The details count – what not to do on your website.

Posted: November 14, 2008 in Web dos and donts
Tags: , ,

There are a couple of pet peeves I have with regards to websites.

1. Add a news ticker or an animated gif.  This is SO 1990.  You want something dynamic and moving on your website that will catch somebody’s eye.  You are probably not used to creating and designing websites, worrying about flow and functionality… News tickers only work if you’re CNN and have a ton of updates to get across in as little time as possible.  But even then, it’s not that fast.  Sitting there, watching a little line scroll across the screen one word at a time.  Who has the patience for that?  Not me.  You need to go talk to your friendly neighborhood web designer.

2. Tell everyone to ‘Click here’ for more information.  People know that if a word is a different colour than the rest of the text, it’s more than likely a link and if you hover over that word of a different colour and it turns into a little hand, you can click on it and it will take you to another page, hopefully with relevant content on it to whatever it is you are reading about.  Your readers aren’t dumb.  If they managed to make it to your website, they probably know enough that you don’t need to hold their hand and tell them that they need to hover their mouse right over top of the word and then ‘click’ to make it do something.  See my other post about the importance of linking for some tips.

3.  Write your content like you would for print.  Most people do not read websites, they scan.  They scan faster and leave faster than any other medium.  Make it easy for a browser to see what your page is about.  Don’t make them dig for it, because they won’t.  They’ll leave and forget you instead.  For web writing tips, try 10 Tips for Good Web Writing, Writing for the Web or The Seven Qualities of Highly Successful Web Writing.

4. Open all links in the same window.  Not opening links in a new window when they send you away from the website you are on.  Some may argue that having so many windows open gets annoying.  But seriously, if someone finds you from a referral link anyway, and halfway down your text you send them elsewhere, then they close the window to come back to what they were reading… and can’t figure out how they found you in the first place… what good does that do you?  This one isn’t just non web savvy people, the most guilty parties I’m finding are day to day bloggers that may just be skipping the step of selecting ‘open in new window’ when linking to other material.  This includes linking to pdf files and other files for download.

Do you have anything you would like to add?  Leave them in the comments!  I’d love to hear what other web offences you find most annoying.

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