Well actually his name was Mark, and he didn’t have a British accent, but the ensuing discussion was pretty accurate (sort of).
The cardinal rule of effective web design is to design for your target audience…not yourself. There are of course industry best practices…tempered with common sense.
Websites that are able to stand the test of time have three things in common:
- Appropriate theme for the target market
- Uncluttered design
- Unambiguous navigation
Not necessarily rocket science, however these elements take a bit of upfront planning, and should not be trivialized. Good website design by its very nature is subjective, but bad design is just…well bad. Here is my checklist of what NOT to do:
- Too much Flash: Improper use of flash is gratuitous and may detract from the purpose of the website. Make sure that flash is used judiciously and not just as “eye candy”
- Pages that are too long: Long pages are subconsciously interpreted as too much work to read. It is much better to break content into multiple, well organized pages.
- Pages that are too cramped: Not everything has to be seen all at once to be appreciated. Too much collocated information is in itself a distraction. Unnecessary repetition: Give your visitor a little credit. Convenient navigation is one thing, but force-feeding it to your visitors is something else.
- Too many attention getting devises: If everything is highlighted, then nothing stands out.
- www.websitesthatsuck.com: (just in case you need additional clarification).