At the turn of every year people make promises that they rarely keep. Yes, I’m talking about the infamous New Years Resolutions: I promise to exercise more; I promise to read one book a month; I promise to get my life organized.¬† Blah, blah, blah. This year, rather than bore you with empty promises about stuff I’m going to do in 2011, let me flip the script and tell you what I’m not going to do in 2011.

Follow me at your own risk but here are my 14 anti-New Years Resolutions from a web designer for 2011.

In 2011…

1. I will not use Comic Sans for any design.

I will also not use Papyrus (shame on you Avatar).

2. I will not use the title Social Media Guru in any of my design pitches

I’m no guru in self proclaimed job titles but I do know of people that refer to themselves as Social Media Gurus are really just Social Media Stalkers. I just call it like I see it.

3. I will not tweet about every single thing I’m doing.

The only one who needs to know I’m getting the number 5 combo is the lady at the drive thru window. (Side note: nothing good comes from combining two of the following: drinking, driving, tweeting. Please be careful out there.)

4. I will not use CAPTCHA with words that are unreadable

If you use CAPTCHA on your site, please make sure it is easy for HUMANS to read.¬† There’s nothing worse than being stopped because you can’t decipher a scribbled mess of chicken scratch.

5. I will not use more than 3 fonts in any one design

With over 2,000 fonts installed on my computer, it’ll be hard but I’ll keep it to 3. How does Comic Sans, Papyrus, and Times New Roman sound?

6. I will not re-size the user’s browser window

You’ve sized your browser for a reason and I will keep it that way (unless it’s for a popup). Don’t hate me for my popups.

7. I will not auto load music on any of my websites

My ears have been scarred too many times by unexpected blaring music. Expected music is still acceptable.

8. I will not rely on Flash or JavaScript for navigation

Graceful degradation should allow users who have flash or JavaScript disabled to still access and navigate your website.

9. I will not use animated GIFs

The only exception would be to allow for advertisements on a site (If you want to use animated GIFs to advertise on my sites, please ignore this one).

10. I will not fill my websites with overused design elements

The following design elements should be used sparingly, if any:

  • reflective effect (think Apple)
  • flourishes/swirls (even though it’s in this site’s name)
  • ink splatters (contain your ink!)

They’re overused, overdone, and just over.

11. I will not copy what everyone else is designing

Sometimes it’s easy to just look around and copy.¬† Instead, I will take some time and try and create original designs. That’s not to say I don’t need inspiration. Just don’t let inspiration be defined as imitation.

12. I will not overuse the <div> tag

With the forthcoming HTML5 standards and their useful tags like <header>, <footer> and <article>, unnecessary div tags should be on the downswing. In the meantime, we can all resolve to work on semantic coding and actually use the tags for their intended purpose.¬† Don’t replace incorrect uses of tables with unnecessary uses of div tags.

13. I will not underline text that is not a link

Nothing irks me more than clicking on an underlined word only to find that it is not really a link.  To emphasize text use the em tag or the strong tag.

14. I will not create multi-page articles

For all you bloggers out there. With high speed internet access nearly ubiquitous, it can’t be argued that multi-page articles help improve load times. The only reason people create multiple pages is to boost their page views.

What about You?

What do you promise not to do in 2011? What are your anti-resolutions? Or if you want, what are your regular resolutions? Let me hear ya!

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