Sunday, January 23, 2011, AM | Leave Comment
The online businesses need website and blog developers who not only have technical qualifications but some business background as well. I have come across many online sites that seem to be developed by high school kids with technical hooks and nooks here and there but with seemingly no business know-how and understanding. As far as the academic qualifications, folks for sure don’t need 4-year or even 2-year education.
Some of my favorite tutorials are done by Jimmy Ruska using YouTube videos. Here is one where he explains “Basic HTML and CSS Tutorial. How to make website from scratch”. You can watch the video at the end of this post.
The most important business qualifications you can have is to not try to annoy visitors to your website. Everyday I see websites that are seemingly developed by folks who got up from their beds in the morning for the sole purpose of annoying their visitors. However, you don’t need a business degree to take care of some of the features in your website.
Here are the very minimum business and non-technical qualifications you would need. I would emphasize on the business aspects of the website, User Interface methodology and what to include in your site without annoying the user.
Avoid Annoying Visitors
Consider your website as your home. Don’t try to annoy anyone who visits. You may have attained excellent technical knowledge for developing super duper site, but if you have the hooks and nooks implemented to just keep annoying your visitors, you would seldom see them again. So keep this in mind from the very beginning – No Annoying.
Learn How To Spell
The English language is confusing, packed with inconsistencies and exceptions that anyone who is learning the language for the first time will be quick to point out. For example, I have seen some writers spell “whose” as “who’s.” The latter is “who is.” The most common error made by bloggers is “your” when they mean to write “you are or you’re.” Familiarize yourself with Common Errors in English Usage.
There are quite a few online sites that describe the User Interface in detail.
- Jakob Nielsen’s Top Ten Mistakes in Web Design
- Bruce Tognazzini’s First Principles of Interaction Design
- Shneiderman’s “Eight Golden Rules of Interface Design“
- Theo Mandel’s “The Golden Rules of User Interface Design“.
There are numerous others. To understand and follow their descriptions, you don’t need to have formal education.
You should have an understanding and awareness of the user’s mental model and the physical, physiological, and psychological abilities of users.
All the above four writers seem to agree on three areas of user interface design principles:
- Place users in control of the interface
- Reduce users’ memory load
- Make the user interface consistent.
Make Your Website Search Engine Friendly
To be found by search engines especially Google, start learning the basics of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and implement it right at the beginning of developing your website. Read Google Guide to SEO thoroughly.
If possible, take extreme care not to include flash on your website. It slows it down. The visitor is not going to wait long. If by any chance you are developing a website for restaurant, read never said about restaurant websites first. The universe of Internet is expected to show performance. Not everyone has broadband access. Millions still use dial-up when they go online. Otherwise, NetZero, Turbousa, PeoplePC, and so many others would have been long gone by now.
Website Graphics – Less Is More
The Stanford Web Credibility Project found that 47% of users make buy decisions based upon the website itself. What causes people to believe (or not believe) what they find on the Web? The implication of this research is that the website design in general and some graphics in particular are very essential to attract visitors and perhaps stay on the page a bit longer.
Other Aspects of Website Development
- Before you start building, start planning.
- Navigation should be simple and should have a common sense approach.
- Learn the details of design
In a Nutshell
You don’t need college education to develop an online site. Start out with the simplest approach and then expand on it slowly and gradually when you get the hang of it. Watch Jimmy Ruska’s video.