We recently helped a few small businesses establish or refine their Squarespace websites and discovered some problems we thought others might be wise to avoid.
What to Avoid:
Lightbox for Minor Images
When including images within text, it is usually not necessary to include a link that shows that same small image in a lightbox on the page. (A lightbox presents an image in a popup that usually includes a shaded overlay that obscures the rest of the page.) Lightboxes can be useful when you want to present a larger image free from distractions.
New Browser Windows
Squarespace makes it easy to make a link to another page open in a new browser window (or tab). While this might seem like a good idea when the link might take someone off of your site, don’t do it. New windows mean that the visitor cannot use the back button to return to your site. Adding tabs or windows makes any visitor's life more complicated, and it certainly makes your site more challenging for anyone with a visual impairment.
On any website, the best way to indicate a link to other material is to place the link on words or phrases that describe or name the destination content. That means, if you have detailed instructions for building the tail of a model airplane, do not state "for more information, click here." Rather, you can say, "see the detailed instructions for more information."
Too Small Text
Frequently we opt to make the size of text small so that it fits neatly on a page or layout. This can be a mistake that leads people to skip your content. There are two issues here that should be addressed: first, be sure the text size is comfortable for people of all ages to read. Two, make sure your text is as concise as it can be. A well-written page must conform to Strunk & White’s first precept: “omit needless words.” If your text is direct and concise, you can afford to make the type large enough to read.
If you choose to include PDF (portable document format) files, be careful to indicate that a link will present a PDF. If the file is large, you might also include its size. For example, “Read our 2014 Annual Report [PDF 54Mb].”
Design Only for Desktop
Do not assume your site will be viewed in a desktop browser. Do test it on your phone and in Squarespace (where if you narrow the browser window Squarespace will present your site in a tablet or phone format.) In this way you can test for all browsers, mobile and desktop.