Nope, I don’t like design by committee. Sometimes, it just doesn’t make any sense.

Which do you like better? On the second one, the large image at the top flips/dissolves between several different images.

Website 1 Website 2

Smashing Magazine has posted 10 Usability Nightmares You Should Be Aware of and it’s a great read. Several things in there that all developers have probably been guilty of at one time or another. Read it and then try to remove as much of them from your sites as you can.

Smashing Magazine also provided a list of 8 Usability Checkpoints as well. Just read the article for more info on each one listed below.

1. You don’t use pop-ups.
2. You don’t change users’ window size.
3. You don’t use too small font sizes.
4. You don’t have unclear link text.
5. You don’t have dead links.
6. You have at most one animation per page.
7. You make it easy to contact you.
8. Your links open in the same window.

Playing around with DotNetNuke again today for work and the CSS implementation leaves a lot to be desired. For some reason (open source? – multiple contributors?) the CSS has hundreds of redundant definitions and the code base itself adds unnecessary or at least unwanted IDs or CLASS tags to everything.

Rather than have a single FONT-FAMILY declaration, it was declared on almost every style. Instead of BORDER, BORDER-RIGHT, BORDER-LEFT, BORDER-TOP, and BORDER-BOTTOM are used. It’s really insane. Almost every element of content gets assigned with CLASS=”Normal” and put inside a DIV with a uniqe ID ending with ModuleContent.

All of this rambling led to a cool way to assign CSS properties to certain elements based on Wild Card characters. This only works with Firefox, but if you’re trying get Firefox to display something differently than IE, it can be a big help.

/* all DIV tags with an ID ending in ModuleContent */
div[id$=’ModuleContent’] {
border:2px #000 solid;

/* all A tags whose HREF attribute ends in .pdf */
a[href$=’.pdf’] {
border:2px #000 solid;

Works great for debugging browser differences as well. Anyway, back to cleaning up the DotNetNuke default.css file. I’ve already got it pared down to 14k (from the original 18k).