Sunday, October 29, 2006

How to annoy me with your website - an update

Earlier this month I explained about how you can annoy me with your website - and then invited people to comment and suggest what else they find annoying. Here's a brief summary of the results of that dialogue.

Pet peeves of other people (with my comments in italics) include:

GENERIC BASIC WEB DESIGN MATTERS
  • things that make it difficult for us to read:
    • busy backgrounds
    • black backgrounds
    • font and background colours which don't work well together (you can't beat black text on a white/very pale background)
    • fonts which are too small
    • fonts which are too big
  • things that make it difficult for us to get around the site
    • web pages that lack consistency and make us work harder at understanding where the basics are (eg menu and return home buttons have varying locations)
    • pages we can't get out of ('back' button does not work)
    • impossible to find out how to get back to 'home'
    • websites which open up endless new pages for every bit of the site we visit
  • difficult to reference - and bookmark because the site is designed so that there is no html address for a specific page and you cannot link to a specific page and (so what's the chance anybody is going to come back?)
  • 'flash git' mentality
    • anything which assumes we have all the time in the world :
      • a front page which requires a plug-in that (we won't have it)
      • flash intro pages (cut to the chase - show us how to get in fast)
      • nothing that tells us how get into your site (guess what - we don't bother to find out!)
    • music playing - we like to choose our own thank you very much and if we really don't like yours we leave very fast!
    • pages which morph / dissolve (we get all worried and think we've got a virus!)
  • difficult navigation - inconsistent design between pages - work out one design and stick to it so we can navigate easily. (Use of CSS - see below - makes this a lot easier)
ART MATTERS
  • you fail to say what medium you work in (not a problem you'll have with mine I hasten to add - see www.pastelsandpencils.com ! )
  • difficult to navigate
    • unable to switch from larger image to rest without going back to the thumbnails - 'next' button required
    • close the image - and close the link to the website (well that was quick visit - and we're unlikely to return!)
  • poor quality images eg:
    • poor photography
    • image made too small (instead of using less than 72 dpi - latters makes images easy to see on the web without making them easy to reproduce)
  • lack of dimensions for piece
  • lack of prices
Now not everybody will agree with all the above - but it's food for thought isn't it?

Web design from scratch is a website which I think provides some good summaries of things you need to think about. You don't need to buy their services to benefit from their good advice. Here's a taster
I'm certainly not preaching from a position of strength on all matters and I think I might just give myself a refresher!

Links:

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have always read your blog with keen interest as so many others do. I am smiling with a chuckle sneaking out(just my cheeky humour), as my website and blog have black backgrounds and for some odd reason when I did it my visitors are more consistent in returning. I am not saying it is the perfect background and did consider the change to black for a very long time after a considerable about of research. White and black seem to be the go; yep and I chose black though always thinking and keeping an open mind for a better website.

One thing that does need to be taken into consideration when building a website; is it search engine friendly? The “KISS” (keep it simple stupid) method is the best, especially for those artist that are busy and building their own websites so that they are more inclined to update them. It is these that are also often search engine friendly.

In saying this I know my own website can be improved and is “work in progress” at all times. Katherine you have given me a lot to think about……thanks!

Katherine said...

Glad to be of help Susan and I look forward to seeing the outcome of your labours.

I need orange said...

I visited a site yesterday that made me think of this thread. The artist's thumbnails did not show whole works, but rather showed postage-stamp-size fractions of the pieces. Who can tell from just that whether one wants to take the time to download the whole image?

-- Vicki in Michigan

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