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09 October 2006

10 Ways to Make or Break a Website

Found an interesting article the other day on ways to improve (or ruin) your website. The article was published by AU Interactive and seemed to be right on the money. It focuses a lot on the development of web applications but much of it applies to standard web development as well. Here is the abbreviated version (full version here):

  1. EASY is the most important feature of any website, web app, or program. Design your site to be easy. Then make it easier.
  2. Visual design and copy are extremely important. Obsess about your copy. Remove distractions and simplify.
  3. Open up your data as much possible. Develop an API (Application programming interface) and offer RSS feeds for everything on your site!
  4. Test, test, test. Develop goals that you can create measures for and assess down the road. An educated guess doesn't cut it any more.
  5. Release features early and often. Develop a core structure and branch off when needed. Future development should be modular, incremental and well documented.
  6. Be special. Allow your passion and belief in what you are doing guide you.
  7. Don't be special. Maintain agreed upon standards! Don't reinvent the wheel. Share elements across projects.
  8. If you plan on developing a successful webapp, plan for scalability from the ground up. Anticipate growth. Document everything.
  9. Watch, pay attention to or implement right away:
    Microformats (opens up your data easily and contextually)
    Adobe Apollo (deploy Rich Internet Applications easily)
    Whobar (manage digital identity)
    Akismet (stop comment spam)
  10. User generated content and social software trends. Not working: required participation, buying communities, social networks just to have networks. Working: giving users control, individual value aggregated by the organization, diversity in users is a good thing and the understanding that many voices will generate emergent order.