Teacher Website Don'ts

Basic Tips for Creating Your Pages - DON'T

Know the Do This part of Web Design, avoid the pitfalls. What makes a bad page? As sure as you know what makes a good one, you know a lot about bad ones. They're junky looking. They use lots of bad moving images and because of that, they are slow to load. You can't figure out where things are - they are impossible to navigate. They have old, outdated, unusable content. There is no original content - just long, nondescriptive links to other sites (and many of the links don't work to boot).

Here are a few basic DON'Ts.

DON'T

  • Don't overuse big images and especially animated Gifs. When you're first starting to build your pages, it's nearly irresistible to include lots of those cute moving images (animated Gifs) and big, beautiful pictures. But, they bloat the file size of your pages and, worse, overuse of them looks tacky and distracts your viewer from the real meat of your page. Here's a great example of a pathetic web page designed to encourage normal people NOT to return,

  • Here's an animation' that is here just to show you how distracting they can be --

    don't

    While we said that visitors will wait for good content, they will not wait if the extra file size is devoted to background music, dancing bears and other extraneous cuteness. Visitors to your site are MOST interested in CONTENT.

  • A page of nothing but links (half of which no longer go anywhere) is frustrating to your visitors. There are dozens of really good, subject specific web review sites out there. They are well researched, logically organized and searchable. You can't hope to compete with them -- you don't have the time nor the resources. You can Use them by providing a few links to the best in your subject area. Include a short editorial comment of what your visitor can expect if they go there. Don't provide a long, useless list of sites. In link pages, a short list of quality sites is best. Overdoing it is irritating and confusing. Make sure to check your links regularly to make sure they are current and appropriate.

  • Speaking of links, don't put external links on your Home Page. Visitors will see the link, think it may interest them and they are gone from your site before they see any of your content.

  • Links to inappropriate sites are not allowed. It is assumed links to other sites have been researched by the school or teacher and found to be educationally important and appropriate.

  • Don't use a 'busy' background image. It's hard on the eyes and harder to read. Use contrasting colors for background and text. White background with black text is still the best bet.

  • Don't use images as your only links. If you do use them, have text-only links as an option. People hate waiting for multiple images to download so they can click on them. And, whenever you do use images on your pages, always provide "Alt Text" for those who surf with the images turned off or are visually handicapped.

  • Never use an "Under Construction" sign. A web site is never done, so everyone knows its under construction - it's the Web. If an area of your site isn't complete, don't provide a link to it! It makes you and your whole site look bad. If additional pages are anticipated, but not yet developed, the text that will provide such a link should be included. However, the actual links to the pages should not be made until they are actually in place on the District server.

  • Don't EMBED music in pages. It makes pages take FOREVER to download. If you want to offer a sound file, make sure that it does not automatically play so that the users has an option to choose to play or not.

  • DON'T TYPE EVERYTHING IN ALL CAPS BECAUSE IT MAKES THINGS REALLY HARD TO READ.

  • Don't bold everything because bolding is meant for emphasis.

  • Don't underline ANYTHING, especially colored text. Links are usually underlined. If you underline normal text, your visitors will think it's a link.

  • Don't use cute or obscure fonts. While that nifty font you just downloaded may look great to you on your computer, chances are your visitors will not have it installed. So, their computer will use the "Default" font and what your page looks like to them will be completely different from what you intended. Use standard fonts and specify multiple choices that are nearly the same so your visitor gets the look that you designed.