Maxmillian's Gold: Things to Avoid In Web Page Design!

Article by Ronald J. Saunders

All of us have skills that we have developed in our life as time has marched on. We have all gained skills by going to high school or perhaps to college and then have used the skills and knowledge to further our pursuits. We have taken tennis lessons, photography lessons, word processing lessons, and several other training courses that have improved our ability to perform tasks. Web page design is not much different than other thing that you would like to become proficient at. It takes training and practice and then some more training and then some more practice. Yes, you can get something up on the web with very little work and you are encouraged to continue these efforts. You should never be dissuaded from going to the tennis court because you never had a lesson, and it is a good idea to walk out on the court and hit some balls around even if it is your first time. There are a lot of articles out there that tell you that you do not need to know HTML. Usually they are trying to sell you something such as and editor or a web template, so their positions are somewhat overstated. The truth is that you need skills sets appropriate to the task. Like most things, except home surgery, you can practice as you learn, so start looking for a local, but inexpensive course, in HTML. It is very easy to learn and is no where near as complex as programming. In fact, it is not truly considered a programming language.

Being dynamic and very practical you will want to get results on your very first web design project, so with this introduction, let's get started on doing it right the first time with a little gold from Maxmillian!

  1. Make sure you have the skills or a plan to have the skills. Getting the training that that was discussed in the introduction will keep you from making the mistakes that are so common to a lot of internet sites. The HTML scripting knowledge will allow you to understand the changes that are being made if you are using a full featured editor.

  2. Now that you are convinced about the skills, and you have started building your site, you will need to insert a back ground. This is one of the first sets of HTML tags that you will insert into your web page. Your new instructor will undoubtedly have you do this and will send you off to one or more of several hundred sites to choose one. You will experiment with several and will pick one because you think it is right or your deadline has approached and your time is up. Before you choose, just consider again what it looks like before you proceed. When in doubt, opt out for a very clean look. There is some really ugly stuff out there on the web. Make sure yours is not one of them!

  3. One of the most enjoyable courses that you might take is Flash. What a great way to combine programming and artistic talents and come out with something like a movie. And so dramatic too! So every web page should have one; right? No, in fact, Flash should almost never be used except for very special occasions and never as an opening page. Consider the time it takes to load and execute one of these great productions. The people that surf your web will want to get to the meat of what you have to offer whether it is something you sell or something you have published on the web. If they get bogged down on the opening page, they will opt out of the site and move on. If you pay for advertising it will cost you a lot of money for that pay-for-click and you will not get an order or the traffic that you wanted. Some of these first page production are very amusing the first time but are not interesting to repeat traffic. You might think that having a skip button on the site takes care of the problem but this is just rationalizing your decision to use an animated introduction page. The bottom line is; do not use a flash intro or any intro that wastes the viewer's time.

  4. Blinking lights are very useful for drawing attention when you are turning the corner in your vehicle or for attracting attention in Las Vegas but they don't serve a good purpose on a web page. They will annoy the visitor and will eventually drive them away! The same thing for scrolling text, sounds, and music. Simply say no, because they will drive people from your site.

  5. Links to other sites are necessary in almost every web site. Just be careful where you link because maintaining them is a lot of work. Broken links will cause your visitors to close your site and go elsewhere. If the link is necessary then make sure it opens in a new window. If the viewer is not interested, they can close the window and move on. If their interest is high, they might take a ten minute detour, but when the window is finally closed the view is again at your site.

  6. Try to avoid using JavaScript for menus, animation or image buttons. In the longer run you will be happier with simple text style links put into a table that repeats on every page. These are much easier to change (and you will change them) and are much easier for the robots to navigate and index your site properly.

  7. Let me close this list with one very important rule. I have not seen this covered by other authors, but I am sure someone else has covered it. Even is you use blinking lights, scrolling texts, and outrageous music (God forbid!), always, always SPELL CHECK. Have you ever tried to do this with Notepad? If your editor does not have a spell checker then copy the document to a word processor and check it. Then make your spelling corrections manually in your original document. Don't copy and paste back to the original or you may have some new problems introduced by the word processor.

In closing, just step back and look at your page and check on various browsers and screens if you can. Ask others to critique it for you. Then you will be ready to publish!

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