If Frank Lloyd Wright were alive today I wonder what he would say about web designers’ mistakes. I get to see thousands of prospective clients and their competitors’ websites over the course of a year and although web design is improving I am still left thinking that 95% of web designers and web design firms just don’t understand the basics.

I have had to become an expert in diplomacy while explaining to prospective clients that the website for which they have paid hard earned money is (to put it politely) not as good as it might have been.

There seem to be five web design and build failures that come up again and again that require discussion with website owners. I rarely if ever get to talk through these points with the designers so I have listed them here as questions.

If you are thinking of having a new site or revamping your existing site you may want to make sure that these questions will be unnecessary before you appoint someone to carry out the work.

Here are the five questions for web designers:

1. Why don’t you learn what goes in the HEAD element?

Just because your client is unlikely to peruse the HEAD element doesn’t mean you should ignore it or fill it with garbage.

2. What’s so difficult about producing search engine friendly urls?

Dynamically generated urls can cause problems for search engine crawlers and may be ignored. Why not generate search engine friendly, human readable urls instead?

3. Why large logos?

Logos that take up 25% of the home page are a waste of valuable real estate. Users want to see what they came for not pictures of models staring up at the camera.

4. Do you leave blank alt tags for a reason?

Alt tags really do have a purpose. They are for the many users who use talking browsers, screen readers, text browsers or browsers on small devices.

5. Why don’t you use web standards like W3C?

Did you know that separating structure from presentation makes it easy for alternative browsing devices and screen readers to interpret the content? Or that using semantic and structured HTML makes for simpler development and easier maintenance? Or that less HTML means smaller file sizes and quicker downloads? Or that a semantically marked up document is easily adapted to alternative browsing devices and print? Or that if you use standards and write valid code you reduce the risk of future web browsers not being able to understand the code you have written?