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Check Your Site for Stupidity

How can you avoid creating web sites that annoy, waste the time of, or chase away people that you want staying on your site? It’s really pretty simple:

  • Try being a user and see how much of a pain it is to use your site.
  • Have several other people test your site.
  • Test via the Internet, not from inside your company’s network.
  • Test with Internet Explorer, Firefox, Netscape, and Opera.
  • Start your tests with ActiveX, JavaScript and cookies turned off.
  • Test from Windows, Mac, Linux, and two handhelds—Microsoft Pocket PC or Windows Mobile, and Palm OS.

If you avoid the ten annoying behaviors I’ve discussed here, and you test comprehensively—ideally, including having an outside party do some testing as well—you should end up with a web site that helps users to think about your business, not your site.

Daniel P. Dern is a freelance technology writer. His web site is http://www.dern.com. Over the years, he has chronicled some of his previous Internet gripes through his Internet Song Parodies, including "When You’re Still On The Net."

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