Lesson 1: Netiquette
As mentioned in the introduction, your website says everything about your, your business, or what it is you are trying to present to the public. Listed below are key elements of Netiquette that should always be remembered. Nothing says you have to follow these rules, and sometimes it is okay to break them, but they are generally a good guideline.
Things to avoid:
- USING ALL CAPITAL LETTERS
- Why? All capital letters is seen as yelling when used online. If you capitalize large portions of text, many of your site's visitors will feel like you are yelling at them leaving them with a negative feeling. Sometimes all caps can work, though. I often will use all caps to stress a word in a sentence instead of using italics. As you see in the title of the website, I use capital letters for the logo graphic.
- Using too many exclamaition points!!!!!!!!!!!!
- Why? Many exclaimation points can be seen as unprofessional and immature while online. Always use proper grammar. One exclaimation point is acceptable, maybe two.
- WrItInG In CaPs AnD LoWeR CaSe
- Why? Again, this is seen as unprofessional and immature. This is also very hard to read on the eyes often times. It is never recommended unless you are using it for some types of astetic appeal; however, your intention must be clear if you are using it for design.
- Using 'curse' words
- Why? This is seen as highly unprofessional and will leave your visitors with a hostile feeling... of course, unless that is what you are going for. Professionally, it generally is not recommended.
- Using sarcasm
- Why? It is hard to decipher sarcasm in written word on the Internet. Unless you plan on denoting somewhere every instance of sarcasm, it is best to avoid it. Things can be misread and people's feelings can be hurt or offended. When trying to generate a professional feeling, sometimes this should be avoided.
- Using content from other websites
- Why? Often times this is considered plagarism or you can be liable for taking copyrighted content. This is just bad internet etiquette. Unless a website clearly notes that it's content is for free use, you generally should not take it for your use. If you are going to use content from another site, be sure to source your source.
- Flaming visitors
- Why? Flaming is considered negative online. Flaming is when an exchange of mean or hostile messages are left via email, message board, guestbook, or any other electronic messaging source. Not all visitors of your site are going to leave you positive messages; however, it isn't in your best interest to return a nasty message with another. Sometimes it is best to ignore the message or return a polite one. Flaming looks bad on the person who leaves the message and the web master if they start flaming as well.
Webpage Netiquette to remember:
- Use legible fonts so visitors can easily read your page
- Use good grammar and spelling
- Use a matching color scheme
- Use smaller and quicker to download images
- Use buttons and links that are clearly defined
- Avoid horizontal scrolling on browsers and a lot of vertical scrolling
- Avoid backgrounds that are too dark or busy for your text to be readable
- Avoid making a page that doesn't print properly. There is nothing more frustrating than not being able to print out a full website without losing some of the text on the right hand side.
- Avoid having dead links
- Avoid broken frames
- Avoid an out of date web page. Keeping your content updated makes your site reliable.
Again, these aren't the law of web design; however, they are general rules that most can agree one. Good Netiquette makes for Good Internet.
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