13 Lucky Steps

Step 3

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Before Designing a Website
  1. Make sure that your designer knows you want a site that is NOT in frames and which will work on all browsers in all platforms.
    • Make sure your designer will test your site on different platforms and different browsers several times DURING the design process.
      • Although 85-90% of all web surfers may use Internet Explorer 5+, you cannot generally afford to turn away viewers who have Netscape (8% or so) and other browsers
      • Neither your designer nor you should think that Internet Explorer 5 works on a Mac the way it works on a PC or that AOL's browser (which is basically Internet Explorer) will show things the same way that Internet Explorer normally does.
    • If the designer uses Flash for your site or any other media which isn't supported by all normal browsers (Netscape 3+, Internet Explorer 4+, AOL 4+), make sure that that the part of the site in Flash or the other media is optional (repeated if necessary in HTML or regular graphics) or non-essential for the use of the site. And do not have a mostly Flash first page, although you could have a little Flash on your home page, but with at least 150 words of text (in HTML not in a graphic) that explains who you are and keep the link(s) to enter the rest of the site in text or an image outside the Flash.
    • Macromedia claims that 96% of web viewers have Flash but they got their figure from those web viewers who visit Macromedia's site. Can you afford to turn away any percentage of people who want to do business with you?
    • Do not use frames. Most all the big sites which started in frames, moved away from that technique in order to get better listings in the search engines.
    • Your designer cannot be expected to "design" for AOL's browsers (sites which look good in the "real" browsers often look pretty awful in AOL's and that is jsut something to be expected. But the site must be useable on that browser (current version and at least one version before that).

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This page last updated September 8, 2003
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