Christian Zimmermann's Principles of Good Web Site Design
- Have original content
- That seems pretty basic, but people will only come again if there is
actually something to learn from the site...
- Keep it up to date
- Broken links, inaccurate material and outdated texts obviously do not
encourage people to come back.
- Do not use graphics if you can do it with text
- A third of internet users turn graphics
off (or have a non graphical browser). Additionnally, all text that is in
graphics will not be interpreted by search engines. And graphics just make
the page download longer.
- Avoid tables
- They make it messy on some browsers, and search
engines get confused.
- Do not hardcode the layout
- Not everybody has the same screen or window size as you, let the
client software (the reader's browser) organize the layout for his viewing
pleasure. This means in particular, do not force font or change the color
of the text (imagine a browser with a white default background and you
force a white text...)
- "This site is designed for any browser"
- Why limit the potential readers to those of a specific browser?
Imagine a new TV channel viewable only with a certain brand of TV sets.
- Have stable addresses
- How are people going to link to files or your site if they keep
changing? And imagine the frustration of those droping in from a search
engine only to find something different from what they expected.
- Have transparent HTML coding
- There is less risk for the browser to be confused, and files get much
- It just gives additional opportunities to make scripting errors. If
the functionality of your site depends on it, many people will not be able
to navigate it, either because the browser freezes, or because they have
- Avoid frames
- Unless you really know what you are doing, do not use frames. The most
common mistakes are: sites not navigable without frames, hardcoded frame
sizes make that certain areas spill out of the window and cannot be
reached, and windows too small to be readable.
- Do not use plug-ins for critical fonctions
- There are just too many sites that I cannot access because they
require the latest version of a plug-in. And why have people waiting for
huge files to download if all they want is to get past that first page...
© Copyright 1995-2002 Christian
All rights reserved