Usability guru Jakob Nielsen posted his list of the year’s top ten web design mistakes, and while it’s aimed more at commercial sites, I thought I’d take a quick gander and see if there are any that I should worry about.

  1. No prices: Hrm. Well, in general, I’d say that this one doesn’t apply. However, let it be said for the record that I’m often fairly cheap. Even free, given the right circumstances!
  2. Inflexible search engines: Unfortunately, there’s not much I can do about this one. The search page for my site is nice and powerful, but I’m not enough of a coder to tell it how to correct for spelling errors. Bummer, too — that’s a nice feature.
  3. Horizontal scrolling: I try to avoid this one, however on a smaller screen or resolution, my archives page might need scrolling. Right now, I like the format I’m using, though, and until I find a better one, this will work. Anyone have any suggestions for a different design?
  4. Fixed font size: Yay! I got away from this one during my last site redesign. Something I don’t have to make cute comments or excuses for! :D
  5. Blocks of text: Guilty. Very guilty, in fact. Given the fact that I tend to ramble, I’m not sure how to approach this one, aside from spending some time going through Jacob’s articles on writing for the web, which I should do soon.
  6. Javascript in links: Lightly guilty here — while I’ve excised most of the JS links on my site, the ‘Show Smileys’ links in post comment forms still use it. I need to find a good way around that, I suppose (probably either displaying a small set of smileys and leaving the rest hidden, or just removing the smiley code entirely). Again, any suggestions? I’m leaning towards removing the code — they’ll still be available, but they’re used so infrequently, I might as well get rid of them in the comment form.
  7. Infrequently asked questions in FAQ: Not having a FAQ, this one doesn’t really apply. I’ve never gotten enough questions to warrant a FAQ, actually.
  8. Collecting e-mail addresses without a privacy policy: Well, again, this doesn’t really apply. While there’s a spot for e-mail addresses in my comment forms, they’re optional, and I don’t do anything with them. They just sit there.
  9. URL’s greater than 75 characters: I’m pretty sure I’m safe here. Some of my posts with obnoxiously long titles probably break this one, but they’re relatively few and far between. I’ve also been trying to keep my post titles shorter since I moved to an archiving system that names the files by the post title, rather than using generic numbers for names (such as 000735.php, for instance).
  10. Mailto links in unexpected locations: I think I’m good here. Every page has a fairly clearly marked “Email me” link at the bottom, and that’s it. Not hidden, available at all times, and not overly intrusive.

Not too bad, all in all, I’d say.

However, this does bring to mind a question. For those of you that visit my site from time to time — is there anything I’ve done here that bugs you? Or even if it doesn’t bug you, is there anything that you think might be worth my investigating? I’m starting to get into a mood to play with code and clean up some small areas that are bugging me, and I’m always open to suggestions. Feel free to let me know!