Web Design Checklist

August 17, 2009

Web Design Checklist

For those curious about what is and isn’t essential in creating a web site, below is the web design checklist we use before launching a web site. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to answer any and all questions you may have.

If you are a budding designer or programmer reading this, we highly recommend you pay close attention to this page. Details are very important with each and every web site you create. Double and triple check you work!

Does the site have a favicon?

A favicon is an image that can be seen next to a web site’s address or open tab. These are included on nearly all professionally developed web sites and allows the web site to further promote its branding.

Is there a specific color scheme?

Inconsistency in coloring can deter visitors from ever coming back to a site and not only is it hard on the eyes, but it screams a lack of professionalism. Choosing a color scheme that represents your company or what type of web site you wish to present to viewers is important and time should be taken when making a choice.

Is there sufficient color contrast?

Ensure that foreground and background color combination’s provide sufficient contrast. Viewers with color deficiencies can find online viewing more difficult if contrast is not appropriate.

Are all images optimized for web viewing?

Many web sites are slow because their images are not fully optimized for web viewing. Optimizing images will decrease file size, which means a faster load time. Reducing image size, colors and image quality are the three ways to optimize images for a web site.

Is the site’s navigation easy to understand?

Menu accessibility is one of the key elements in creating a positive experience for a site’s visitors. Most web sites either display a left-aligned, vertical menu, or a top-aligned, horizontal menu. Using these familiar menu styles will help your users feel more comfortable moving from page to page.

Is the site’s navigation consistent?

If each page on a web site has a consistent style, viewers will find it easier to navigate between pages and find the information they are looking for.

Does the site use a correct Doctype?

A doctype (short for ‘document type declaration’) informs a validator which version of (X)HTML is being used on a web site. The doctype must appear at the very top of every web page.

Does the site use valid XHTML?

Valid web sites will load faster than web sites with errors, further more, having valid code will decrease the likeness of having cross browsers problems. Browsers are becoming more web standards compliant, and it is becoming increasingly important to write valid and standards compliant XHTML.

Does the site use valid CSS

For the same reasons the XHTML must be valid, so does the CSS. Mistakes can result in errors in your documents appearance.

Does the site have any broken links?

Broken links can frustrate viewers and drive potential customers away. Broken links will show a lack of professionalism and also keep search engines from properly indexing a web site.

Are “alt” attributes applied for all images?

A text tag should be provided for every non-text element. This not only helps with search engine optimization but with viewers who use a text based browser.

Is the site cross browser compatible?

This is one of the most important aspects for every designer to master. Visitors may not always be viewing your web site in the most modern browser available. While those more technology inclined may scoff at the idea that someone is still using IE6, there are those who lack the knowledge to update or simply don’t care to. Always be in mind of potential viewers or customers needs first and foremost.

Does the site contain detailed metadata?

Metadata (also known as metatags) can include author, copyright, description and keywords information. The use of this coding is mainly for search engine optimization.

Does the site work will in a range of window sizes?

Assuming an average screen size of viewers can put a web site at a disadvantage if all screen sizes are not taken into account. The minimum average screen size for new computers is now 1024 pixels wide, however internet users are still using smaller screens. While a target audience may more then likely use larger screens, consideration should be taken for the possibility of losing viewers and customers if a web site is not created to suit all screen sizes.

Is the home page linked on every sub page?

Some internet users like to go back to a web site’s home page after navigating to other content. The home page becomes a “base camp” for these viewers, allowing them a place to regroup before exploring new content on the web site they are viewing.

Do all external links open in a new window?

Implementing links that don’t take the visitor directly to a page on your site should be opened in a new window by default. This approach benefits the visitor as much as it does the web site owner: the viewer is given free reign to browse the external link, with the option to return to your site simply by closing the external site’s browser window.