There are guidelines, quality checkpoints and best practices available. However, as the old adage goes, nothing or no one is perfect. That includes web designers. As systematic and methodical as web page designing is, there are rooms for mistakes. Nevertheless, that does not mean that web designers shouldn’t strive for flawless work all the time.
Culled below are 20 of the most common web design mistakes every designer should veer away from.
1. Making Visitors Guess What Your Site is About
You literally have seconds to convince internet users that your site is worth their time. If it will take more than 8 seconds – the attention span of an average web browser –to convey to your people what your site is about, you’re in deep trouble. Your site’s theme and what it’s offering should be clear and self-explanatory.
2. Poor Readability
This year, many experts predicted that the use of new typography will be one of the top website design trends. However, this does not mean that you have to sacrifice your site’s readability. There’s a great chance that your site visitors are browsing other sites or doing other things. You have to make it extremely easy for them to scan through your site.
3. Using Outdated Gimmickry
Flashing texts and crawlers are some of these outdated web page designing tactics. Your website should convey your brand image in a sophisticated and relevant aesthetics that appeals to modern day Internet users.
4. Failing to Proofread Your Site
Would you give your customers sub-standard products or services? Hopefully, your answer to this question is no. Your website is your chance to make a good impression and typographical errors and grammar and spelling mistakes won’t exactly give you a positive image.
5. Using Complicated Navigation
A good website design aside from visually appealing should be fundamentally sound which includes a simple and user friendly navigation. There’s nothing worse than losing traffic just because your visitors can’t find their way around your site.
6. Auto Play Audio
There’s a lot of misconceptions about web page designing and one of the most prevalent is the thinking that the fancier the website is, the better it is. One piece of trick designer use is audio or sound effects and for a number of internet users, this can be annoying. If you want to put audio, give your site visitors the control to play it.
7. Using a Cover Page
Again, internet users don’t have all the time in the world to spend browsing your site. Using a “cover page” to launch your site can be cumbersome. Keep it as simple as possible.
8. Going Too Fancy with Flash
Web Design 2.0 dictates that less is more. This is not to say that you have to go minimalist and bland. This means that unnecessary elements should be taken down. This includes unnecessary Flash elements that can slow down load time which is definitely a turnoff among internet users.
9. Web Designs that are Incompatible with Browsers
Everyone started out with just Internet Explorer. Now, you have Chrome, Firefox and Safari among others. Not to mention the mobile browsers such as Opera Mobile. Your web design should be compatible across all these browsers if you want to maximize your reach.
10. Long Registration Process
In fact, unless you’re using a registration form for conversion optimization by offering something of value to your customers (i.e. white paper, etc.), don’t slap them with a registration form at all. If registration is really essential, keep it as succinct as possible.
11. Headache-Inducing Color Scheme
Color is one of the basics of website design. It’s okay to try out different color combinations, but at the end of the day, your choice of color scheme should be pleasing to the eyes. There colors that are not too visually pleasing onscreen and can even induce dizziness and headache. Stay away from these.
12. A Bad Case of Badges
Badges can give a site an air of authority and even build its credibility. However, peppering your site with badges is not good. Choose only those that represent credible organizations that you belong to and noteworthy awards you receive. Practice self-restraint and know when to stop.
13. Annoying Advertisements
Allocating spaces on your site is a great way to monetize your web property. In the process of web page designing, ensure that your site won’t look like a digital classified ads section of a newspaper. Remember, the priority is till to promote your brand and your content. Place ad spaces appropriate on your site and don’t overload it.
14. Force Feeding Visitors with an Intro Video
If you want to use an intro video, go ahead, as long as it improves the overall user experience of your site. That being said, you should never force your site visitors to watch your video and there should always be an option to skip the intro.
15. Asking Visitors to Choose a Site Version
Number one, most Internet users are lay people and don’t understand web development or design terminologies. So, asking them to choose between your site’s HTML or Flash version or asking them to select a bandwidth will most likely result to a high bounce rate.
16. Not Highlighting Your Site’s Most Important Content
Creating a great website design can be considered an art. However, while thinking about what images to use or what typography to choose, do not forget that your site is there to deliver a message. Ensure that you highlight the site’s most important content through the use of design techniques.
17. Claustrophobic Designs
Did you know that using white spaces appropriately can actually improve the effectiveness of your site? Don’t cramp everything into your web page and leave a generous amount of breathing room.
18. Ignoring Visual Hierarchy
When someone visits your site, he or she automatically knows what the most important elements are on your page. This is due to visual hierarchy. For example, big images and bold typography draw attention. Don’t ignore this as this is a powerful way to communicate your message.
19. Ignoring SEO Elements
A beautiful-looking site is useless if people can’t find it. That being said, an SEO-friendly web design is absolutely non-negotiable and search engine optimization should be incorporated across all stages of the design process. This includes an appropriate URL structure, using ALT Tag for images, unique content and proper tags (H1, etc.)
20. Designing for Design’s Sake
This is the worst mistake in website design. Don’t make a site just for the sake of it. Remember, you have an audience and if you’re making one for a company, you have business objectives to meet. Websites should not be created out of thin air. Web designs should be grounded on clear goals and with a target audience in mind.