Monday, July 21, 2008

Web Design primer - Heed well.

I have been involved with a couple of web projects of late where I have been shocked by the lack of awareness of how the web works. I felt transported back to 1997 when people would routinely inform me that the web was a fad and that older people and women would never take to the darned thing.

Businessweek ran a story: The 10 Commandments of the Web. Quite timely.

1. Thou shalt not abuse Flash.
… the technology can easily be abused—excessive, extemporaneous animations confuse usability and bog down users' Web browsers.

2. Thou shalt not hide content.

Advertisements may be necessary…but usability researchers say pop-ups and full-page ads that obscure content hurt functionality—and test a reader's willingness to revisit. Elective banners—that expand or play audio when a user clicks on them—are much less intrusive.

3. Thou shalt not clutter.

The Web may be the greatest archive of all time, but sites that lack a coherent structure make it impossible to wade through information. and others put their sites' information hierarchy at the top of their list of design priorities.

8. Thou shalt be social.

Web 2.0 is everywhere…users communicate and interact—sometimes obsessively—on browser-based sites. Designers are now filtering those same elements into diverse sites, from smart advertising to online office productivity.

9. Thou shalt embrace proven technologies.

Wikipedia, YouTube, Facebook, and their cohorts have become a part of daily life. Sites that can incorporate these elements into their design will connect with users in a meaningful way by providing functionality and an interface with which they're already familiar.

10. Thou shalt make content king.

Though the slogan is old, it still stands. Aesthetic design can only go so far in making a site successful. Beautiful can't make up for empty.

Read the full story on the BusinesWeek site

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