Dear web site designers,
Don’t design your whole site in Flash. Use it sparingly. Use it when you have to. If you use it, there’d better be a non-Flash way of looking at the same information, for people who can’t see Flash and for search engines (you know, those things which bring people to your site). Which means you might as well not bother.
Your mission statement and other such guff doesn’t matter to most people. Don’t show it as a splash screen.
In fact, don’t have a splash screen. They just slow people down. It’s like making people wait 30 seconds at the front door before letting them into your shop.
Don’t make people download pictures as ZIP files. JPGs and GIFs are compressed formats. You’re just making people jump through an extra hoop to see the picture, without saving any disk space or bandwidth.
Don’t use long web addresses (URIs) with lots of meaningless gibberish. Make them short enough to e-mail without problems — 70 characters or less. Make them easy to remember, pass verbally and dissect. (Most CMS writers still need to figure this out). Ideally URIs should not include long meaningless numbers like GUIDs.
Hide the trailing /index.shtml /default.aspx and /index.jsp etc filenames. They’re utterly pointless, make your URIs unnecessarily long, and easily avoided with some fiddling of your web server. .htaccess is your friend.
Get your URIs right, because if your pages live forever, so should your URLs.
Don’t write your pages in such a way that font size options in web browsers don’t work, or people using screen readers can’t figure out what’s going on.
Make it legible. No garish colours. Or at least make it work if the user switches your garish colours off.
Stop assuming people are using IE on Windows, and barring anybody else. You’re pissing off a small but significant (and growing) number of your potential customers.
Popup/under/over/whatever windows are evil. No matter how much ad revenue you might be getting from them.
If you’ve got sound on your site, you’d better have a dead easy way of turning it off. Without the user browsing to elsewhere.
Use Form Post for pages that change things or actually require field values to be hidden; use Get for pages that don’t. That’s what they were designed for.
You’d better have a good reason for using frames.
Tables and individual font tags are dead. Viva la CSS.
How many damn pages give me script errors? Test them, make sure they work, or don’t use them.
What are your biggest web page gripes? Any suggestions, additions, corrections?
And okay, so I haven’t quite achieved all these points on my web sites… especially the older ones. But I’m getting there… gradually. Eagle-eyed geeks might notice I’ve changed the Permalinks to make them friendlier. The old ones (post 1/1/04) will continue to work. Oh yeah, and I have the day off today. Nyah nyah etc.