This means, keep the same
"look and feel"
across ALL of your pages. If a user goes from one page that's white with a flowery background, to another page that's got a red brick wall for a background, they're likely to think they've either gone to another website, or that the site designer was insane.
Use consistent navigation site-wide.
Have links on every page of your site, that at the very least link back to your homepage. You might also want to include links for things like
. A good place for these links is in a line at the bottom of each page (this is how I do it). You could also have them at the top of the page, or on the side of the page (if your site uses tables or frames), but they must be there, and they must consistently be in the same place on every page.
Don't use frames, and don't add links that cause a new browser window to open.
Frames are still disliked; users can't bookmark a page within a framed site, nor can they print a page within frames. And I can't think of anything more annoying that the
Don't design pages with graphics or tables that are wider than 500 pixels.
I see this a lot from people who design on PC's. Perhaps they don't realize that the Mac browser window (as well as
, and anyone with a 14" or smaller screen size) does not open to
"full screen" width
is as wide as it goes (or in the case of Macs, it's the default width, and many people will never change from the default). If you design wider, not only are you forcing users to scroll down, but now you're also forcing them to scroll from side to side to see your entire page.
Get On With It!
Make your point in the top of the page, the
. While users are getting better about scrolling down, if you waste their
first 15 seconds
of viewing time on your site with Big Graphics Syndrome, or banner ads, or trivial fluff, you may have just lost a viewer. They'll move on to the next site without even reading the rest of your page.
Skip the huge graphics and animations.
I see this a lot, especially on corporate sites: Big Graphics Syndrome. You know the kind, the one with a huge
that takes 2 minutes to load over a modem. During that time many users have already clicked
and gone away. Design your page to be small - a good rule of thumb is under 100K including text and graphics. This doesn't mean you have to use NO graphics, it just means you should choose carefully; use graphics that are attractive and enhance your site, without bludgeoning the user or forcing them to wait 5 minutes for your page to finish loading. The same goes for animations. Animated gifs were cute the first time, but now they're just plain annoying.
Enhance, don't replace.
Site redesigns are nice and all, but not when you do it every week. Users get annoyed when they bookmark a page, then return a month later to find you've removed the page. If you MUST move a page, replace it with a link to the new location. If you've removed it entirely, be sure your site's
Document allows the user to click back to your homepage (or your search page).
Image Etiquette: use ALT tags, and HEIGHT and WIDTH tags.
Alt tags lets users see what you meant when they can't or don't load the image. And height/width tags allow the rest of the page (especially the
, which is what people really want) to load first. Users will perceive that your page loads faster, because they can start reading while the images continue loading.
Don't use dark backgrounds, and don't change the colors of navigational links.
If you use dark backgrounds with white text, users won't be able to print your page. And changing the link colors is like changing the colors on a traffic light. What would you think if the city planners went around and swapped the green and red lights? Or changed red to blue, and green to magenta? You'd be a bit confused, right? Your web visitors will be similarly confused by such changes to the link colors.
Give every page a relevant (but not overly long) page title.
If someone bookmarks the page, the title is what shows up in their bookmark file. The title is also what people see in their history file. If you just call it
, this will be completely meaningless to people, since they won't know WHOSE home page it is.
BY JAHANZEB KHAN
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