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How To Make a Winning Site Tips
Reading these tips might help you set up a website that is ready to win the BTDesign Awards.
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Technical features
  • Don't make your visitors' browsers and computers crash. It is not a thrill to have to CTRL+ALT+CANC twice to get out from your site or see those GPF blue windows on our screen! If you hand-code your pages check them with a validator.
  • Browers compatibility - Keep browser compatibility in mind but with a grain of salt! If I can't see your page in Netscape because you use CSS and DHTML it is Netscape's problem, but if you use codes that are visible only in Explorer's latest version you know you'll prevent most visitors from appreciating your site. Try and choose cross-browser scripts whenever you can and set up alternate versions for non-IE users. You can find some great free cross-browser DHTML scripts at Dynamic Drive.
  • Music - Let us turn the music off by making controls visible. If you use copyrighted midis or mp3's you must give credit to the author or use public domain material instead.
  • Java applets and Javascripts - Do a very clever and moderate use of Java effects. They are nice and can add some SFX on your site but check them on different browsers to see if they are compatible and if they work! You can find some great Java resources at
  • Plugins - Don't ask me to install a plug-in if I don't wish to. Some plugins are suspected to act like spyware on our computers, that is they might collect information on us and send it to third parties for spam purposes.
  • Flash - I must admit an "All-Flash" site with no content behind doesn't impress me at all. Flash intros must absolutely have a "skip" option and Flash in general should be used with a purpose. If you want to use it on your site maybe it is better to have a plain HTML version and an alternate Flash one. Keep files size to the minimum and check loading time with a slow connection. Waiting a minute or more for your opening page to load without the possibility of skipping a 4-seconds intro can turn surfing to a nightmare!
  • Pop-up windows - I will never disqualify you if you use a free server that forces them but I don't like pop up windows asking what is my name or asking for a password. Pop-up windows are not to be confused with new windows you can open with a javascript link. They do make sense if they are pertaining to the site layout and can be useful to present brief information but must be easily killed with a "close" button and if they contain links these must always open in a new window, using the "target=_blank" option.
    Be extremely careful when using scripts that open a new full-size window. You must provide a button for closing or else we'll be trapped in it if we don't know about the ALT+F4 possibility.
  • Frames must not become a trap. Add a "Click here to break out of someone else's frames" code and use "frameborder=no" whenever you don't need to scroll, it makes your pages look a lot better.
  • I know using Frontpage is necessary if you maintain a 100-plus-pages site but try and learn HTML, it is easy and once you've learned how to write your pages on a notepad you'll discover you can control them completely and won't need to get rid of all that unnecessary code that most WYSIWYG editors add to your pages.

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