WEB DESIGN -- Common Mistakes to Avoid

The entries listed below should be avoided or eliminated:


Basic Design Problems

Stale out-of-date information.

Having to use the horizontal scrollbar.

Poor overall appearance.

No contact information.

Purpose of site not obvious on the home page.

Purpose of each webpage not explained at top of page.

Advertising banners.

Pop- up messages.

Frames - What's wrong with Frames? - Frames Pros and Cons

Pages are too wide thus requiring horizontal scrolling - Page Width

Pages too long (need to be split up into separate topics)





A slow-loading home page is especially bad.

Slow loading webpages.

Intros are by now considered out-dated.

Loading . . . Loading . . . Loading . . .

Free hosting means low bandwidth, commercials, pop-ups.

Slow performance servers are available even if not for free.





A cool features website rather than content oriented.

Low priority information on the home page.

Sought after important information buried deeper in the site.





Grammatical and spelling errors.

Text written in all capital letters.

Text that is too small.

Text that is too large.

Fonts that only work on your computer.

Mix of too many fonts, text sizes or colors.

Not enough contrast ratio (may be ok on your screen, but not mine).

Not enough white space.

Too much white space.

Text too close to borders.

Poor contrast ratio between text and background.

No paragraph breaks on long pages.

Too many abbreviations, especially if not explained.




Personal names, phone numbers, email addresses readily available.
Email addresses inadequately hidden from the harvesting robots.




Poor color choices.

Too many graphics.

Graphics (e.g. photos) too large.

A large graphic downsized by the web page's HTML code.
Uncompressed graphics.

Images that don't load (i.e. broken)

Lack of ALT tags to explain each grap.hic (e.g. for blind readers).





Broken links.

Hi-jacking the back button so you cannot escape the site (frame problem).

Non-standard navigation colors.

Mystery navigation leaves you guessing where you will end up next.

Easter egg navigation, scattered and camouflaged all over the page.

A different mix of links in the various locations of a page.

Too many site navigation links on each page.

Links open a new browser window.

Navigation scheme changes from page to page.

Home button difficult or impossible to find.

Navigation links that turn out to be mailto: links.

Navigation that all too often leads to a PDF file.

Contact links that turn out to be an email link.

Orphan pages that assume the back button is sufficient.

Search engine blocking navigation (e.g. Java Script links w/o a site map).

To find out about Disney Land click here (problem for blind readers).



Poorly Search Engine Optimized


Poorly done title tags which are so important to search engines.

Important site and page titles and descriptions done in graphics instead of text.

Poor use of frames, search engines don't like frames.

Site navigation that search engines can't use.

Fixes (e.g. for framed site) that look like SPAM, getting the site black listed.

Dynamically generated pages that the robots can't or won't navigate.

  Symbols in a page's URL that search engines don't like (e.g. & $ = % ?).

Server time outs result in search engine robots abandoning the site.



Browser Compatibility


Requiring the latest version of Internet Explorer or Netscape.

Requiring the down loading of plugins.

Poor browser compatibility (e.g. only works properly with Internet Explorer).



Animation (Please Don't)


Flash intros are out-dated and no longer considered "cool" and popular by visitors.

Animations (cool a few years ago, now considered very annoying).

Text scrolling down (was cool, not anymore).

Text scrolling horizontally (was cool, not anymore).

Using the Blink Tag.

Animated bullets.

Under Construction signs, especially the animated ones.



Other Mistakes


Music and other sounds that play automatically (the boss may be listening).

Frames that cut off part of a page horizontally.

Poor use of frames.

Busy, distracting backgrounds.

Poor organization.

Different backgrounds on each page.


Author: David Buxton


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