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Animation Tips

Animation hell

Animated GIFs are the <BLINK> tags of multimedia Web sites. Don't over use them - animation for an email icon for example, adds little to the page apart from slowing downloads and making it look tacky.  Also, limit animation to just one item per page, as too many animations create a moving hell. Use animation to promote one thing - a 'What's New' link, or a sponsor's advert - and it'll really drive navigation to that point. For help with making animations see GIF Animator

Animation heaven

Animation is, however, an ideal resource when used carefully. Use animation to present information that can't fit into a space.  for example, a square 64-x-64 pixel button can feature a multiple message animations, such as "Visit The Resource Centre> How?> Click here". By stretching it over three frames, it creates drama.  Bonus tip: make animation shapes a beveled square, so visitors are encouraged to click it.

Colourful animation

By carefully monitoring the colour palette, you can create lean animations.  Ideally you should use the same, exact colour palette for each frame. The best, but most boring way to do this is in Adobe PhotoShop, building entirely with Web-safe colours.

Speed Freaks

Slow animation equals natural-looking animation. Frames that whirr pas kill the animation.  Ideally you should make the animation last between two and five seconds, but you don't need to show everything in that time frame - just enough to grab people's attention.  Also, Navigator 3.0 does not support animation speeds of less than 0.1 seconds - it reads these times as "go as fast as possible" and makes the animation zip past.

Master of illusion

Don't use jerky animation, use blurs in animation frames to smooth out edges and give the impression of more, and smoother, frames. In one frame create a static image on the left-hand side, say, then on the middle frame blur it across to the right, then in the third frame show if static on the right hand side.  It also saves on file size as you need to create less frames. 


Now if you want to use backgrounds from elsewhere or make your own that's fine. Look at the links below for sites that provide free backgrounds.

You are about to enter a collection of over 50,000 free graphics. For backgrounds suitable for web page design and 3d textures, see the backgrounds ByCarel area. These designs are available in full intensity and pale versions. They are also available in either their native tile or as sidebar/border backgrounds. For business to whimsical buttons, bullets, backgrounds and bars, see the Essential Collections.
Navigational arrows are located in the bullets section.

Or if you would rather, use the themes that came with FrontPage. Look on the Themes page for links to sites that deal with using Theme Designer and/or provide free themes to download.  Microsoft also has a few new themes for free for you! You can also find help with making your own themes there too.

Before we go to much further perhaps you should take a look at some help on html but "getting your hands dirty" with html is the best way to learn.  When your feeling more adventurous the same page yields up over brimming sites of Java and JavaScript for you.

Spell it out

Every web designer is guilty here - you've created the world's hottest Web page, only it's littered with spelling errors and grammatical faux pas.  Most Web-design tools come with a spell checker, so make sure you use it.  Bad spelling is the single, biggest turn-off for any Web-site visitor.  This is a bug-bear of mine. I am perfectly capable of this and I try hard to fix all my errors when I find them.  In FrontPage Editor on each individual page you can go to "Tools" "spelling" and get your page spell checked.

You can configure your FrontPage to work in British or in a foreign language like Americanize.  Once someone emailed me with "spelling errors" on my homepage. hee hee, needless to say he was from America. He forgot this was an English site. If you want to check the whole site at once in Frontpage go to "Tools" "spelling" and you can configure to test out the whole site and also add the tasks to the tasks tool. Checking off each page is easy so you know where you are, you just save the page after running spell check and tell the tasks tool you have done so, via a little box that pops up. 

NOTE: FrontPage 2000 has a flaw in that though you may configure the spell checker to work in British (UK) mode it continues to work in British (US) mode, when the spell check brings up a misspelling for example 'Customise'  and wants you to change it to 'customize' the American spelling just click Add and next time if you misspell the word the option to click Customise is available as well, this works with any word.

Best way to test?

You can check out your site using Arachnophilia, where you can specify which browser or version you want. It is known as Careware.  However the best all-round resource is, People!!  Get them to test out your site for you and observe them while they do it.  Ideally not in clinical conditions. You can discover all those bugs you missed, and track how they interact with the site! 

{ Editors Note: This article was written many years ago, now you can preview in the browser from later FrontPage versions. }


Do you have them or not? Linkexchange it is the biggest banner exchange going, but I am not happy with them. Stay out of this arena till you know your way around a bit more. The best way to advertise your site is in a variety of other ways.


Study the newsgroups. Find one that suits your subject and lurk for a week or two. See what people are saying. View the FAQ of the NG. Then dip your toe in and introduce yourself. That is how I got my first "web friend".

If your site is about nothing in particular you might like to see what's going on in your local area. I visit
news://uk.local.nw.england and news://uk.local.cumbria Here I can find out what is going on more or less locally. Search the newsgroups for one about your area.

news:// This Newsgroup is the best because you can have site about anything, host anywhere, and live anywhere in the UK. You introduce yourself and say that you have just made your first website. Please could the regulars take a look and do a critique of the site, what do they think about design and content, any pointers gratefully received. Don't just put your link and and expect people to take a look. (though some kinds souls might).

When you get feedback return the favour. If you feel the page is too bright or what ever say so. People visit this NG to get feedback, as long as your not nasty with it, they will welcome comments even if in the negative. I have improved my sites no end doing this. For instance, this site while still in beta, (i.e. not promoted in anyway) has been hawked around family and friends, and my favourite NG designtips. A negative comment was get rid of "Click on this thumbnail for larger version" over every thumbnail, the person felt his intelligence was being insulted. Ah, I see what you mean said I and away they went. I put a generic reminder at the top of each page with thumbnails instead. (Some people do not know about thumbnails)

If you want Free Critiques the best place for them is become a member and hone your skills critiquing other members sites earning points and have your site critiqued in return. 


Mmmm, back to the debate again. I don't think guestbooks are good for professional or Business pages, it is much better to have a forum instead. Guestbooks are good in one respect, some web people do not like sending off an email to a stranger so they leave a calling card so to speak in the front porch (The guestbook) In here you can leave a comment or to about the site you have visited and what you think of it. Here you should be polite and positive. If you want to comment on the design and content or some misspellings or other inconsistency's, leave a positive aspect in your comments to. Also leave your URL with a request for a return gesture. 

A couple of good guestbooks are:

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