Thursday, 22 March 2012

Web page design

In the course of a week I look at a lot of different web pages so I thought that it would be an instructive exercise to make a note of any design issues that made me think, "Why on earth did they do that?"

Too many promotional sites have not been updated for months or years. When you see content such as “Our next meeting will be in September 2010” or “I am hoping to publish the next issue of the magazine in January 2011” it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence. This problem seems to happen most frequently when the design of the site has been entrusted to an external contractor - who I can only assume wasn’t contracted to do any work other than the initial design and who then left leaving the site owner without the knowledge or access passwords required to do the job themselves?

Hyperlinks that direct the reader to a third-party page that has long since vanished (annoying) or hyperlinks that don’t work at all (very annoying) or hyperlinks that encourage the reader to send an email to an address that it not monitored (keyboard-bitingly annoying) can be found on most sites.

I’m always rather curious why designers, having carefully contrived to get a potential customer to visit the web site, should then provide a quick and easy means for them to leave it again. But that is exactly what external hyperlinks are intended to do. If I have my house decorated by Bloggs Builders I don’t allow them to include an advert for their business on my external wall. So why do so many paying customers allow web site designers to do exactly this?

One final point – external designers don’t always appreciate that authors don’t earn anything when their books are sold second hand through Amazon so always check that they haven’t included a link that encourages clients to do exactly that!

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