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Warnings & Advice on Website Usability & Promotion
Below are some basic warnings.
  1. Know your target Audience - Too many sites have never decided on the audience they are targeting. Think about the people who you want to come to your site.
  2. Do not use any navigation or entry that 99.999% of your target audience can't use. Don't use Flash for any essential information you don't have in HTML or simple graphics as well. Make sure your site is tested on Netscape for Wintel and Mac as well as Internet Explorer for both platforms. Can you afford to turn away 10% of your viewers or customers?
  3. Viewers should be able to tell at a first glance of your home page what your company does and what aspects of that are within the site. This needs to be in visible text (not in an image that looks like text) on your home page.
  4. Navigation (buttons, etc) should be clear and consistent throughout the site and there should be text links at the bottom of pages to the major parts of the site (or at least to a text based site map).
  5. People should be able to bookmark individual pages - Another reason not to use frames.
  6. Pages need to be basically in HTML and to load quickly (10 to 20 seconds on standard modem connections). Do not rely on everyone having a broadband connection.
  7. Contact information should be readily available on every page - don't make people click to get your email from a specific contact page (it should be on every page --- in the footer is a fairly accepted place): Plus consider making a street address, phone numbers, etc. as well as a contact form.
  8. Site should look reasonably good and, in all important aspects, work in all major browsers (not just your particular version of Internet Explorer) for Wintel and Mac and if you are wise, for Linus as well, (check the site in AOL's current browser for usability but don't expect that to look good).
  9. Have alternate text tags for your navigation graphics and your logo (to allow visitors who are blind or who have graphics turned off to use your links and also for the search engine spiders).
  10. Don't design with Front Page Okay this may be a personal preference but lots of people using browsers other than Internet Explorer (there are quite a few both in the U.S. and worldwide) have problems with Front Page designed sites AND the code is terrible! Of course, the html code from Word is even worse. But none are as bad as the code Publisher creates to do web pages.

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This page last updated September 8, 2003
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