Mistakes to Avoid in Web Design
It’s funny that even with the web being so well traveled that some sites still make some very big fundamental mistakes in web design. Small sites or large sites are both equally open to this issue and really it can happen on the initial design or even during redesigns. So let’s look at some of the more common flaws that should definitely be avoided.
A Clear Purpose
What is the point of your website? Some people have some really fantastic design ideas that result in a very cool looking home page. But what happens when that coolness does not relate to your actual product or purpose in some way? You end up with confused viewers that head right back to Google for the next result from their search query. Make sure you clearly spell out on your home page what you are offering to people.
Registration or Sign-In
People like to browse. Being forced to sign-in or complete any sort of registration disrupts that process. If you are signing in to buy something then that makes perfect sense to sign in or to view restricted access items. But other than that it can be a quick way to get rid of viewers who just want to look around if they feel the need to register or do anything they might feel is invasive or a waste of time.
Getting Overly Artsy
Sometimes you can go too far with colors, fonts, and backgrounds with the result being a page that is hard to read by everyone. Keep in mind, even if 2 out of 10 people have a hard time seeing what you are saying then more than likely you just turned away 20% of your potential audience. Contrast is important along with font size and not creating an overly busy background that distracts from words. Always make sure that you have a group of various people provide feedback before launching live to get a variety of eyes seeing the project.
Form over Function
It can be easy to fall into the trap of having the coolest looking site with top notch graphics and Java applets. But the real thing that viewers appreciate is a site that loads quickly and is easy to navigate. Think of it from your own experience from browsing; if a site takes forever to load do you stick around and wait or just go somewhere else? Using more than one slow loading item per page is a recipe for disaster.
Yes ads are important because they put money in the pocket but you need to limit them. Ads on both sides of the page along with constant pop-ups make your site look like an advertisement site instead of having any actual content of its own. The same thing goes for having ads pop up too often which slows load time and is just darn annoying to a reader. Aim for higher page views to generate better ad views rather than the other way around.
The Trophy Wall
It is great to have awards and testimonials to your ability and accomplishments. But, use them sparingly and don’t clutter your pages with them. Limit yourself to the top two awards on your home page. The rest of that stuff can be under its own page or on the About Page.
Staples got it right with their ‘Easy Button’ ad campaign. Your website should have the same goal. If you are selling things, want people to sign-up, or generally have some sort of ‘call to action’ they need to find it easily. Make that call stand out so people can find it easily. There is nothing worse than having to search high and low for what you need on a site when it should be obvious and right in your face.