Web Page Design: Common Mistakes
- Image editing mistakes
- If you take a smaller image and make it larger, you will deteriorate it's quality, and it will be, at least to some degree, a hot mess. To prove this to yourself, try this experiment: Take an image that's 200 pixels by 200 pixels, and in Photoshop, resize the image to 600 pixels by 600 pixels. The result will be a blurry mess. Anytime you take a smaller image and make it larger, you are creating a variation of this blurry mess. There is no problem with going the opposite direction- in other words, taking a larger image and making it smaller. To prove this to yourself, try this experiment: Take an image that's 1800 pixels by 1800 pixels, and in Photoshop, resize the image to 600 pixels by 600 pixels. The result will be smaller, but the quality will be as good or better than the original.
- It's easy to forget to add alt tags to images. Nonetheless, it's very important to provide the best possible experience for visitors to your web page that are blind or vision impaired. A simple alt tag of "peaceful oceanside beach" shares an image's content, whereas "unnamed image" reflects your insensitivity to that user's unique needs.
- Design Mistakes
- Contrast and readability go hand in hand, and many beginning web designers create pages with poor contrast. It seems that many beginning web designers fail to ask themselves a simple question: Is the color I'm choosing a light color or a dark color? The goal should be to make one of two basic design choices. Either have a light colored background with dark colored text, or have a dark colored background with light colored text. If you stray from these two design choices by using either light text on a light background, or dark text on a dark background, you will seriously compromise the level on contrast you can achieve. Granted, you might achieve some wonderful color combinations. But this will be at the expense of readability, and readability is the key to communicating effectively on the web. You will jeopardize the ability of your end users to read your text comfortably and without undue effort, and create frustration in their experience at your website. They have a simple solution, of course, and they will use it without thinking once. They leave. The most egregious example of this in my opinion is red text on a black background, and/or black text on a red background. Curiously, this is a favorite amongst many early adolescent web designers.
- Layout Mistakes
- It is a mistake to place anything outside the page's Master Table. Under certain conditions, the entire layout can completely fall apart for this reason. The solution is simple: a cell for everything, and everything in a cell. In other words, there should be nothing outside the Master Table but blank space. The Master Table can be altered to a fit any object, and this is what the beginning web designer needs to learn how to do to avoid this mistake.
- Text Mistakes
- Nothing screams "amateur" as loud as a spelling mistake, and yet, a shocking number of web designers don't spell check their work. Every effort should be made to avoid typographical, grammatical, and spelling mistakes. The following three step process should help. First, draft the text in Microsoft Word first in order to take advantage of Word's Spelling and Grammar tools. Second, spell check the text repeatedly in Dreamweaver in order to pick any mistakes added after the text is moved from Word to Dreamweaver. Finally, the web designer should carefully read what they wrote, and use the ultimate spelling and grammar checker- the gray one between their ears.