The 10 Commandments Of Web Design; Not Quite

BusinessWeek recently published an article called The 10 Commandments of Web Design in which it describes these “must-follow rules:”

  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.

While this wouldn’t have been my list of commandments, it contains mostly appropriate things for Web Designers to abide by.  But I need to take exception with two of the items on the list: #7 (Thou shalt create immersive experiences) and #8 (Thou shalt be social). It’s not that those are bad things to do, but they are not the right focus for ALL sites at ALL times. Many Web designs call for simple (non-immersive, non-social) experiences. So these items don’t really hold up as commandments unless you add “where appropriate” at the end of them.

Fyi, we just published our annual “Best And Worst Of B2C Site Design, 2008” report which evaluated sites using Forrester’s 25 criteria. It turns out that the top 5 failures were in these areas: text legibility, task flow, error recovery, privacy policies, and information scent. I’ll discuss a bit more about this research in a later post.

The bottom line: 8 out of 10 right isn’t all that bad.

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I'm an experience (XM) management catalyst; helping organizations improve results by engaging the hearts and minds of their employees, customers, and partners. I enjoy researching and speaking about leading-edge XM topics. I lead the Qualtrics XM Institute, which is the world's best job. We're igniting a global community of XM Professionals who are inspired and empowered to radically improve the human experience. To achieve this goal, my team focuses on thought leadership, training, and community building. My work is driven by a set of fundamental beliefs: 1) Everything starts and ends with human beings, so you need to understand how people think, feel, and behave; 2) XM is a discipline that needs to be woven throughout an organization's entire operating fabric; and 3) Building the XM discipline requires a combination of culture, competency, and technology.

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