Advice for Web Site Owners about Web Designers
Confirm that your Web designer –
- codes your site using up-to-date, standards-compliant, W3C-validated Hypertext Markup Language version 5 (HTML5) for semantic content tagging and Cascading Style Sheets version 3 (CSS3) for formatting.
- does not create a site that serves up dynamically generated pages which, by their very nature, prevent search engine indexing.
- does not format Web pages using deprecated (i.e., outdated and invalid) (X)HTML tag attributes, obsolete table and frame layouts, and excessive use of line breaks and non-breaking spaces. Bring these issues to your designer’s attention if you view a page’s source code in your browser and see many instances of any of the following markup:
<tr>, </tr>, <td>, </td>, <br />, and
- follows the commonly accepted design practice of progressive enhancement mandating that essential content and functionality be accessible to and usable by all visitors across all types, makes, and versions of browsers while enabling an enhanced user experience for visitors with more advanced browsers.
- applies responsive design techniques to your Web site so that it is viewable and usable across the full spectrum of Web-enabled devices without the need for horizontal scrolling.
- uses a Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) reset to ensure uniform formatting of your Web site across all browsers.
- applies a print style sheet to all Web pages to enable them to be printed in their entirety and in a readable format.
- logically names and organizes the files that comprise your Web site to facilitate maintenance and updates.
- tests your Web site’s design in the five major browsers (i.e., Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Opera, and Safari) and, if possible, multiple types of Web-enabled devices (e.g., feature phones, smart phones, tablets, desk/laptops, televisions, etc.).
- does not frequently utilize hacks (kludgy workarounds) to circumvent browser behavior.
- does not use Adobe Flash for essential content and functionality, such as your Web pages’ headers and navigation menus. (Flash increases page load time, is not supported by Apple devices, and is not search engine friendly in terms of enabling indexing of its content.)
Lastly, never seek out a Web designer who –
- does not include a link to his Web site in an online advertisement
- conceals the location of his business
- repurposes suboptimal, formulaic templates as original, customized site designs
- does not implement responsive designs and promotes design services for unnecessary mobile sites
- advertises service options (i.e., "packages" or "bundles") based on a maximum number of Web pages
- pushes "specials" and "limited time offers"
- markets search engine optimization as an add-on service (SEO is central to site design.)
- does not build Google and Bing/Yahoo Web traffic tracking into your site
- does not supply an itemized bill of services provided along with account information for your Web address registration, Web-hosting account, and Webmaster and traffic analytics accounts
- overcharges for site maintenance and updates