Web inSite Journal
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Web inSite Journal

Right Point Web Index

Ineffective Web Design -

Web Design Don'ts

We often read about the things to do to ensure that a web site is effective in conveying the message it intends to convey, but we don’t often think of those aspects of Web design that were once accepted that no longer serve our purposes well.

It does not pay for us to go over every thing that we can think of that can be done wrong, since there are thousands of these items, but we could spend some useful time in talking about things that are commonly done that can adversely affect the ability of the site to get our message across. Remember that if the site accomplishes its purpose well then it is effective, regardless of how many web design rules it breaks.  Sometimes breaking the rules can make your site unique and more enjoyable and communicative, but more often than not, breaking the rules can help to destroy your purpose.

You can find just about everything you can do wrong by visiting sites that list hundreds of bad practices. While there are a lot of useful don’t dos, if a Web site were completely devoid of every issue listed, it would be either quite plain-looking or very time-consuming to create.

For now, let’s discuss things that can be done wrong, but that many do not consider wrong.  In many cases the designer may not know any better, but more often they think it’s really cool.


Web Design Don'ts

The Sound of Music

July 29, 2009

If your site is not musically oriented, don’t play music.


No! You don’t understand.


I don’t want to hear it.


Aren’t we good?

October 7, 2008 

World class.
Leader in our field.
Best of breed. 

Cut the crap. 

Tell everybody what you can do for them, not how good you are. There is no problem with tooting your own horn and telling people about specific experience and capabilities, but do it in a way that conveys your interest in their problems and how you can help them, not how great you are and how privileged they should be to use your products or services. Tell people about any awards you have won, but if you haven’t won any awards, it doesn’t mean you ‘re not good, it just means you’re not world class.


Avoid Excessive Vertical Scrolling Whenever Possible

August 25, 2008

It is rare to find a site where you do not need to scroll vertically.  Vertical scrolling is relatively easy and not too inconvenient, unless you have to scroll for miles to find what you’re looking for.  If your message is a continuous stream, like an article, then vertical scrolling is fine, but if you have specific areas of a page defined for different purposes then bookmarking these places and guiding people from the top of the page is helpful.

Avoid horizontal scrolling at all costs. 


Where Am I? - Don't Forget the Web Page Masthead 

August 14, 2008

Let’s consider what happens when someone lands on your home page or landing page. Where do their eyes go?  What is the focal point? Without graphics the eyes generally go toward the top of the page to determine if they have found the right website.  What is the name of the website, and what is its purpose?  Graphics can pull the eyes away from this point and cause temporary confusion.  If the graphics are really good they can cause permanent confusion.

The masthead should identify the Web site immediately.  Advertising above the masthead has become popular today.  You find it on most large commercial sites. The advertiser would prefer to have you click on their ad before knowing if you have found the right site.  Advertisers pay more for this space so they will do all they can to draw your attention to this space.  If your purpose is other than to sell advertising, then don’t copy this method.  Most people find it highly annoying and understand what to do to avoid the ads because they visit these informational sites often. 

If you have a site that people usually only visit to find you, then tell them who you are explicitly without flashing lights.  Good graphics can help, but most importantly, have the name of the site be clear and near the top of the page.

Also, don't forget to have your logo or masthead identification link back to your home page. Most people expect it, so don't have them searching for the Home button.


William Szczepanek, Right Point Web, LLC.