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When you design a great web site, it makes you want
to get up and dance, no matter what you're wearing.
For those of you offended by the dancing baby,
please click here for an animated apology.
Be sure to click your way back to this page
What's This Page Doing Here?
Why Web design in a site devoted to good writing?
Simple. As a writer/editor who can work directly in HTML -- and as a traveller on the WWW -- I
have an interest in promoting good Page design. Unfortunately,
among the ever-increasing number of Web sites are a few that do not
follow basic rules of good design.
Whether you personally create your World Wide Web site or
hire a professional writer like me to do it for you, be aware of problem areas to avoid.
For example, as I explain in this Page, the "glitzy" style with
colourful backgrounds may not be suited to your objectives. Here
are some important points you might wish to consider:
KISS Me! Unpucker Those Lips
. . . I Mean "Keep It Short (and) Simple"
Even though the concept of physical pages has become obsolete on
the Web, remember, the longer you make your Page, the longer it
takes for browser software to load it on-screen. Also, if you want
to ensure viewers read all of your text, don't ask them to scroll
through a seemingly endless stream of text in one Page (Web surfers are notorious for their lack of patience).
Link! Also Makes a Great First Name
Links are what the Web is all about, so use them to let visitors
to your site navigate through a variety of topic-organized Pages.
If you are creating sub-groupings, the basic links would be "Up to
. . . (description)", "Down to . . . (description) " and, as a
reference point or in case visitors get lost, "To Home
Page". You might even create a Table of Contents page comprised
entirely of links. If ease of maintenance is very important, make
the T of C the focal point for navigation through your site and
include only a "Back to the Table of Contents" link in the rest of
On the Other Hand, Don't Link
Link to other Web sites only if they directly pertain to yours.
Don't link to the Coffee Growers of America just because you've
mentioned it's your favourite beverage.
Just Like a Hollywood Scriptwriter
If your site is complex, you might want to create a storyboard
or otherwise organize the layout of your site before you
start to construct it. At least jot down a few ideas, maybe even
draw a neat diagram with a bunch of arrows pointing this way and
Here's Me Saying Not to Use The Wrong Colors
Colorfully complicated backgrounds are tremendously impressive, but may unnecessarily add to the time it takes your web pages to load. There's also the
problem of superimposing text and images (some background images
make what's in the foreground difficult or impossible to read).
Will Our Mystery Guest Please Sign In
Making visitors to your Page sign in or first answer questions
can be a turn-off that chases them away . . . or prompts them to
give inaccurate information. Use this approach only if it's vital
to your objective.
A Helping Hand for the Stone Age Surfers ... (I may be old, but
I'm not stone-aged)
Provide text alternatives for the dying breed of people
travelling the Web with text-based browsers or who have their
automatic image-loading option turned off to speed up the
You "Loooook Mahhhh-velous"
Be consistent in your layout style across all of your Pages.
Also, don't use HTML line breaks inside your paragraph to keep
lines from going right across the screen; it's true that shorter
lines are easier to read, but not everyone's screen or browser
software is the same as yours . . . your Pages may appear elsewhere
as a jumble of intended line breaks and those that are given a bump to a different location. Use a pleasing but simple layout. Use headings for
emphasis (don't overuse italics and, especially, all caps).
A Picture Has to Be Worth the Right One Thousand Words
("What are these photographs of lions and tigers and bears doing
in a Web site about nuclear physics?") Avoid making your Pages a
jungle of significantly unrelated or unnecessary images. Aim for
a maximum of three small illustrations or one big illustration per
monitor screen (excluding links). Make sure they relate in some
way to your text or Page name.
Shooting Holes in the "Bigger is Better" Theory
Don't just stick a large illustration into your Page as is. At the
very least, consider using HTML coding (consult Internet HTML sites) or your photo software to reduce its size. That will speed up the loading of your Page and avoid major gaps in
Those Mistakes Will Reach Out and Grab Your Readers
Write text for your Pages clearly, concisely and carefully.
Make sure you Spell Check and proofread them . . . spending a little extra time now will save as much as days of embarrassed suffering until you can correct Pages you rushed onto the Web. You can spend the time you save not having to correct mistakes the same way I do, when I put on the ritz and go dancing.
Select one of these topics and fly to the appropriate
"Misused Words and Phrases"
"Noooo! Don't Use THAT Word!"
"Uncategoriza ... Bill?"
"Oddities & Entities"
"Professional Writing / Editing Services"
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