Websites are extremely important for every business on the planet. Some research has shown that 85% of a businesses potential customers will search online for them and look at their website prior to contacting them or obtaining goods and services from them. Therefore, as the potential to get a lot, most or all of your customers from your website, it’s a good idea to make a good first impression.
There is only one thing worse than having no website for your business….. and that is having an awful one! It is a fact that bad websites lose business. No matter what you do, a lot of people will derive the quality of what you do or produce from your website.
There are some things that even though, may once have been cool and popular, now make you look completely ridiculous. Let’s cover a few things that you and your business should not do.
Frames, frames, frames. Most web developers and IT professionals curse the day that frames were invented. You do have to consider whether or not frames are appropriate for your website. Frames have very limited uses. I would even go as far as to say that since HTML 4.01, they are completely useless.
Firstly, frames make your website look very 90’s. And that is not, I repeat not, in a good nostalgic way. It’s in a ‘I can’t believe we actually used to do that’ way.
Frames are awful for accessibility. The W3C accessibility validator will likely get that enraged upon checking your page that it will command an almighty force to throw lightening bolts down at your server. Businesses these days have legal obligations that they must adhere to – these include rules about accessibility. Screen readers fail with frames. And ‘designers’ (and I use the term very loosely) that implement them normally don’t get it right. By using frames, your basically sticking two fingers up at accessibility which will not only lose you custom, but damage the reputation of your website and business.
2. ‘Las Vegas Style’ writing
Ever watched CSI? Seen the nice panoramic views of Las Vegas? Glowy, flashy, fit-inducing text should never been seen outside of Las Vegas, casinos or entertainment establishments. The one place that they should most definitely never appear is on a website.
For a start, it is annoying. Again, in the 90’s it was cool – this was because for the previous decade those lucky enough to have an Internet connection had just looked at black text and little else. So, it was a novelty, that rapidly declined in ‘coolness’ circa 1995.
Secondly, its hard to read. Your visitors are going to lose the will to live before they manage to decipher the cryptic flashy mess that you have implemented onto your website.
3. Animated GIFs
Step away from the Animated GIF! These are just a little bit less annoying than ‘Las Vegas Style’ writing. There was a reason Macromedia invented Flash. Yes it’s not perfect, but it’s lightyears ahead of a good old Animated GIF.
If you visitors wanted to watch a cartoon animated GIF, they could go and watch the Disney Channel, which produce much higher quality and interesting cartoons.
Animations are fine (in moderation) but never have I ever seen a necessary implementation of an Animated GIF. We honestly thought that these had died along with Geocities.
If you don’t agree with us on this, just ask yourself one thing. Do you ever see Animated GIFs used on popular and successful sites? Google? Microsoft? Facebook? Wordpress? Wikipedia? Manchester United FC? You get the point, I could go on for at least another 33,000 lines (minimum) of popular sites that do not use them.
4. Useless Crap.
Sorry, but there’s no more polite way to get this across. Useless crap belongs in the bin, hence the name.
All major operating systems have included highly visible clocks since the late 70’s. There is no need to reproduce a clock on your website, unless you are a time piece specialist, talking clock etc etc.
Websites should include features and interactivity that add to them. When designing a website you should never, ever include something purely because you think it ‘looks cool’ or you think it will impress people.
News flash – your are going to look like a 10 year old.
Unless your a band, entertainer, musician or music retailer, theres no need for background sound. Even if you are one of these things, you still normally don’t have them.
We have lost count of how many times we have had to have a little chuckle as a website starts playing its ‘inspirational’ music.
It is almost assured that you do not require background music. And if you do, the user should always be in control. If I am forced, without control, to listen to the Superman theme tune every time I visit a page on your website (including the incessant restarting when I browse between pages) then I, as a customer, am never going to visit your site again.
Not only that, I am actually going to bookmark your site and place it in a folder called ‘NEVER VISIT!’, just so I never make that mistake again.
Humour aside, there is a serious message to all the issues covered above. We hope that you’ve managed to learn new tips and / or reinforce your knowledge of good and bad web design.
The tips, information and advice above should be followed by every website, both personal and professional. But these are some of the absolute basic fundamentals that you must take note of if it is a business website.
To illustrate a point, for education purposes (we promise we are not being mean!), this is not how to do it. This website has committed several extra sins on top of what has been mentioned here.
Final piece of advice – if you know what you are doing, great. If not, leave web design to the professionals.
Which brings us nicely onto the fact that DPS Computing Limited is launching its new site in the next week and will be offering web design packages at a very competitive price :).
PS – the background music on our ‘how not to do it’ website example is ‘Born to Win’ – available in all good music retailers (somewhere).