The 10 Commandments of Web Design

mosesTonight I noticed an article in Business Week called The 10 Commandments of Web Design.

  1. Thou shalt not abuse Flash.
  2. Thou shalt not hide content.
  3. Thou shalt not clutter.
  4. Thou shalt not overuse glassy reflections.
  5. Thou shalt not name your Web 2.0 company with an unnecessary surplus or dearth of vowels.
  6. Thou shalt worship at the altar of typography.
  7. Thou shalt create immersive experiences.
  8. Thou shalt be social.
  9. Thou shalt embrace proven technologies.
  10. Thou shalt make content king.

The article also has a neat slideshow called “best and worst of the web” which is worth the time and shouldn’t be missed!

Confusing Interface

Payment gateways have the most confusing web interfaces. There’s no consistency among systems, and most of them look like they were designed by an 8 year old.

As I was configuring viaKLIX for a customer, I stumbled across this great feedback form. They actually have an option for “confusing interface.” How appropriate.

This is a classic case of a company seeing a problem and applying a band-aid to the problem, and never fixing the root problem. In this case, a confusing interface.

Seth Godin, a marketing wizard who has written many books I admire, says this about band-aid marketing: Every quarter, your company ships new products or services. And every quarter, someone says, “under the circumstances,” or “given the deadline” or “with the team we had available”… it’s the best we could do. I say ship nothing.

Good advice.

The Web Design Industry Is Changing

The web design industry is quickly moving towards this model:

1. Get into the industry, make a load of web sites and become ever more frustrated because managing 50 projects a year is frustrating. Do this for 5 to 10 years until you’re an expert at making web sites.

2. Get sick of that, and begin to brainstorm ideas for making apps and products that will earn residual income. Realize that your value isn’t exclusively in designing and building web sites, but also in providing focused ideas that help your clients succeed online.

3. Start a few of them with mild success, then have the “killer idea” which you spend 1-2 years working on.

4. Launch your killer idea.

5. The last phase is all about doing what you want while the checks roll into your mail box, you’re living off of your residual income.

Only about 2% of web designers ever get past the second phase, which is unfortunate. The web design industry is filled with many bright minds, and with a little bit more momentum, people can do great things.

The good news is that ideas are all around us, and going through all of the experiences in this industry allow us to see new ideas and get ideas for how things can be better. These are the ideas that turn into killer ideas, which turn into residual income.

This post was inspired by a chat with Ward from Mister Shape.