a reason to visit your site (that would be content). And then give them reasons to visit again and again (that would be fresh content).

What is unique about your site? How are you different from everyone else? Why should people go to your site if not elsewhere?

Combine depth with beauty. Attractive in-depth sites are functional sites.

Help people find your site easily. See Google’s Webmaster Guidelines and WebWorkshop’s Google’s PageRank Explained. Also see How To Use HTML Meta Tags and Search Engine Features For Webmasters.

Also see this New York Times article, How to Make Your Web Site Sing for You.

More tips …

For essential works on creativity and communication, go to the recommended reading page.

For the practical application of these concepts, see Web design services + portfolio.

For site design, re-design, conversion, or maintenance, go to the contact page.

Impact of the World Wide Web
Newspaper print circulation down, newspaper online readership up

Web reaches new milestone: 100 million sites

www.LesGetchell.com 2005. All rights reserved. Friday, July 23, 2021, 09:28 PM