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Website Building Guidelines

I came across a really useful publication dating from 1996, which I believe still holds true today. It was put together by Apple, they of the IPhone, Macintosh computers and lots of software fame.

See what you think…

  • Plan Your Site
    Have an Objective
    Develop Content Before
    Add Value
  • Provide The Basics
    Provide Author or Contact Person Information
    Identify With your Corporation or Institution
    List your URL
    Let People Know How Current the Site Is
  • Communicate Effectively
    Keep Pages Short
    Use Formatting Wisely
    Summarize Information
    Use Specific Link References
    Define a Language Style
    Use Familiar Technology
    Capitalization for Human Interface Elements
    Use Useful and Clear Error Messages
  • Help Users Find Their Way
    Take Advantage of Keywords
    Provide a Directory of Your Site
    Minimize the Need to Scroll and Resize
    Use Descriptive Titles
    Choose the Appropriate Depth Versus Breadth for Your Site
    Use Appropriate Navigation buttons
    Avoid Dead Ends
    Include Internal Links on Long Pages
    Include Links to the Key Locations in Your Data
    Duplicate Navigational Items at the Bottom of Your Pages
    Use Cross References
    Provide a Search Mechanism
  • Design for Efficiency
    Don’t Bury Information
    Minimize File Size
    Use Small Images
    Use Thumbnail Graphics
    Repeat Images Where Possible
    Specify the Width and Height for Graphics
    Use Interlaced Images
    Know the Difference Between GIF and JPEG
  • Accommodate Differences
    Provide Alternate Text for Images
    Provide Files in Cross-Platform Format
    Let Users Decide
  • Make it Look Nice
    Use Appropriate Formatting
    Design for Different Page Orientations
    Use Caps/Lower Case or Initial Cap Style for Headings
    Use Empty (White) Space Liberally
    Establish a Layout Grid for Your Site
    Use a Consistent Visual Design Language
  • Encourage Dialog
    Provide Ways for People to Interact With Each Other
    Provide an E-mail Contact
    Provide a Way for People to Request Specific Information
    Make the Interaction Live, If You Can
  • Think Globally
    Provide A Way For Users To Choose A Language
    Choose Your Graphics Wisely
    Consider Language Differences
    Avoid Assumptions About Text
    Consider Alignment Differences
  • Maintain Your Site
    Test Your Web Site
    Copy Edit Your Pages
    Check For Broken Links
    Update Your Site Regularly
    Keep Information Timely
    Provide Access To Archived Information

Clearly some of the recommendations herein are aimed at web developers. But I also think that as the web becomes a standard way for businesses to communicate it is imperative that they understand some simple basics of web development to ensure they support their online presence effectively. Thus ensuring a greater return on their investment.

Ports Presentation by Shaun Carvill

I was recently asked to give a presentation at the BPA conference in Scarborough. For those who don’t know the BPA is the British Ports Association and is a collective of businesses all of whom run our Ports in the UK.

My Topic was loosely “Websites for Ports” but I mainly focused on two key areas; Usability and Visitor tracking.

I firstly gave some critique on two of the delegates websites who were kind enough (or foolish enough) to put their website forward for a little eyeball by me. I was rather clever in being able to show the assembled audience of some 150 delegates both the “old” and the “new” versions of each of my victims websites. And fortunately the audience agreed that the changes that happened to the websites had been positive in both instances on re design.

The tool that I used to find the older versions of the websites is called Way Back Machine -which essentially an archive of a lot of websites since about 1990. Take a look at your old website and see how things have changed. Link: http://www.waybackmachine.com (by the way it doesn’t work very well if a site was run on a database)

Using Google Analytics I showed the audience how to track their website visitors and what to look for in spotting trends, both good and bad.

I then showed some demographics of their website visitors. Where they came from what words they used in Search Engines and spotted some trends.

All in all I think the audience received my”wisdom” pretty well and I hope that they found the talk interesting at least.

Incidentally if you ever get to visit Scarborough, check out the Castle on the top of the hill, you can’t miss it and the views are stunning!

Tracking your website visitors

I have just come across a really cool way to track your website visitors. If their company has its own IP address, which more and more have as they have proper networks installed, then you can see who they are (within reason). Its called Leadlander and I have an article about it on our new website soon to be released. To keep upto date on the expected launchdate for our new website please send me an email on shaun@clickingmad.com.

This can help to track your web visitors activity, help with your outbound marketing and see what search terms they have used.