Welcome to WWW8. The website where you get your questions about web design, web development and best practices answered by professionals. All answers are written by people who have atleast 10 years of professional experience in a relevant field. We want to make sure that the answers we provide are easy to understand and easy to implement.
Do you have a question that you want us to answer? If so you can submit it here! Please understand that we are not able to answer all the questions that get sent to us. We try to focus on the questions a lot of people ask us and the questions we think are especially interesting.
What are best practice?
It is often said that you should adhere to best practices when developing websites. This website is designed to try to teach IT professionals to use best practices. But what are best practices and what should we do when different best practices conflict with each other.
Best practices are guidelines on how to finished a task within a certain profession. The guidelines are developed to make it easy to produce a good final product for your client and to make it easier for other professionals to expand and edit your work later. By making sure that every one works in a similar way it becomes easier to continue the work of some one else.
Without best practices it can be hard to edit and build on the work of another professional. Sometimes it might be easier and cheaper to start from scratch and rebuild everything using best practices then it is to build on an existing system. Telling a client that their old system is poorly built and that it would be best to start over can often be poorly received and many clients get mad when you say that the system they paid a lot of money for is useless. They will often think that you try to scam them and get them to spend more money then necessary,
It is always best to use best practice to avoid future problems for yourself and other professionals that might work on the project in the future.
There are often several different professionals working on a website or other websites. Different professions often use different best practices. What is consider best practice in one profession might be considered something you should never do by another profession working on the website. An example of a conflict like this is that best practice among designers to a large extent is considered things that should be avoided by SEO professionals. What makes it easy to edit a design is seldom the same things that optimize a website.
How should we handle best practice when different profession works together have different best practice? For us the answer to this question is easy. Always confirm with the best practice that is closest to the customer/ end user. If one best practice is designed to make the work easy for the professional and another is designed to make the website work better, load faster for the customer than the one that helps the customer should be followed. Which ever practice is best for the end user should be used. If this makes the life a little harder for the professional then so be it. In the end it is the end user (the website visitors) experience that will decide if a project is a success or not.
Always focus on the user experience
It is not just when it come to best practise that you should focus on the end user experiencing. The desire to provide the best possible end user experience should permeate the entire process. From planning to execution. Your goal should always be to provided the best possible product to the end user. They might not be the person who are paying the bills but they will decide whether a project is a success or a failure.
It is not always possible to build the perfect product for the end users. You might have to compromise due to budget concerns or due to other requirements that your client has. Your goal should despite this be to try to create as close to a perfect product as possible.
Some important things to consider when designing with the end user in mind:
- Load speed: It is very important to program and design with speed in mind. Users expect websites to load quickly and if your website loads slowly then users will chose to visit a competitors website instead. Research shows that you will lose 50% of your visitors if your website takes more than 3 seconds to load. The goal should always be for it to load in less then 2 seconds.
- Good user interface: It is very important to make sure to design a good looking easy to use interface. The user needs to understand how the website works by looking at it even if it is the first time they visit the website. It is very important that all resources are easy to find and that the website is easy to navigate.
- No intrusive functions: Avoid using intrusive functions and ads that can ruin the user experiencing. Common examples of things that should be avoided include pop ups, pop unders, interstitial, music that plays automatically, videos that plays automatically, animated adds and a lot of other things that distracts from the main content.
- KISS: Keep it simple stupid, It is very easy to add a lot of functions because they are cool or because you like them. To try to allow the user access to as many functions as possible. This is seldom a good idea. It will not create a good user experience. Try to only provide the necessary functions. Always ask yourself if a function is really necessary. If it is not you should not add it.
- Mobile friendly: Always make sure that your product work well in all browsers on all units. A majority of all web browsing is done on mobile units and it is therefore very important that all your products are responsive. A website that is not mobile friendly is likely to miss out on more than 50% of its potential traffic.
A good example of a website that adhere to all these rules and that we want to use as an example of a good website is www.daytrading.com. The website loads in just under 2 seconds. It has a good clean user interface that makes it very easy to navigate the website. They use geo-targetting to make sure that all visitors get to see the information that is most relevant to them. There is no clutter and they have chosen to keep the design very simple. The layout is almost completely based around 3 colors. White background, black text and soft blue headers and tables. The website sparingly use green as an accent color to highlight buttons and make them easy to spot. The friend is very mobile friendly and look stunning on all units we tried it on.
Another good examples is investing.co.uk. It is another fast loading website with a clean layout. The website is targetting investors on the UK market. This allows investing.co.uk to use a simple system without geo targetting and other features meant to target local visitors on a global website.