Best practices and guidelines for Web design tend to fall into two categories: do's and don'ts. They might change places every now and then, but most likely the don'ts will end up on someone's list of fixes or changes. Sorting through the vast list of what not to do in Web design, I've come up with my top five, which I'll explain in some detail below.
Note: These tips are based on an entry in our Web Master blog.
1: Don't create a splash page
With the advent of HTML 5, there is a level of controversy surrounding the use of Flash. And since most splash pages are created in Flash, it's not a surprise that they seem to be on the wane. Splash pages are particularly overdone in many instances with long load times, several minutes of artful graphics, and no navigation. The exceptions are few and far between. Many splash pages can last up to a minute or more, and they become tiring when you want to get into the meat of the content on a Web page. Besides that, most visitors click through or just leave sites to avoid splash pages, and Web browsers have a hard time indexing them in their ranking systems.
2: Don't mix HTTP with HTTPS resources
3: Don't link pages to themselves
This offense is still on many lists, and I can't count how many times I still see this on Web sites today. Visitors get confused, can't remember what page they are on, and forget whether they clicked on that link when the same page refreshes. It is just not a good practice to link any page to within itself.
4: Don't resize the browser window
Many frown on this tactic from a user standpoint since they end up losing all control of the browser screen size. Most folks have their window size set a certain way and typically will close out any sites that automatically change the browser window.
5: Don't use frames
Some Web sites still use frames, especially for badges, widgets, and embedded content on a small scale. But typically, the widespread use of frames has fallen. Here are a few reasons why frames create weaknesses for Web sites:
- Search engines have trouble reading content within frames.
- Not all browsers support frames.
- Adding a favorite or bookmarking a frame generally will not work correctly.
- Framed Web sites often don't close properly when content is viewed through several frames.
- Printing Web content within frames becomes problematic and typically requires a separate print-friendly option as a workaround.
Additional Web design resources
Ryan has performed in a broad range of technology support roles for electric-generation utilities, including nuclear power plants, and for the telecommunications industry. He has worked in web development for the restaurant industry and the Federal government.