The formerly self-imposed 640×400 window width was the
defacto standard of page design. After six months of watching logs, and
checking major hit count sites, less than 10% of users now report a window
- Certain browsers (IE) will report their screen size to the
server when it connects to a web site. 640×400 (actually about 600×350
to account for browser scroll margins/title and address bar), is still
doable with good page design. A major mistake is hard coding a site for
800×600 or higher pixels – be flexible, and allow your text to flow around
By using tables you can get the flexibility to make your page
appear well on any size screen resolution. A good table design is one
that uses Percentages instead of fixed widths. That way, a screen
will look good from 640×400 all the way up to 1600×1200.
If you have
two or three columns on your site, set your table widths to each
percentage, and let the browser work out the display. While testing,
make sure to reset your screen width a few times and reboot to make
sure your display is accurate in several different browsers and widths.
I will freely admit that there are certain page setups that are extremely
difficult to get to flow right under different browsers. (take these
pages for example). It was a very difficult choice we made to go with
this style of setup, but it has worked very well for us.
2. No Java! Notice that not a single major search engine or large
commercial site on the internet uses Java. Why? It is too slow
loading on most peoples systems. Even Wired Digital took it off their
High bandwidth Java, Real Audio, or shockwave style plugins are
out. Big time out (except specialty sites that can survive BECAUSE of
the added content). Users that surf for information or products don’t
want to be distracted by site overhead. Play to the MTV attention
span of a flea generation. (hey, wait-a-minute – thats me!)
3. No Flashing! Nothing drives users away, never to return, like
flashing text, or abuse of animated gifs can. That scrolling banner
text ranks right up their too.
4. Ban Those Banner Exchanges! Link Exchange is the great modern
Internet myth of our time. I’ve talked to hundreds of people
in-the-know about this subject, and the facts are simple – banner
exchanges cost you repeat visitors in the short run, the medium run,
and the long run. Its like putting a DO NOT ENTER sign with a big
skull and crossbones on your front door. Nothing spells Trailer Park
like Link Exchange – your left wondering why your hit rate slowly
fades away. It is one thing if you are getting paid for it – it is another entirely
if you are giving it away.
5: Don’t Abuse Images. I recently had someone ask me why their
site couldn’t get indexed on the search engines. I wasn’t surprised
when I looked at their site – 41 pages of pure images only – not a
shred of text on the site. That is the worst case scenario of course, but
you should keep pages under 64k (max) total graphics and text.
Anything else, your losing your search engine food, and the load time
is driving away users before the page ever loads.