Robin Williams

Below are features that can make a web design look dorky. These are not just my personal opinions, but are ideas I have collected from speaking to groups around the country. Examples of many of these features and more detailed explanations of the problems and solutions are in my book, The Non-Designer's Web Book, written with John Tollett.

Default gray color
Color combinations of text and background that make the text hard to read
Busy, distracting backgrounds that make the text hard to read
Text that is too small to read
Text crowding against the left edge
Text that stretches all the way across the page
Centered type over flush left body copy
Paragraphs of type in all caps
Paragraphs of type in bold
Paragraphs of type in italic
Paragraphs of type in all caps, bold, and italic all at once
Underlined text that is not a link
Default blue links
Blue link borders around graphics
Links that are not clear about where they will take you
Links in body copy that distract readers and lead them off to remote, useless pages
Text links that are not underlined so you don't know they are links
..(If you're not going to underline your links, please make darned sure
..that each link is perfectly clearly a link! Don't make me wander around
..with my mouse checking to see if randomly colored text is a link!)
Dead links (links that don't work anymore)
Large graphic files that take forever to load
Meaningless or useless graphics
Thumbnail images that are nearly as large as the full-sized images they link to
Graphics with no alt labels
Missing graphics, especially missing graphics with no alt labels
Graphics that don't fit on the screen (assuming a screen of 800 x 600 pixels)
Borders turned on in tables
Tables used as design elements, especially with extra large (dorky) borders
Blinking and animations
Anything that blinks, especially text
Multiple things that blink
Rainbow rules (lines)
Rainbow rules that blink or animate
"Under construction" signs, especially of little men working
Animated "under construction" signs
Animated pictures for email
Animations that never stop
Multiple animations that never stop
Counters on pages -- who cares
Junky advertising
Having to scroll sideways (800 x 600 pixels)
Too many little pictures of meaningless awards on the first page
Frame scroll bars in the middle of a page
Multiple frame scroll bars in the middle of a page
Unclear navigation; over complex navigation
Complicated frames, too many frames, unnecessary scroll bars in frames
Orphan pages (no links back to where they came from, no identification)
Useless page titles that don't explain what the page is about
General Design
Entry page or home page that does not fit within standard browser window (800 x 600 pixels)
Frames that make you scroll sideways
No focal point on the page
Too many focal points on the page
Navigation buttons as the only visual interest, especially when they're large (and dorky)
Cluttered, not enough alignment of elements
Lack of contrast (in color, text, to create hierarchy of information, etc.)
Pages that look okay in one browser but not in another

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