Dont Make Your Website User-UNfriendly!

Web Design is a very subjective process. Your idea of what looks good may differ from the next person's. While wild backgrounds and flashing text were once considered 'cool', unwritten standards have evolved into every web designers inventory.

In the following examples I intend to convey a few of those user-unfriendly examples to you. My purpose is only to get you thinking about the layout and performance of your website. If you have one of these examples on your site, and you like it, by all means - leave it there! These are just examples.

1. Page Counters Five years ago, every site had a page counter. They proudly displayed how popular a site had become. The problem is, as many site owners started to find out, is that these counters can be easily manipulated. They can start at any number (not just 1), and they can produce vastly over-inflated numbers. On the other hand, if your site is not a high-traffic area, do you really want customers to know that?

2. Javascript Text Scrolling I remember when this first came out. In fact, I had it on my home page. Do you remember visiting a website and all the scrolling text across the bottom? These were usually put in your status bar along the bottom edge of your browser window. They have become a big no-no in web design. Users like to see their status bar, or, if they don't, they turn it off. Either way, this is a useless tool.

3. Excessive Animated .GIF's In the mid 90's when the Internet boom hit, everyone was getting a home page. Sites and ISP's would give you FREE space to put up your information. Soon, webmaster wannabe's everywhere were over populating the web with crazy animations and bright (obnoxious!) colors. Today very few sites use these files. They are now considered a waste of bandwidth. Since most companies pay for their hosting by how much bandwidth is used, animated GIF's went by the wayside.

4. Under Construction Signs There used to be (and probably still are) pages and pages of different 'under construction' graphics for webmasters to use. Why is this a problem? Well, isn't the Internet just a big construction site anyway? Are you and your friends, clients, and other businesses constantly updating and upgrading their information online? It also conveys a sense of incompleteness. No business wants their customers to think they are running on a low budget or producing an incomplete website. The construction graphic is extinct!

5. Page Fades We've all seen those fancy pages that fade in and out, from circles to spirals and even window-shades. They fall in the category with the scrolling text - obsolete! Most Internet users are looking for INFORMATION, not fancy graphics and page transitions.

Will Hanke is owner of Lighthouse Technologies,"> a web design, programming and hosting company. He is also author of several software applications in use by companies across the US.

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