Some webdesign tips

  Pesala 10:40 02 Jun 2004

I came across these links on the Access to Insight Website. They might prove helpful.

Under construction: click here

Top 15 Mistakes: click here

Top 10 Mistakes: click here

  AcidBurn7uk 20:49 02 Jun 2004

Intersting, and I only clicked this topic because I thought somebody needed my advice!

One tip though for all the newbies out there:

When sizing tables, try to use % instead of px. This way, if you have a 700px wide table, some body running a screen resolution of 800x600 shouldn't need to scroll horozontaly (Spelling?, this forum should have a spell checker!).

However if you had say, a table that took up 50% of the page (width) then it would display much better on lower screen resolutions than a 700px table

Sorry if this soesn't make much sense. I have a hard time wording things, and i'm English! :-P

  Pesala 06:09 03 Jun 2004

Ispell or TinySpell are excellent for spell-checking in edit boxes. If you use Opera, Aspell can be installed which adds spell check to your right-click menu.

I'm not convinced about the new window argument. On the Serif forum, whenever I follow a posted external link it opens in the same window. When I close the window, the forum message list has disappeared. Fortunately, Opera has an undo feature to reopen closed windows, but it is even more irritating than losing control of the back-button.

  Taran 08:58 03 Jun 2004

Perhaps it was just poorly explained and the new browser window issue was meant more towards pop-ups. Some sites you visit open half a dozen new windows full of all sorts of junk when you first open their page and do the same again when you try to leave it. I'd ceratinly call this intrusive and downright ill mannered on the part of the person who set it up. If advertising return helps to cover site running costs there are ways to do it without having browser windows popping up all over the place.

In the case of forums like this it is handy when a link will open in a new window and preserve the forum for you to return to. I think this sort of thing is acceptable and even desirable.

As far as implementing bad design goes though, I think you'll find that the comments are primarily aimed at sites that feature a lot of pop-ups and new windows. One site I visited a while ago had every navigation link open a new browser window with a 'click here to close' javascript to allow the visitor to close things down. I wonder how many people were impressed by such antices where every link (About Us, Our Services, Portfolio, Contact Us etc) opened a new window. The site was the creation of a web designer as it happened, and it was supposed to indicate their skill level and be their public face to the worl on the internet. Personally I don't think they put their best foot forward - their content was good, but the delivery was quiestionnable and didn't even work properly in Firefox.

On the flip side of this I was experimenting recently with a site meant for complete beginners to computing. I left an empty rectangle of space at the top right corner of the website pages and used CSS to open a tooltip in that location on every link. Every hyperlink and some keywords scattered through the text based tutorials on the site pages opened a tooltip in that same location with an explanation of the term and some simple instructions on how to proceed in using the methods described. The site is not live, it is just conceptual and those people who offered feedback (students on a colleagues computing for absolute beginners course) seemed overall to appreciate the descriptive help offered in the tooltip. The trouble is, to anyone other than a beginner it would very probably be viewed as quirky at best or a pain at worst.

New browser windows are a topic for sometimes heated debate and there are times when they can work well and be practical. For most sites though, those times are few and far between. For the record, I rarely ever use them and when I do I include the [opens in new browser window] text beside the link or image.

  PurplePenny 12:58 03 Jun 2004

I recently saw an idea on an accessibilty web site (oh please don't ask me to remember where ... I got to it through a link on the Sitepoint accessibility forum).

It said that you don't need to use [opens in new browser window] - instead you can add it to the title=""/tooltip of the link. It seemed to be saying that that would be perfectly acceptible to meet accessibilty criteria.

If it *is* acceptible then it will certainly make pages look nicer but it assumes that the people who require that notice will be the same people who use screen readers or text browsers or who know to hover over the link. Yet the only group that I know of that is identified as requiring notice of a new window is dyslexics - who use ordinary browsers and not all will know to hover over the link.

I had the new window discussion at work a while back and many of my colleagues actively dislike pages that navigate out of a site but do not open in a new window. Their reason is as fourm member states - they can't find their way back and end up closing the window only to find that the original site has gone with it.

I saw a site a while back that has to use JavaScript pop-ups in order to function, students might need/have five or six small windows open at the same time (for comparison with the main window)). As it is a higher education (therefore SENDA compliant) site there has to be a non-javascript alternative. With the pop-ups it is an absolutely amazing, exciting, useful educational resource; without them it is bland, boring and not very useful.

Personally I like new windows. I'm am impulsive browser, I click here, there and everwhere. If it all opens in the same window I'm lost and though I know full well that I can make a link open in a new window I never, ever remember to do it. Pop-ups don't bother me at all. The only ones that I see are the ones that I've asked for by clicking on something.



  Martin : 18:48 03 Jun 2004

Try to make a "look" for the website, with a consistant colour scheme, layout, etc.

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