Websites for Lawyers
The only thing more expensive than an expert, is an amateur
A web site is closer to a magazine in its function than to the latest crash and burn, special effects movie.
Just because something can be done, does not mean it should be shoveled into a web site.
Keep your site simple, gimmick free and it will always be viewable and usable by the widest cross section of viewers.
Anything that pops up is a nuisance. If it is important, put it where it belongs, right on your web page.
DO NOT USE SOUND on web sites unless you want to alienate most of your viewers. The one exception of course is videos but only where the visitor controls the playback.
Why blast sounds at someone who may be in an open office, on the phone, surfing late at night or in a library?
You have probably heard that some cities are playing classical music in parks to drive away teen age gangs. Inappropriate or unwanted music on your web site has the same effect.
Forcing your choice of music on some innocent viewer is nothing short of idiotic. What sheer stupidity makes someone impose their "taste" in music on a stranger?
If people want music, they will choose their own.
Cursed cursors! While bats or butterflies chasing cursors are cute once or twice, forget it. They quickly become annoying and get in the way of your content.
Check your site for broken or moved links regularly. Repair or remove them.
If you need help CanLaw offers a service to automatically check your web site and report all broken links on a regular basis.
If the page is more then two or three screens long, it is too long. Break it up.
Double check your spelling and grammar. Mistakes prove you are an amateur and make your site and company look ignorant. Do not rely on your spell checker. CanLaw can scan your site for spelling errors and broken links and provide you with a list. (fee applies)
Make it easy for people to find the information on all your pages. Include an on site search engine, table of contents or site map and good navigation bars or aids.
Open your site on the home page or you will lose visitors
Pointless opening pages (aka splash screens) which feature some complex flash animation are guaranteed to alienate your viewers. If your designer suggests anything with a "skip this flash" option, you do not need it. Dump it.
Review your site no less then weekly for outdated information and either update it or dump it. If in doubt, dump it. Bad information will undermine the credibility of your entire site.
Make certain all your pages are clearly identified as being part of your site. Include a link to your home page, email contact and a basic navigation bar on every page.
Pages can be optimized for download speed.
You only have about ten seconds to capture or lose your viewer.
Every week sees new gimmicks, trick effects and new technology. Many of these "features" are not universally displayable on all browsers. If it doesn't work on all browsers, do not use it.
How dare you interfere with your viewer's operation of his/her system?
Removing or restricting the users' controls mis-using Java Script or other features to eliminate tool-bars, back and forward buttons and various other features is both inconsiderate and rude. Never force your gimmicks on your visitors, particularly when your preferences override the user's chosen settings.
Animation can be extremely annoying. If you must use it, use it sparingly. Have your animation cease after two or three cycles. Just as bad is blinking and scrolling text. Avoid marquees in the bar at the bottom of browsers as well. They do nothing.
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