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Web Design Tutorials - Intermediate Design Considerations

Animations, pop-up windows, Java applets, scrolling text, and blinking text

In short, don't do it! These are all excellent ways to drive away your visitors and ensure that they will not return.

  • Java (much different from JavaScript, although often incorrectly interchanged) has a tendency to be very slow loading and prone to browser crashes. Many people will leave a site as soon as they see Java loading, as it usually has no added value to the visitor.
  • Unexpected pop-up windows are also very annoying, although they can be functional if tastefully done (such as highlighting a product special). Pop-up windows are generally associated with things like porno sites, which open numerous windows in an attempt to keep you from exiting the site, often resulting in a crashed browser. Even when used less harmfully, pop-up windows are usually closed instantly, as they often contain advertising banners or useless info like the time of day or a poll. No matter how good an application you think you have for a pop-up window, keep in mind these potentially detrimental associations.
  • Same for scrolling text. However, most scrolling text depends on Java (see above) or marquee commands that will not function in all browsers, so it is still a questionable tool.
  • Blinking text is an absolute no-no. Use it only if you want to immediately lose the respect of all your visitors.

And what about animations? Remember the absolutely hideous example from the Reason to Return tutorial? Well, here it is again:

Hideous Animation

Granted, this is an extremely annoying example, but it certainly illustrates just how bad animations can be. Here is the same animation at a much slower speed:

Pretty Bad Animation

It could be made even less of an eye sore by going through the animation only once instead of looping endlessly. I chose not to do that, however, as it would be done with the animation before you got this far down the page.

There are instances where animations can be very useful, such as illustrating an exercise or movement. If you want to get very advanced with your animations, MacroMedia Flash is the industry leader in high impact, fast loading, animated graphics. Keep in mind that the same design considerations apply to Flash as for any other animation.

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