Best Practices for Every Site

Custom 404 Pages

  • Include the company's name and logo.
  • Include an explanation of why visitor is seeing the page
  • A list of common mistakes that explain the problem
  • Links back to home page and/or relevant pages
  • A search engine to help find right information
  • An email link for visitors to report errors/problems

Contact Us Page

  • Spell out the email address, do not hide it in a text link.
  • Let them know the expected response time
  • State hours of operation
  • Provide map with address

Acknowledgement Emails

  • Include timeframe for formal response
  • Include phone number and real name.
  • Use tracking numbers as a reference
  • Provide a clear and accurate subject line
  • Explain what to do next if issue is unresolved
  • Sign the email.

Questions to answer

   1. What should people know about a site so they are not misled and do not waste their time?
   2. What is the site about?
   3. For whom is the site intended?
   4. Why should people stick around? What can you do on this site?
   5. What do people need to know about the company to place their trust in its site?
   6. What are the main reasons users want to come to the site? Are they reflected on the homepage?
   7. Is the homepage intuitive with respect to the pathways that are available?
   8. Are error messages helpful and instructive?
   9. Can visitors access the information they want from multiple locations or are they restricted to a narrow pathway?
Product Descriptions

  • Why should they buy?
  • What are the customer's needs?
  • What are their concerns?

Product Listing Page

  • Include brief description along with price.
  • Integrate price anchoring.
  • Include a buy it now link
  • Allow for sorting - name, brand, price, date, featured items.
  • Allow for comparison

Product Pages

  • Highlight features and benefits.
  • Provide lots of details, photos and images that provide answers.
  • User reviews
  • Buy button
  • Allow for navigation to next item in category


  • Clearly state the error at the top of the page and the problem area that needs to be corrected.
  • Indicate problem are with bold red text
  • Draw attention to the problem with an alert icon or graphical cue
  • Offer possible solutions to the problem.
  • Do not force visitors to retype data correctly, accept alternative formats.
  • Accept all valid data and only ask for problem info (do not send them back to the same form).
  • Be consistent in all error messages.
  • Lead with a clear heading and the most important information
  • Offer bullet points not blocks of text
  • Use bold red text and color variations to highlight crucial information
  • Edit copy so that it is brief and meaningful.

Here is a good read on Why use www? in your web address.

The verbs we use to describe what people do with our work—use, navigate, interact—all underscore the power, the agency, that sits in the user’s hands. The value of the web, of social, of mobile, all rests on the foundation that the work we do requires the active participation of the audience, and that the value of our work is only measured through their engagement.

See Explaining Water to a Fish

Is this why flat design is so popular?

If you want people to recognize an object (for example, an icon), use a simple geometric drawing of the object. This will make it easier to recognize the underlying geons, and thus make the object easier and faster to recognize.Favor 2D elements over 3D ones. The eyes communicate what they see to the brain as a 2D object. 3D representations on the screen may actually slow down recognition and comprehension.

This page contains information I gathered and thought were very useful. See more notes on the web.

Just to let you know, this page was last updated Saturday, Jul 20 24