This is intended as a collection of tips and advice to give a quick overview
of what to be aware of when designing web pages. This is mainly to give
you some hints and ideas, but some of the hints may be linked to longer
articles about just that theme.
DO plan ahead
People think of different things when they hear "web design."
Some put too much weight on the word "design" and forgetting
"web" - but a site can look great and still be a failure if
it doesn't work. Remember to plan how it should function, as part of
DO make it quick
If your site is slow to download, your visitors will most likely leave
- especially if they don't know what the site is about. Remember, the
rival is only a click away!
DO appreciate textual content
It's only in rare cases that the design is more important than the
text - like when the point of the site is to show the design itself.
In all other cases, the design should only be used to support the content;
what visitors come to read.
DO learn HTML
Or these days, XHTML or XML. Why would you need that, with all the
visual editors available that hide the code for you? Simply because
while these tools may help you very much, a human is able to write better
HTML, and will be able to clean up what the visual editors may create.
DON'T think you know it all
...because no one does. There's always something new to learn for
DO start your work on paper
Sketching on paper how you want your site, with all the pages in relation
to each other and the best and easiest way to navigate them. Then you
can start the computer work.
DO check the spelling
Nothing makes the content appear worse and amateurish than bad spelling.
Check and correct any mistakes before you publish.
DON'T annoy your visitors
Certain tricks has always been used to attract the attention of the
visitors. Gif-animations are one thing, the dreadful <blink> tag
another. But while the movement and blinking attract the attention,
it also turns visitors away - because the annoying elements breaks their
DO be careful with fonts
Too many fonts looks bad. Too small fonts look bad - and the same
font and size do look very different on different computers and resolutions.
What may suit you may be too small for many. And when you set a font
face, remember to provide alternatives, including the generic 'sans-serif'
DON'T use wild backgrounds
To make it easy for visitors to read your content, make the contrast
between the text and background good. Patterned backgrounds under the
text will make it hard to read, and some colours don't go well together.
DO save often
And do keep backups.
DON'T confuse visitors
Make navigation simple and logical. Let them know where on the site
But do learn from your mistakes. There's bound to be mistakes, and
things you would do better given a second chance.
When people tell you they don't like your site, do listen to them.
You may disagree and be right, but try to understand why they don't
like it - you can learn a lot from it!
Frames are out now, a thing of the past. To display pages with frames,
you really need a large monitor, bookmarking is difficult or impossible
(especially if you want to send the URL to a friend) and much more.
Search engines often get confused by frames, and won't list the site
- you don't want that?
DON'T be harry
Using techniques for their own sake is a miss, and it won't impress
anyone that aren't looking for exactly that thing - and then only once.
Do you have a flash intro? Make it possible to skip it.
DON'T limit me
Making a site dependent on particular plug-ins reduces its appeal,
and the number of visitors willing to spend time on your site, particulary
if they have to download the plug-in. They may not come back.
Even people with ISDN connections turn off graphics to get better
performance, in addition to blind and sight impaired users.
DON'T break copyrights
If you haven't made it yourself, and haven't got permission from the
author/artist, don't use it on your pages. If people will be flattered
to find their work copied and used, it will be possible to contact them
first and make a deal - legally.