Don’t drive your users crazy!
You probably think that web design is more complicated than that, but really, it’s not. Web implementation, sure, you need to know coding and stuff, but design is really about letting your users find what they’re looking for in a way that doesn’t drive them crazy.
So, like, you sell chocolate? Is there a clear and simple path from your home page to the buying of the chocolate? Because if there isn’t, you’re driving your users crazy. Is the menu or link visible? Is it in a prominent place? Is the text easy to read? Are the instructions simple? Can they get there in one or two clicks?
Probably not. Because most web design stinks.
Don’t cause seizures. Flashing lights, wiggling text, these are for people who just learned that HTML can do those things and want to experiment. They are not for professionals. Don’t act like an amateur.
Don’t assume that everyone’s computer is as nifty as yours. Your menus should not take up more space than can be accommodated by a fifteen-inch monitor! Never have menus fly out more than two levels!
Do users know what you want them to do? Where’s your call to action? It should, again, be prominent and in plain English. Use verbs in your call to action: Call, write, act, buy, visit, click. If you have a beautiful site about ski boots, well, that’s nice. Beautiful sites are nice. But they’re not engaging. Ask yourself why. Why do I have this site about ski boots, and why does anyone care? Oh, you say you want me to buy your ski boots? Does your website make that incredibly obvious? Are you walking me through the process so I can’t mistake your site for an encyclopedia entry about ski boots?
Don’t drive users crazy. Help them find what they want to find. Create a site with an obvious and accessible purpose. Don’t assume everyone has the best equipment. That’s really all there is to it.