As I read though Jakob Nielson’s Top Ten Web Mistakes http://www.useit.com/alertbox/990502.html I find all of his points accurate, but some of them are no longer necessary to conscious of. The average designer can use software that accounts for those things automatically for you. In the last year or so I started designing websites in Weebly and WordPress. These sites have themes that are pre-designed with good framing, limited crowding, no scrolling animations, consistent navigation bars (which also no orphaned pages), standard link colours, and consistent download times. Someone else has already taken these common mistakes into account and eliminated those problems from the design themes.
For the last five years I have taught students how to use Dreamweaver. And though it is easier to use than old school html coding it is still not intuitive. My observation is that in the last few years there is a greater and greater expectation on the part of my student designers to have very intuitive easy-to-use software. I see the value in knowing some html code and in trying designing in more the more complicated but customizable software like Dreamweaver. However, it is an uphill battle. While I still plan to teach those skills as an addition to what they are doing in the classroom my main lessons will be built around easy to use platforms like WordPress. It is far more likely that my students will use one of these platforms in the future for personal or entrepreneurial projects than to imagine that they will download Adobe’s pricey Dreamweaver, find a host provider and upload and download content when they can use software that is free, and easy directly on the internet. And the even better part, is that on these platforms the sites they create do not make Nielsen’s mistakes and really do look good.