Things I look for in evaluating a site.... Michael's logo


Have a plan...

  • identify your target user in terms of
    1. browser
    2. CPU horsepower (486, pentium,....)
    3. screen size
    4. memory size
    5. connection speed
    6. 'plug-ins' or other 'add-in' software


  • Common "look & feel" for the style of pages including selection of fonts, images, backgrounds, and toolbars.

  • Use of ALT keyword on all images. This is for non-image browsers (software and user turned off) and ADA.

  • Use of HEIGHT & WIDTH keywords on all images. Permits loading of the rest of the page without having to wait...
  • Use of internal TOC and 'returns' to facilitate page navigation
  • Pages are appropriate width -- should not need to scroll left/right -- based on 'typical user' screen size of 800 x 640.
  • The TITLE does not need to be the same as the H1 and should be as descriptive and contain key words since many search engines place more weight on TITLE terms.
  • Use of links for appropriate resources, including any site or E-mail addresses.
  • Use of '?SUBJECT:' when using MAILTO
  • Eliminate any 'click here' type text.
  • All the links should work (obviously!!)
  • User should be able to see meaningful information within 30 seconds of accessing any page?
  • Identify contact person responsible for each page along with E-mail address
  • Identify any host or sponsoring organization (link to main page)
  • Identify when page was last updated (indicates currency)
  • Use of META tags especially for KEYWORDS and DESCRIPTION elements. OWNER is another good one to set where questions may arise.
  • Register your site with various search engines. The 'free' ones here also have more encompassing registrations for little $$$.
  • check AltaVista or Hotbot to see how many links there are to the site.
    • AltaVista syntax:
    • HotBot systax: (follow the prompts)

References of interest:


  • Maximum pages size should be 30KB or smaller
  • Maximum size of any single image should be 30KB or smaller, unless shown first as a thumbnail
  • All files downloads should be accompanied by text which indicates their size


These sites cover various aspects of Website design.

  • WAI Accessibility Guidelines: Page Authoring

    Although some designers feel having to accomodate ADA consider greatly limits there creative freedom, pages designed with ADA principles in mind are usually more effective with the general public.

  • Writing for the Web

    A site every Web-site creator should visit. This site is a little treasure chest filled with common sense. The site has lots of examples and data to illustrate the points, too, and it practices what it preaches. Witness the first sentence of an article entitled "How Users Read on the Web." The sentence is, "They don't."

  • Defining the Rules of Freelance Web Design

    One of the many challenges that freelance Web designers face is defining the rules of engagement with their clients. Designer Wendy Willard shares her views and perspectives on the five phases of Web design contracts.

  • Webmaster Resources: Design guidelines

    A basic set of 25 basic and easy to apply design guidelines

  • The Copyright website

    This site endeavors to provide real world, practical and relevant copyright information of interest to infonauts, netsurfers, webspinners, content providers, musicians, appropriationists, activists, infringers, outlaws, and law abiding citizens.

  • C|NET: 50 rules of business netiquette

    Business Netiquette, as its name implies, is the standard of behavior that governs the commercial development and usage of the Net. The evolving rules of conduct are particularly important in this context because the digital environment of the Net makes it impossible to separate business and consumer "real estate."

  • -- Getting development teams the information they need to make design decisions


The Alertbox for November 14 is now online at: Anything done by more than 90% of big sites becomes a de-facto design standard that must be followed unless an alternative design achieves 100% increased usability. Anything done by 60-90% of big sites is a convention that should be followed unless an alternative achieves 50% better measured usability. Good design stuff, besides the fact that they link to me for search stuff.

Administrivia: doc ID: 
Copyright 1996-1999 Michael Botos. revised: 10/03/99
Your comments on presentation style, technical content, and anything else relating to the Web are always welcome. Send them to me at