Use The K.I.S.S Principle For Templates And Get Maximum Results

Has the thought ever crossed your mind as to why multi-billion dollar corporations do not have lots of animated objects sliding around on their website, or many javascript hover effects? Is it that they cannot afford it or that their tech staff are too dumbass to figure those 'cool' bullshit nuisances?

Simple is in! Has been in since the invention of the wheel!

I've come to realize that the people who want ridiculous animation and other counter productive and time wasting special effects, still asking for 'hit counters' and 'guestbooks', are website owners over 50 to whom the web is still a phenomenon, plug n' play basement 'webmasters' who seek templates based on the amount of switches it has and 12 year old kids who like 'cool'. Then there are the developers who like to boast to each other of the magic they can do with coding.

The end user just wants to get the information they sought and move on. It is the reason Facebook is supremely successful! Unlike that other 'myspace' network that allowed space holders to add all kinds of ridiculous animated nonsense that would crash a computer. People just wanted to get the hell away from it.

Each time I hear a client's complaint after deployment, it is always the same! "the website just looks blah" "the website has no life" "there is nothing moving" What?!

The website was developed to do business and emulates your top competitor who is highly ranked on Google and making millions!

I ask the client if they shop online at Sears or other branded merchants and if they are bothered that there is only one or no slide shows. They say no because they just wanted to get the shoes and did not pay attention to any slides. I say well that is exactly what your users will do. No one visits a website and sit there watching slides of the latest entries.

The most productive websites are those that load quickly and delivers just what the viewer wants.

These are a few principles to adhere if you want grow a successful website.

  • If you must have a slideshow (can't see the valid reason) limit to 3.
    Slide show scripts load all the slide content before starting, along with the supporting scripts and sometimes background images. This causes delays and will lead to searchbot and user abandonment.
  • Do not use more than 1 slideshow element on the page.
    When you use multiple instances of an extension which relies on element ID, each instance will load another copy of the same dependent scripts therefore creating useless redundancies.
  • Do not use slideshows for advertising banners
    Ad banners should be static and change only on page refresh. That is the way to get the user's attention
  • Avoid using Adobe Flash objects
    Thank the stars that Steve Jobs lead the way to reject Flash. This tool was out of control as websites tried to package loads of visuals in the object that weighed in at 7mb. Flash does not work on mobile devices and now there are browser plugins to block Flash. For FireFox there is FlashBlock and Chorme has AdBlock which removes all ads.
  • Do not auto start audio or video when a page loads
    Not all environments are conducive to noise and if a visitor unknowingly go to your page and music starts blaring while they are in the library, they will be upset and will never hit your site again. Secondly, search bots will kick your site down.
  • Mouse hover effects are pointless as they do not bode well on touch screen devices.
    The touch device will show the effect when touched but the user has to tap again just to go to the destination. There is no need to hide text if the user is to see it. It is more effort for the user to mouseover to read something that could easily have been printed below the image.
  • Use hover highlighting to isolate a row in a table
    This is fine for touch devices as the goal is not to hyperlink but simply to separate the visual attention and place the focus on the single row.

Leave the 'super cool' animations to the 12 yearolds and follow the lead of big corporations if you are serious about gaining search rank and doing business successfully on the Web.

keep-it-simple

Has the thought ever crossed your mind as to why multi-billion dollar corporations do not have lots of animated objects sliding around on their website, or many javascript hover effects? Is it that they cannot afford it or that their tech staff are too dumbass to figure those 'cool' bullshit nuisances?

Simple is in! Has been in since the invention of the wheel!

I've come to realize that the people who want ridiculous animation and other counter productive and time wasting special effects, still asking for 'hit counters' and 'guestbooks', are website owners over 50 to whom the web is still a phenomenon, plug n' play basement 'webmasters' who seek templates based on the amount of switches it has and 12 year old kids who like 'cool'. Then there are the developers who like to boast to each other of the magic they can do with coding.

The end user just wants to get the information they sought and move on. It is the reason Facebook is supremely successful! Unlike that other 'myspace' network that allowed space holders to add all kinds of ridiculous animated nonsense that would crash a computer. People just wanted to get the hell away from it.

Each time I hear a client's complaint after deployment, it is always the same! "the website just looks blah" "the website has no life" "there is nothing moving" What?!

The website was developed to do business and emulates your top competitor who is highly ranked on Google and making millions!

I ask the client if they shop online at Sears or other branded merchants and if they are bothered that there is only one or no slide shows. They say no because they just wanted to get the shoes and did not pay attention to any slides. I say well that is exactly what your users will do. No one visits a website and sit there watching slides of the latest entries.

The most productive websites are those that load quickly and delivers just what the viewer wants.

These are a few principles to adhere if you want grow a successful website.

  • If you must have a slideshow (can't see the valid reason) limit to 3.
    Slide show scripts load all the slide content before starting, along with the supporting scripts and sometimes background images. This causes delays and will lead to searchbot and user abandonment.
  • Do not use more than 1 slideshow element on the page.
    When you use multiple instances of an extension which relies on element ID, each instance will load another copy of the same dependent scripts therefore creating useless redundancies.
  • Do not use slideshows for advertising banners
    Ad banners should be static and change only on page refresh. That is the way to get the user's attention
  • Avoid using Adobe Flash objects
    Thank the stars that Steve Jobs lead the way to reject Flash. This tool was out of control as websites tried to package loads of visuals in the object that weighed in at 7mb. Flash does not work on mobile devices and now there are browser plugins to block Flash. For FireFox there is FlashBlock and Chorme has AdBlock which removes all ads.
  • Do not auto start audio or video when a page loads
    Not all environments are conducive to noise and if a visitor unknowingly go to your page and music starts blaring while they are in the library, they will be upset and will never hit your site again. Secondly, search bots will kick your site down.
  • Mouse hover effects are pointless as they do not bode well on touch screen devices.
    The touch device will show the effect when touched but the user has to tap again just to go to the destination. There is no need to hide text if the user is to see it. It is more effort for the user to mouseover to read something that could easily have been printed below the image.
  • Use hover highlighting to isolate a row in a table
    This is fine for touch devices as the goal is not to hyperlink but simply to separate the visual attention and place the focus on the single row.

Leave the 'super cool' animations to the 12 yearolds and follow the lead of big corporations if you are serious about gaining search rank and doing business successfully on the Web.

keep-it-simple

Zero Plugins

Don't get caught up in the fad of templates that will launch rockets into space. A content management system template should be devoid of content plugins or extensions and merely exist as the interface where all functions process its display. A website template should not manage content.

When the template is loaded with excessive amounts of functions that handle some content, or dependent of some 'framework', there is greater chance of breakage, and then there is that element of dependency on the developer for updates. That is simply time wasting nonsense. Get a bare bones template with the standard sidebars or positions and install only the useful extensions to output the content as needed.

There are many WordPress menu widgets or Joomla menu modules available, and if you change templates, it will still be there to adapt. This gives you total control over your template's style and outlay. The same goes for any other content output extension. The only functions a template or theme should have are a few styling settings. NO CONTENT!

Case in point.

A recent client had a WordPress theme installed by a 'webmaster', and the theme included a slideshow that sourced latest posts. When she asked the web dude to change to a theme she later desired, he informed her that the theme would not work because it did not include a slideshow as the other theme and would cost hundreds to make one. What an idiot!

Luckily for her, she has a sense of logic and figured there is no way an advanced system as WordPress was so limiting. So she called around for second opinions. She contacted us to find out if it was possible to have a slideshow and we pointed her to the specific plugin repository at WP. She downloaded, installed and assigned to the sidebar available for such a display and blammo! There was her latest post slideshow.

The limitations are on the so-called webmasters who go shopping for themes or templates based on the display functions it includes. Losing all flexibility that the CMS framework provides.

The benefits of keeping content extensions separate from template are:

  • No confusion as to where to find "what is doing that"
    The user expects to see the menu settings in the module or widget list but then cannot find it and goes nuts. Now they have an additional area, the template manager, to do configurations.
  • No time wasted in template configurations.The logo, site slogan, copyright, footer notes should all be handled by widgets and modules and located in a single common area.
  • No sweating the updates
    When a template uses the barebones functions required to interface with the CMS framework, there is no need to update. You can change the stylesheet and core layout as desired without fear of overwriting on updates.

 

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