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Web Design Tips – Things to Avoid

When you are new to web design there are some common mistakes that a lot of people make. Below I am going to cover some of the most popular.

Unique content

While you may think it’s quicker to simply copy somebody else’s text and use it on your own website, it is a bad practice. Aside from the legal implications, search engines recognize content is not unique and as a result downgrade your ranking and appearance in results (see Google Panda).

Google and most search engines make it very easy to simple search for an image and display many results. In the majority of cases these images belong to other websites, it is again a bad practice to simply save an image to your computer and use it on your website. There are copyright ramifications and if you are in the same industry chances are your users will see the image on your competitors website as well as yours, which will simply make your website look unprofessional.

Less is more

When using animation, use it sparingly and use it simply to highlight specific content such as a special offer or an advert for a new product. Putting too many animations on a single page can distract the user and generally make the site slower to load.

Flash – when to use it

Until recently Flash (see Adobe Flash) was the most common tool to use for creating website animations, as well as “cool” interactive content. Try to avoid Flash for navigations systems, as users without Flash (Ipad/Tablet PC’s) as well as search engines will not see this content. You can use flash for animations, but always ensure you have a script that provides non-flash users with an image when they visit the website rather than a big red x – indicating no content.

Audio and Video

The use of video can enhance your website, but video files are usually quite large and require significant bandwidth. I would only recommend the use of video if it is of real benefit to the user, for example a video tour of a holiday home.

Audio can enhance your website but bear in mind most people in the corporate work environment do not have audio enabled computers. Again if you are selling music, allow the user to listen to tracks. But for the majority of people background music is unnecessary and can be irritating.