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Web Design I: Introductory Comments

For a number of reasons, I find myself spending quite a large amount of time surfing the web. As more and more people decide to have a website, I see more and more pages that will present problems of various types. Many of these problems can be avoided. This series will discuss what I perceive as the problems, and what I consider a good correction of the problem.

It cannot be emphasized enough that these are my own opinions, and are quite definitely not set in stone. They are, however, generally echoed by authors of books on web page design, with varying degrees of emphasis.

I had thought to attempt to classify errors, but I could not come up with a satisfactory scheme to classify them - quite often, any scheme I came up with ended up placing a common error into multiple classifications, in spite of the fact that I intended the classifications to be disjoint and comprehensive. So, I'm not going to classify them, just go through them one at a time.

I also expect that I will be digressing occasionally, and expounding on general concepts - or perhaps launching into tirades on topics that I have particularly strong feelings about. Bear with me. Don't let it provoke you into flames; try to stick with civilized discussion. As I said, this is my opinion. You're free to ignore it, and I'd quite frankly prefer that to getting involved in pyrotechnics or competitive urination.

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There's a lot of good, easy-to-understand information at Webpages That Suck.

WPTS itself sucks; they make assertions - probably true - about other people's pages, but provide no easily-accessible explanation of WHY said web pages suck, nor do they suggest ways to correct the flaws. It's seems to be more of a snarking site than an educational site, though for someone that is willing to spend the time wading through the hip-deep snarking, there may be useful information. The book of the same name suffers the same flaws. I don't consider WPTS to be a useful resource.

I don't find that so at all. Every Daily Sucker I look at includes comments like "the background image makes it hard to read the text", "mystery meat navigation", "annoying animated GIFs", "not enough contrast between text and background", "background music you can't shut off", "tiny font size", "the name of the page should not be TITLE", "over-use of Flash", "takes too long to load", "what the heck is this page about, anyway?".

I hope that none of my pages will serve as examples. :-)

I hadn't actually planned on using any specific examples; these posts (and the originals) are talking about general and fundamental errors at a theoretical level. If I want to address a specific site's specific flaws, I will take it up with the site's webmaster first.