Web Development Guidelines

Here are some Web Development and Design Guidelines (rules) that we use at work

Usability & Design

  • Consider ad positions before laying out Web pages instead of making it an afterthought.
  • Design ads for clickthrough performance, and without overloading with information.
  • Use favicons
  • Make navigation clear and self explanatory
  • Make pages scannable
  • Use brief language
  • Avoid text instructions whenever possible, but don’t make the user “figure it out” himself.
  • Establish value proposition/make benefit clear
  • Establish clear first read
  • Use reverse titles (Music – Amazon.com)
  • Optimize images for faster downloads
  • Make site design cohesive throughout the site
  • Survey and design for audience
  • Optimize page layout for 1024X768 or 800X600 depending on audience
  • Avoid text centering (most of the time)
  • Avoid text underlining except for hyperlinks (most of the time)
  • Publish SWF settings at Flash 6 (or Flash 7)
  • Always define image alt tags
  • Use ABBR tags
  • Use TITLE for icons


  • Use CSS to define content over style
  • Avoid inline styles
  • Avoid inline scripting
  • Use noscript when possible to display something when JavaScript is turned off
  • Favor CSS layout over JavaScript or images
  • Favor CSS layout over tables whenever practical
  • Consider page load time
  • Create a CSS printer-friendly stylesheet
  • Comment code sensisbly
  • W3C validate XHTML/CSS
  • Cross browser/platform test all pages

Search Engine Optimization

  • Consider SEO as a consideration in branding/naming conventions
  • Use breadcrumbs whenever possible
  • Define image alt tags
  • Always define description/keyword meta tags
  • Use descriptive, dynamic title tags
  • Use h1 – h6 tags for headings or titles whenever possible
  • Remember JavaScript and Flash make links and content “invisible” to spiders
  • Site navigation should always rendered in HTML text (most of the time)
  • Use a site map even on smallest sites to aid in SEO
  • Use dynamic header meta tags
  • Do not use meta-refreshes
  • Use “spider-simulator” software to test how much of the site is indexable.
  • If the site starts or is driven by JavaScript or Flash, duplicate the link in pure html text elsewhere.

In House Systems

  • Stay up to date on new trends (new tips are on the web everyday)
  • Use standardized procedures whenever possible
  • have a naming convention and folder organization convention
  • Communicate effectively.


  • Don’t trust any user input
  • Don’t rely on client side validation only (test with JavaScript disabled)
  • Require email validation (reduces spam)
  • Prevent maxlength on serverside also
  • It’s better to allow only what is necessary, than to try to think of everything you need to block
  • Parse any HTML or any other possible code injections or database injections in any forms
  • Use POST rather than GET

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