Alabama District

Top 10 Web Design Mistakes

The following is a list of problems that are common for many websites today.  These apply to the internet in general but especially to GWRRA websites.  The entries in this list were determined by web design professionals through many usability studies with "real" people using the web (so don't blame me).  This is an inverted list.

10. Using Frames

Frames can be a powerful tool.  They really can make short work of pulling together a large number of pages to provide a simple navigation structure.  But some serious problems are created when you make the decision to use frames to manage your website.

Search Engines confuse context

One thing that the web designer must always keep in mind is that a large number of "external visitors" will discover their site by way of a search engine.  Search engines do not know how to properly associate the frames page with the page that was returned by the search logic.  So the site visitor will be looking at a content page with no visual context.  Or even worse they may be looking at the header or footer page without the context of the frame.

Users cannot bookmark individual pages

Without some significant (and tricky) JavaScript programming you cannot provide a method to allow your site visitors to bookmark individual pages on your site when you are using frames.  Frames by their very nature hide from the address line the individual URLs (links) of each page [set].

As an example, if a visitor to your site navigates to your page that identifies the upcoming rides and events.  This is more than likely a page they are going to want to save in their browser "Favorites" (bookmarks) so they can rapidly return to that page.  When you are using frames you prevent the visitor from doing that because all they will end up saving in their browser favorites will be the frame page (most likely the homepage).

9. Splash / Entry Pages

In each of the usability studies, the people involved said they did not want to be stopped at some entry-way or foyer to the site.  They wanted to go straight to the main homepage.

If you think about, you most likely share the same feelings as those expressed by the participants of the usability studies.  Ask yourself, how many online newspaper sites that you frequent where you need to click through an entry-way or foyer to reach the "real" news site.  Do you think that you would be annoyed if you had to repeatedly be faced with a splash page?  How many sites that you encounter that have splash/entry pages do you actually "read" the content of that page?

8. Multiple Browsers Not Supported

When you make the decision to support some new fancy "bleeding edge" technology, you need to be very careful, because you are now eliminating a large number of your site visitors.  It is okay to support the latest technology, but you must do it a manner that also allows for support of older browsers.  That does not say that the older browsers must be able to look exactly the same as the latest "cool" stuff, but they should always work and they should always look good.  This is sometime referred to as graceful degradation.

7. Link Colors

Not changing colors of visited links

Non-standard link colors

6. Fixed font size - visitor overrides blocked

5. Lack of Navigation Support

No or Bad Navigation on pages

Orphan Pages - does not identify site

4. Scrolling Text, Marquees, Constantly Running Animations, Background Music

3. PDF Files for online reading

2. Non-scannable Text

1. Bad Content

Outdated information

Bad link (page not found)

Not answering user's questions

Alabama District
Gold Wing Road Riders Association