This is a great post: Web Pages That Suck presents the biggest web design mistakes in 2004. It’s funny, but it also mentions some good stuff in the process. here’s the list:
1. Believing people care about you and your web site: A website is about customer’s needs… not staff’s needs.
2. A man from Mars can’t figure out what your web site is about in less than 4 seconds: This follows the logic in Steve Krug’s book “Don’t Make Me Think” – he compares a website to a billboard on the highway. that’s how much time you have to connect with your website visitors.
3. Mystical belief in the power of Web Standards, Usability, and tableless CSS: Here’s a great quote from the article: “Remember, nobody gets excited about the tools used to build a house (“Please tell me what brand of hammers you used!”). People get excited about how the house looks and performs.”
4. Using design elements that get in the way of your visitors: they’re talking about splash pages, animations, bad Flash navigation, etc. But I could add Library Catalog navigation to this list! Why do some ILS systems wig-out when I hit the back button – and why am I forced to use their “special” back button? You get the idea.
5. Navigational failure: No links back to the home page, poorly worded links, etc.
6. Using Mystery Meat Navigation: This is a great way to describe links that you have to hover over in order to find out what they link to…
7. Thinking your web site is your marketing strategy: Library websites don’t do this so much… the website is PART of your marketing strategy – not ALL of it.
8. Site lacks Heroin Content: By “heroin,” they mean content that keeps website visitors coming back for more. That’s the goal of my library’s Subject Guides. Another related area is frequently updating information on your library websites – update that tax forms page before you offer it again!
9. Forgetting the purpose of text: When you want to use text – do so. Don’t use graphics or flash.
10. Too much material on one page: pretty clear.
They actually list reasons 11-14, too… go read the article, and take the advice to heart!