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design @ theill.com

I'm writing a section about good web design policy. Currently, I'm  researching no-no's on web design, e.g.:

  • never design your pages using special fonts unable for a vast majority of your users.

  • never use (multiple) large (>32 KB) pictures in the same page (unless user is aware of this, of course).

  • always remember at least some kind of ALT tags on images. Some users do turn off graphics.

  • limit the use of animated gifs - especially very dominant ones, i.e. with flashing text or background.

  • if you want to use a background image, make it a small one around 5-7 KBs.

  • test your designs with Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator/Communicator and Opera.

  • no music should be loaded automatically when a user visit a page. If a user really wants to listen to some music while browsing your site, they should press a specific button to start it.

  • do not steal graphics from other pages, e.g. by grabbing a small "send email" icon, without asking the author of the web page.

  • do not mimic layout of other sites i.e. do not copy color schemes, type faces (fonts) or graphic style.

  • when using JavaScript events like onMouseOver, onMouseOut, etc. make sure you preload your images or your users will have to hold their mouse above a given item before it is loaded.

  • keep your design viewable in a 640x480 resolution; some people still uses this and it is pretty irritating to scroll horizontal when viewing a web site. Sometimes a 800x600 is acceptable, but you have to analyze your users before selecting a higher resolution for your general web design.

  • analyze your users and make sure you have a flat hierarchy in your design. No specific information should be more than three clicks away from any page.

  • Contrary to the advice I've seen to break up long pages so people don't have to scroll, I'd much prefer to download information all at one time and be able to skim -- rather than read a little, click on yet another link, WAIT yet again for a separate download, etc. At the least, there should be the option to see all the information at once. For instance, articles on the PC World site are frequently broken into multiple parts, but you can see the whole thing at once by clicking on "Printer Friendly Version".

If you have a good suggestion, please let me know.