The Cardinal Sins of Website Design - latest tech tips

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The Cardinal Sins of Website Design

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Almost everyone can pick up design software and create a web site to show off their hobby or small business. Design your site poorly, though, and all that great content you have becomes a forgotten click as viewers will head off to a better designed site. The elements that make a "good" or "exceptional" website are highly objective, but these problematic design elements should be avoided, unless you have a reason somehow overshadows the negativity associated with these particular sins:

Auto-Loading Videos

There is nothing more infuriating or terrifying than web browsing late at night and opening up a web page that loads with a sudden wave of sound due to an auto-loading video or hidden MP3 player on the web page. This is especially problematic when using a tabbed browser and your not sure which site is causing the noise. This leads to a great deal of irritation. There's no real reason to not let a website visitor choose when to let the video load. If you do want sound as part of your design, let the user trigger it through input.

Intrusive Ads

Pop-ups, especially those without an easy way to close them, are a big reason why ad blocking plug-in usage is so high. If you want to encourage users to not block ads on your website so you can have a passive revenue stream, don't be obnoxious with the type of ads or their placements. Trying to encourage click-throughs for pay-per-click advertisements via ad placement that pose as actual content is deceptive and against the terms of service of many ad networks.

Social Network Paywall

Facebook and Google+ APIs make it possible to allow users to create an account for their website by signing in with their social network accounts. However, some websites are designed so you have to sign up for an account, either directly through the site or through a social network account, in order to access content. There are very few websites that offer content that cannot be found elsewhere on the Internet, so it makes no sense to turn off your traffic by making them jump through hoops to see your content.

Flash Intros Without Skip Buttons

The average user clicks away from a website if it doesn't load in less than 10 seconds, KISSmetrics reports. If you make them sit through a flash intro without a way to skip to the main page, chances are good they're going to leave your site and never come back. Flash intros in general disrupt the browsing flow and affect your search engine optimization since flash content is not indexable by search engines. Keep Flash elements on your website to a minimum.

In-Line Styles

Ever since the wide adoption of cascading style sheets for web site styling, putting styling code within the body of a website is a practice you should avoid. CSS keeps the presentation information away from the content by putting it into a file that gets called by the individual webpage. Simple site designs from hubs like fare better than overly complicated designs. One single file handles the styling information for your entire site, so you cut down on bandwidth usage and loading times. In addition, CSS is better for search engine optimization. Prioritizing design over content doesn't get you far in the web world.
Have you committed any cardinal design sins? How will your website be improved by fixing these issues? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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