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Top ten lists

Careful! This post is looking a little old and could be inaccurate in many, many ways

In the web community there are many people that have a very elitist view and see the actions of some as second-rate or blatant whoring for traffic. One such example of this is the reaction Paul Boag (of the Boagworld podcast) received recently when starting to post articles in a ‘top ten’ format.

Although I myself am not perfect when it comes to viewing the actions of others I feel Paul has no need to justify himself as these articles make online content more accessible by breaking the content down into manageable chunks under descriptive headings.

So with this in mind I thought I’d post my own top ten, but to take it into the realm of the ridiculous I thought my top ten would be of other top ten lists essentially listing 100 web related tips and tricks.

1. 10 things a web designer would never tell you


As this post came from Paul’s experience I thought it best to start with one of his lists. This post created quite a wave in the community as Paul flipped the perspective of the post by offering justification for the opposite approach of many well communicated ideas in web design such as not offering spec work. Of course this resulted in a bit of a backlash as some had not grasped Paul’s tongue in cheek approach or the notice at the bottom (now at the top) warning people of his intentions. Looking beyond the backlash and non direct style of writing the post gets over some very good points, although seemingly obvious it does work as a great reminder as to why we do these things.

2. 10 Steps To The Perfect Portfolio Website

Smashing Magazine

Of course Smashing Magazine had to appear here as it’s the home of the top ten list. It was difficult to pick one post out of so many but given that I’m looking to redesign/realign my site I chosen a post about creating the perfect portfolio. Not only do they simply state the point, explain it and show examples they also list over 40 examples of beautiful portfolio sites that can inspire the posts readers into creating something beautiful for themselves.

3. Top 10 mistakes in Web Design

Jakob Nielsen

This is a classic list that Jakob has updated through numerous lists dating as far back as 1996 to 2005, possibly time for another update. Although some points are rather indicative of the time the lists were written many still hold true as ideas to remember and consider when building and designing a website.

4. 13 Steps to a Successful Website Launch


Ok, so strictly not a top ten list but worth including as it’s amazing the number of websites that are launched without sufficient testing. For many things like browser testing is second nature but for some new to the industry may still be working out the systems that best work for them. This list gives those people some pointers as well as reminding the rest of us who may just be rushing to launch a website and forget the odd thing.

5. 10 Writing Tips for Web Designers

Webdesigner Depot

The community appears full of those people that specialise in one job and do it very well, but more and more people are seeing the benefits of learning more about the complete process in designing and building a website. This is one such post that helps support this idea, although copywriters will know everything there is to know about their job there are many others that are trying to get by not completely understanding how best to utilise content on the web, this post gives those people a few tips to help them on their way.

6. 10 No’s for Freelancers

wakeup later

Clients will always try to push to get the best value for money, in this industry it usually amounts to more deliverables for less money or 24 hour support for even non mission critical stuff. If you work in an agency there are usually people that have been around long enough to know when the client is asking for too much and will have the confidence to say No. For freelancers however that support network is unavailable or at least diminished and saying No becomes harder especially when there is the worry that losing a client will affect your ability to pay the rent/mortgage. This post explains that sometimes saying No is the best course of action, even if you lose a client as the alternatives can be much worse.

7. 10 ways to get Design Approval

24 ways

Another article from Paul Boag but this time on the 24 ways advent calendar for web geeks. Although I think some points apply in varying amounts depending on your clients and your company I think it’s still a good thing to get an idea how others work as it may be something you can adopt in your current work place or have to adopt as you move workplaces or secure more high profile clients.

8. 10 SEO Rules for Designers

Just Creative Design

Working for an SEO company means that I have had to grasp certain SEO techniques and adopt them into my processes for designing and building websites. Although for many designers SEO is of little concern there are still a few basics everyone should learn and this post does a good job of listing them. To do SEO well is a highly complex job but to be able to design and build websites that are search engine friendly is quite easy if you know how and this is something that clients should receive without even having to request it.

9. 10 Common Mistakes in Redesign


Many web designers will redesign a website without much consideration other than to great something new that utilises all the new ideas and methods floating around without consideration for some of the more basic philosophies. This post serves as a helpful reminder to these types of designers that redesigning isn’t just about creating the most awesome website ever but ensuring that the website represents a step forward from what came before it.

10. 10 Principles Of Effective Web Design

Smashing Magazine

Another article from Smashing Magazine but this time a little more all encompassing of all websites. The post lists the goals we should all strive for in building a website that is both usable and functional for its audience. Again Smashing Magazine backs up the points it makes with live examples that allow for even the novice designer to understand how to put the ideas expressed into practice.

11. 6 Web Design Tips from Leonardo da Vinci

Design Pepper

I once read that in providing something to an audience always try to give them something extra that exceeds their expectations. This eleventh item is my simple idea of achieving that goal. This post effectively makes relevant links between web design and the work of Leonardo da Vinci. Although given enough time you could make such links between any two similar fields such as art and design the ideas and examples included still ring true and can give you a different perspective that may affect the way in which you think and approach design in the future.