Seven Ways To Make Me Leave Your Homepage
By: Jeff Ruby

  1. Use black as a background color. I have trouble reading the foreground text, regardless of its color, on almost every single page that has a black background. As soon as I see a black background, I pretty much ready to move onto something else.
  2. Use a busy background image. Busy backgrounds make the text difficult to read. When I see a busy background, that is my clue to get busy doing something else.
  3. Use frames. I don't know why, but I just can't stand frames. They just annoy me. Maybe it is the whole scroll bar thing.
  4. Use large cgi-images without including text links also. I use a 14.4 modem and big images often take a long time to load. I don't like to wait to see where I can go. It is also quicker to read text than to try to figure out how to get somewhere by looking at some fancy-dancy picture with 1/3 of all items in the world included in it.
  5. Use lots of spinning, whirling, twirling, twisting, rotating, running, scrolling or flipping images or Java applets. These busy items usually just distract and annoy me and make me want to go lie down and rest.
  6. Use blinking text. Blinking text is just the pits. My eyes always just go to it even when I'm reading something else.
  7. Use lots of large images. When I'm surfing around on the web, my second favorite thing to do is to sit and wait for images to load. Providing lots of them only doubles my pleasure. Coincidentally, my first favorite thing to do while surfing the web is to stare at blinking text.

Additionally there are some things that make me really like a homepage. Speed, speed, speed is the key.

Things That Make Me Like Your Homepage:

  1. Include a quick index at the top of the page which concisely describes the contents of the page. This is usually in the form of a index bar, box or list which will link to spots farther down in the page or to other pages.
  2. Include a date or date last-updated at the top of the page. I like having a reference which allows me to quickly deduce the currentness of the information.

I guess to summarize ... I like pages that are simple, readable and quick to use.

Jeff Ruby, George Mason University
jruby@gmu.edu
http://mason.gmu.edu/~jruby/
May, 1997