This list of do’s and don’ts intends to provide quick examples and explanations of what to do and avoid to be successful on the web. Because we web professionals are responsible for educating our clients, which in turn will help ourselves, and the web be a better place.
Reading onscreen is tiring. Users want quick results, in small chunks. They’ll favor short sentences (easy to scan through) over « filling » text and crowded layouts. Don’t reuse your marketing content without rework or it’ll sound stale.
- Use bulleted and numbered lists. (Of course you can style lists with CSS.)
- Increase readability by shortening sentences and augmenting line-spacing (especially with light on dark text).
- Structure your pages with titles.
- Be explicit and speak like your audience. Plus, you’ll rank higher for keywords your audience is likely to use.
- Use pullquotes. They’re very efficient!
- Provide valuable content. Replace sales pitches with information about your company. The Internet tends to be rather impersonal but you can change that and help people remember your brand.
More technical advice
- Avoid opening new windows. Popup blockers may not allow them anyway, and they disrupt the browsing flow (no « back » button).
- Always provide a way to turn off the sound in video and flash content (unless the content be worth it, I’m very quick to close or leave noisy pages).
- Use links. Make them easily distinguishable from plain text so people can scan them over and rush on to more content. You can even give links more meaning or create hover effects on whole blocks.
- Avoid underlining non-clickable elements (or test it to confirm that users don’t confuse them with links).
- Test your design with sample users (five is enough)
Feel I’ve missed out on important items? Don’t hesitate to help make this list more complete!