The user is your friend.
Everybody hates pop-up ads. Why? They’re rude. They distract you from what you’re trying to accomplish. The result? They’re ignored, blocked. Don’t prioritize business at the expense of the people supporting it. Help them accomplish their goals, and they’ll gladly help you accomplish yours.
Make informed decisions.
Intuition counts for something, but don’t just design on a whim. Putting everything “above the fold” may seem sensible, but it isn’t backed by evidence. To justify design strategy, use available research, or conduct your own.
Design is not Photoshop.
If you had the choice between looking at a photo of a sunset, and watching a sunset, which would you choose? Pre-visualization can be helpful, but a mockup doesn’t give you a sense of how the product actually works. Much better to save the time spent painting a pretty picture, and put it toward a working prototype.
Design for content.
Bill Gates said in 1996 that “Content is king”. It’s still true, but simply posting content isn’t enough: it has to be relevant to your field, authentic to your brand’s voice, and most of all, it has to hold attention. As such its entire lifecycle should be carefully planned out, from conception to promotion. And it certainly can’t come last.
All touch points are equal.
Users interact with brands through myriad different media, and they expect a useful experience no matter the device. Don’t create a stripped down “mobile version”—nobody wants that. Aim for feature-parity across the board.
Be mindful of the less fortunate, like the blind, deaf, or people on slow connections—they use the Web too. We live in a global marketplace, so if you plan only for the privileged, not only is it bad karma, but you miss out on the broadest possible audience.
Mind the metadata.
A site is not just what it says, but how it says it. Using semantic markup, you provide context for machines as well as humans. Search engines and social media sites highlight content that’s composed of rich, structured data rather than “dumb” code.
Done Right > Done.
It’s important to meet deadlines, but rushing work for the sake of getting it done is a recipe for disaster. Would you live in a house built on a shaky foundation? Taking the time to build it right saves on maintenance costs—and do-overs—down the road.
Plan for the unexpected.
These days, change happens rapidly. You don’t know what new technology will be invented next. Too much buy-in can and will stunt your company’s growth. But, by planning for data that can be easily exported, modified, and manipulated, you’ll be ready for whatever’s around the corner.
Always be simplifying.
Instead of thinking about things to add, think about things to take away.