Even though meltmedia’s been a company for over 12 years now, we’ve produced relatively few versions of meltmedia.com. We’ve been blessed in that most of our time is spent creating custom solutions for really awesome clients. Sometimes we’re so busy we forget to show our own site a little love. And, as many people in our industry know, sometimes designing for yourself can be the most difficult project of all.
Practice what we preach.
For this refresh, we wanted to stay focused and follow the advice we often give our clients. We preach that content is king and to keep things simple. We recommend against unnecessary animations and in favor of removing features that don’t add any value for the user. And of course, when done correctly, less is more. While using CSS3 animations and cool JS libraries can be fun and innovative, in the end, we want the site to be accessible, fast, and to provide good content.
There are millions of websites on the innertubes and with all the traffic and browsing being done every second, many people don’t take the time to ask themselves or their company one simple question: What does my website say about me?
I don’t necessarily mean the literal text and words on your website. I mean, what is the feeling, the impression, the gut reaction people have when they get to your site?
More importantly, do you even know what you want them to think?
Let’s cut right to the chase, no, it didn’t. But it did get a great deal of bad design in front of a very substantial audience. Truthfully, bad design has been around for as long as there have been bad designers, and that’s a long time. The only major difference is that in the past, far more consideration was paid before sending designs to print, mostly due to cost. Now with the internet, anybody with a few simple graphics tools and some dubious knowledge can get their designs in front of millions.
Arguing over semantics is pointless, right? Not when it comes to your markup. Semantic HTML is a crucial skill that many junior website-makers ignore. Using smart, semantic markup will make sites more future-proofed, more accessible, friendlier to search bots, and much less headache-inducing for the human side of the matter.
What Is Semantic HTML?
What does it mean for markup to be semantic? It means that your markup tells a story. HTML is not just a series of elements thrown together on a page; it needs to represent the meaning of the website. Remember junior high when you had to make outlines with endless roman numerals and headlines for organization? That’s how your HTML should feel. Every element should represent something real– not something merely for presentation. And if it doesn’t, find a better way to write it.
Imagine how disappointed you’d be after putting your time into content, only to lose your reader’s attention after the headline. It would be like slaving over a five course meal, only to have your dinner guest fill up on garlic bread.
Keep your readers savoring every word by avoiding these four common mistakes:
1. Too many headlines.
But headlines are attention grabbing!
One headline is attention-grabbing. Subheads compel and clarify.
Breakup hard-to-read or complex content with subheads that clarify the main headline and compel the reader to move through the article. By the time a reader scans through your content, they should be able to understand the gist of it.