Category Archives: Usability

Losing the 404 File not found error

There are few things that will make your site look more unprofessional than users following a broken link and receiving a 404 – File not found message. For a good developer it’s easy to ensure that a site is free from broken links. If you’re a Linux user you can use ht://check, if you prefer Windows you can use Xenu and Mac users can try BLT.

However, not all Web developers are as diligent (or competent) as you are. I’m sure you choose Cool URIs that never change and, in those very few circumstances where you do have to change a URI, you put in a proper server-side redirect. However, what about those other Web developers, the ones that link to you, how many of them check links after they’ve created them?

What do you do if another developer makes a mess of linking to you so that it causes a 404 Page Not Found error on your site?
Continue reading

Testing times ahead… or maybe not

Web site testing is one of those things, like sticking to the speed limit on motorways, that everyone says they’ll do but, in reality, most don’t. Like speeding you have the potential to get somewhere more quickly but to do so you must take risks that can be very costly.

Almost without fail, testing will be the one area of a project that’s cut by a client if money or time get tight. In a lot of cases a developer will be told “We don’t need external testers, we’ll just get the guys in the office to give it the once over” or worse still “We’ll fix any problems after we launch”. Continue reading

Web Site blinging

Every year seemingly sane people decide that the best way to celebrate Christmas is to cover their houses in a multitude of Christmas lights, animatronic Santa’s and 8ft inflatable snowmen. See:

A much more worrying trend is that of “Web site blinging”. This year saw many online retailers record record sales and yet, at a time when retailers should be making it as easy as possible to make a purchase, many make life difficult for consumers by blinging their Web sites.

When I talk about Web site blinging I don’t mean a subtle change of logo as you might see on Google, a Christmas message or even a few Christmas-related images replacing other images on your site. No, I’m principally concerned with the likes of JavaScript snowstorms that cover the homepage of a site or the fantastically annoying rendition of “Jingle Bells” that is looped to play incessantly for the entire time a user is visiting your site. Continue reading