Random Web Design Advice and Good Practices

Published in Web Development on Monday, February 6th, 2006

As I hinted at in the previous post here on Fiftyfoureleven, lately I've had the opportunity to work with a couple of folks who are a bit new to the web. It has been a great experience for me, as it has forced me to think about some aspects of how I work and some of the things that I consider "Best Practises".

So here, in no particular order of importance, is a list of dos, donts and best practises that I would pass on to others if they were to ask (a.k.a. brain and link dump). Feel free to add yours on in the comments:

Comments and Feedback

...there is no reason for spelling mistakes...

Like "oversites", you mean? ;)

Just kidding - that's a great list of dos and don'ts.

Regarding the local server setup, Matt from Code and Coffee recommended to me a while back the use of WAMP Server which is a very easy method of setting up a local server with a mysql database, php, etc... You can even install Coldfusion to work with it.

Great list so far.

Great advice for those working in small teams. I would add, "know your audience," demographic profiles, etc.

Hey cool. You should add this to your list of resources. Your typical visitor is most likely to find this post there :p (just givin' ya a hard time).

The deal with IE-homework...I'm afraid I'm just gonna have to be the guy that says "who cares about ie5" - I treat it just like netscape 4...and I'm ok with that. There box model may be simple to fix, but there support for some core DOM is bad.

And the flashobject.js thing I'm sitting on the fence as for its fallback. I love how it works, don't get me wrong about that... but you're essentially downloading both the flash file, and the fallback... It would be nice if there was a way to just get one or the other.

In this day and age there is no reason for spelling mistakes.

You may want to "re-devlop" that weblog-content-top.png, too. ;)

Great tips, regardless.


Matthew: Yeah, that's one of those country things I think. Some countries are more strict than others? :D

Bryan: thanks, I have that link in the unpublished resources and couldn't find it. Almost 500 of the suckers waiting for me to find five minutes of time...

Dustin: A lot of this is from the resources, and if it's not in there it will be, but adding this post would be a good idea. Not sure if I've ever linked up my own blog in my resources! WRT IE5, depends on, as Blake says, your audience.

And as for Flashobject, it has saved my ass once, so I do like it, but I see your point. I wonder if there could be a workaround for what you mention...?

Dale!! Nice find! Damn, that Fireworks needs a spell checker! * blush * All fixed now.

Great article. Insanely important for new-comers to read about.

I can't stress the creation of a local testing server. If you're going to follow the "great designers steal" idea then please please please don't put it on the web until it's not longer a copy-and-paste site. People do not take nicely to piracy of their web sites even if you are only testing/learning.

How about: don't use target="_blank" to open external links in new windows? (whether you are hiding them with JavaScript or not)

All images should be JPEGs? You've got to be kidding me! The wavelet compression algorithms used by JPEG will make any neat, crisp lines or text UGLY with all sorts of squarish blotches.

Now, you can say that all photographic-type images should be JPEG, and I'll pretty much agree with you- but 'all images' includes neatly designed headers and footers and navigational elements- indeed, on this very page most of those are in PNG.

Yes, I was kidding about that... did you read what I linked to for that point?

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