Contact the Web Witch
for your personal and business web presence
What is Your
There are several important steps
involved in the creation of any website.
First of all we need a clear concept of your
website. What do you want to promote?
Next we need a clear understanding of how you
want your website to look. Gather all the content you want to include (such as logos,
images, texts etc...)
How much do you want to invest?
You can be as involved in the set up and creation
of your website as you want to be.
Things to Keep in Mind
1. Using Frames
Splitting a page into frames is very confusing for users;
you cannot bookmark the current page and return to it (the bookmark points to another
version of the frameset), URLs stop working, and printouts become difficult. Even worse,
the predictability of user actions goes out the door: who knows what information will
appear where when you click on a link?
2. Gratuitous Use of Bleeding-Edge Technology
Don't try to attract users to your site by bragging about use of
the latest web technology. You may attract a few nerds, but mainstream users will care
more about useful content and your ability to offer good customer service. Using the
latest and greatest before it is even out of beta is a sure way to discourage users: if
their system crashes while visiting your site, you can bet that many of them will not be
back; it is better to wait until some experience has been gained with respect to the
appropriate ways of using new techniques.
3. Scrolling Text, Marquees, and Constantly Running Animations
Never include page elements that move incessantly. Moving images
have an overpowering effect on the human peripheral vision. A web page should not emulate
Times Square in New York City in its constant attack on the human senses: give your user
some peace and quiet to actually read the text!
Of course, <BLINK> is simply evil. Enough said.
4. Complex URLs
Even though machine-level addressing like the URL should never
have been exposed in the user interface, it is there and we have found that users actually
try to decode the URLs of pages to infer the structure of web sites. Users do this because
of the horrifying lack of support for navigation and sense of location in current web
browsers. Thus, a URL should contain human-readable directory and file names that reflect
the nature of the information space.
Also, users sometimes need to type in a URL, so try to minimize
the risk of typos by using short names with all lower-case characters and no special
characters (many people don't know how to type a ~).
5. Orphan Pages
Make sure that all pages include a clear indication of what web
site they belong to since users may access pages directly without coming in through your
home page. For the same reason, every page should have a link up to your home page as well
as some indication of where they fit within the structure of your information space.
6. Long Scrolling Pages
Only 10% of users scroll beyond the information that is visible
on the screen when a page comes up. All critical content and navigation options should be
on the top part of the page.
7. Lack of Navigation Support
Don't assume that users know as much about your site as you do.
They always have difficulty finding information, so they need support in the form of a
strong sense of structure and place. Start your design with a good understanding of the
structure of the information space and communicate this structure explicitly to the user.
Provide a site map and let users know where they are and where they can go.
8. Non-Standard Link Colors
Links to pages that have not been seen by the user are blue;
links to previously seen pages are purple or red. Don't mess with these colors since the
ability to understand what links have been followed is one of the few navigational aides
that is standard in most web browsers. Consistency is key to teaching users what the link
9. Outdated Information
Budget to hire a web gardener as part of your team. You need
somebody to root out the weeds and replant the flowers as the website changes but most
people would rather spend their time creating new content than on maintenance. In
practice, maintenance is a cheap way of enhancing the content on your website since many
old pages keep their relevance and should be linked into the new pages. Of course, some
pages are better off being removed completely from the server after their expiration date.
10. Overly Long Download Times
This issue is last because most people already know about it;
not because it is the least important. Traditional human factors guidelines indicate 10
seconds as the maximum response time before users lose interest. On the web, users have
been trained to endure so much suffering that it may be acceptable to increase this limit
to 15 seconds for a few pages.