Ryan Boudreaux lists his top five don'ts for web design and explains why they're not good ideas.
There are a plethora of best practices and guidelines for web design, and many fall within two categories, either the do's or the don'ts. These might change places every now and then, but most likely these don'ts will end up on someone's "to-do" list to fix or change. 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.
Don't!#1 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 is not a surprise that these 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 these become tiring quickly when you want to get into the meat of the content on a web page. Besides that fact, most visitors click through or just leave sites to avoid splash pages; web browsers also have a hard time indexing them in their ranking systems.#2 Mix HTTP with HTTPS resources
This offense is still on many lists, and I cannot count how many times I still see this on websites today. Visitors get confused, cannot remember what page they are on, and forget if they clicked on that link or not when the same page refreshes. It is just not a good practice to link any page to within itself.#4 Resize the browser window
Many frown on this tactic from an end 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 Use frames
Some websites still use them, 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 websites:
- Search engines have trouble reading content within frames.
- Not all browsers support frames
- Add a favorite or bookmarking a frame generally will not work correctly
- Framed websites often do not 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 work around.