About A Webmaster - What You Need To Know

Seven Things You Can't Say On The Web


October 20, 2004

The web is a wonderful place where you can say pretty much anything. But with that sense of freedom to say and do anything we want, we often make mistakes. These mistakes often affect our visitors in a negative way. The following are seven things that we often say on he web that we really shouldn't.

1 - Coming Soon

People are simply not interested in what you may offer later on. The web is one of the most nomadic environments that exists. People are really only interested in what they can do on your site right now.

The idea behind a coming soon message is to use it to arouse excitement as a coming soon sign in a mall generates interest in a store even before it opens. But web pages are all equal distances apart; a single click. So it's simple for web users to go find what's coming soon somewhere else.

2 - Under Construction

Do you like travelling on roads that are under construction? Neither do web surfers. Under construction messages and their associated tacky graphics send a message to your visitors that you haven't taken the time to finish what you started.

3 - Best Viewed with (insert browser/resolution here)

When you create a web page that best viewed with a particular technology, keep it to yourself and pray that no one notices. No one is going to change their resolution or browser because your site will look better using that configuration.

There's nothing wrong if your website looks a little bit better at a particular resolution, so long as it looks good and remains functional at other resolutions. However announcing that your site looks best with some configuration distracts users and serves no real benefit as we've already mentioned exactly how many users will comply with your suggested configuration.

4 - Requires Flash

This one follows the same thread as the previous point. When you require flash for functional elements of your website, you are cutting off a segment of your audience altogether. Secondly flash elements tend to encourage people to become unnecessarily creative with basic navigation. This means that the average user will have a difficult time navigating your site because the navigation scheme will be unfamiliar to them.

This being said, Flash has its place on the web. It is an excellent medium to deliver low bandwidth multimedia creations. However, it should be used as a specialized tool and not a substitute for HTML.

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