10 tips about web design

Henrik Birkvig has published the book Tips on web design in which he collected an commented tips from selected designers, including this signature.

12 okt 2001 // design

Show only the user it is necessary

Only ask only the user to download e.g. the Flash plugin if it is missing, or redirect to an HTML version of the page. Avoid to proselytize such as the web site will be better, nicer or more fun with Flash. And if the user has already the necessary plugin, do not bother her about.

Cut the crap - drop the reservations

Such as messages that the page is optimized for a specific browser or screen size. The user probably can not do anything about it (or will not) ...

Elastic design

... and create instead a design that takes into account these differences. A design that can tolerate different screen sizes, colors, etc.

Do not disturb (unnecessary) user concentration

e.g. with pictures or explanations that appears around the page when you point to a hyperlink. Do not waste the energy on specific text in the status bar. And some Web users may actually use the real status message.

Make choices for the user and believe in your site

Prioritize important information - from what you will tell the user, or what the user wants to know. At best, the two collapsed. But it is you who know the Web site, it is you who are communicating.

Data only one place

Web site is easier to manage if the same data, such as menu items, not located in many different documents. It is made easy with Server Site Includes. Major web projects should be based on databases.

Appearance and content are kept separate

Using Cascading Style Sheets to give visual form content. It is easier to manage and customize various user equipment.

Technically enthusiasm

Technical experiments are the basis for development. If you really had to be careful with all the technical improvements that pops up on the internet, there would hardly be any world wide web today. Accessibility is also about just using advanced technical standards and possibilities to make the content simple, comprehensible and easy to use - with the option for individual adjustments.
Lowest common denominator should not control the Web design. Make the best design that supports communication, and then add fleksibility that doesn't ditch the weakest.

Tips in general

Listen to good advice, but don't keep them too long. A good advice today may be obsolete in a year.
Good advice is like a checklist, but do not necessarily act up to all. The applicability of the advice depends on what type of site you are dealing with. The best advice is: Think for yourself - decide for yourself.
Torben Wilhelmsen
Details of various importance on graphics, web and communication

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