A couple weeks ago I posted a short and sweet post about not copying the poor web design that other people do really well. (See Web Design: The Good, the Bad, and the Downright Ugly.) I wanted to continue that discussion today with a link to an article that went out in the FrontPage Insider Newsletter today called, 9 things not to have on your Web site. (If you want a subscription to the newsletter, register at Office Newsletters.
I've seen many questions in newsgroups and other customer posts about how to design Web pages. As the author of this article, Jeff Wuorio, points out, you can find a lot of people telling you what you should do (and sometimes that advise may be conflicting), but rarely do you find articles that tell you what NOT to do. This article lists nine things that you should NOT do with your Web site.
Wuorio talks about Flash animations, sound, and posting your photo on your home page, among other things. My post about adding sound to your web pages told you what I think of pages that have sound. Wuorio mentions Flash animations, but I want to include any animation, including GIF animations, that have a large file size, take a long time to load, and fight for attention with other images and animations that exist on the same page. Not cool.
Personally, I rarely like animations, Flash or otherwise, and I've rarely seen them done really well. Animations usually tell me one of two things: (1) someone is trying to sell me something, or (2) the person who designed the page is an amateur. (Or it may tell me that the person is really smart and bored to death: for example, the animation of the clock that follows the mouse cursor.) I've seen, as I'm sure you have, pages that use animated bullets in a bulleted list. Ugh! Okay, for a beginner, this may seem really cool, but if you are trying to sell something or have something important to say, don't do it. And if you are ever inclinded to using the animated bullets that come with Office on your Web site, just say NO. Please!
I think part of the problem is that some people design a Web site, with it's accompanying animations, like they would design a PowerPoint presentation. These are two different things. In front of an audience (the right audience), animated presentations can provide a humorous context for what the speaker is saying. On a Web site, if the audience doesn't understand the humorous context, the joke just falls flat. There's no fun in watching a comic die on stage, and there's no fun looking through a Web site that closely follows every rule of what NOT to do.