Web Design is a burgeoning art form. While once upon a time every site was different and designers were experimenting with all sort of things, today people are starting to realise more and more what works and what doesn’t. For that reason, websites are becoming a bit more samey as they funnel into designs that work. That said, not everyone has it sorted just yet. For the inexperienced developer or business owner, putting a toe in the great big pond of web development can be daunting: there are plenty of sharks out there just waiting to gobble you up if you make a mistake or two.
With that said, help is out there. Have a read through our list of common web design mistakes and see for yourself whether you’re on the right track or whether there are some changes you need to make.
People need to know where to go on your site to find the thing they’re looking for. It sounds pretty obvious, but it’s quite shocking the number of sites that just don’t put the effort necessary into being easily navigable.
In order to keep the navigation of your site simple and concise, make sure you don’t let page numbers run away from you. By splitting up your website’s content into too many parts, you risk burying the information a person came for on a page that can only be reached with a compass and a degree in orienteering.
Most sites have a header that incorporates a navigation bar. If your site fits into this category, make sure all your pages can be found via it directly. Don’t make people hunt through pages to find the link they’re looking for.
When getting a website built, it can be tempting to outsource the writing of the content to someone else. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this, but consider whether you might be the best person to write it instead. After all, no one knows your brand better than you, and with an investment in it to start with you might be more motivated than someone else to write great content.
However, whether you write it yourself or hand the task over to someone else, nothing is more important than making sure the end result is completely legible. Outsourced writing is particularly vulnerable to spelling and grammar errors as you don’t know who’s writing it or even whether English is their first language. Mistakes in your content give your users the immediate impression than you don’t really know what you’re talking about. Afterall, if you can’t be bothered to proofread then how can you be trusted with their business?
Optimising your site for different screen resolutions is much more important than most people realise. Failing to do so means that on some people’s devices your site will extend beyond the borders of their screen and they’ll be forced to scroll horizontally. It’s almost impossible to optimise for every single range of resolutions out there, but if this is a problem that happens for too many of you users then it’s pretty much death for your site: people will simply go somewhere with better optimisation.
You can use statistical tools such as Google Analytics to determine what resolution most of your users are viewing your site from.
If your site still features a background soundtrack on a loop in 2016, then there’s nothing else to tell you but that you’re just not very bright. People don’t want to be forced to listen to anything while they cruise your site because there’s a 99% chance that that’s not what they’re there for. If they wanted audio they’d go to Soundcloud or Pandora or YouTube, not your site selling white goods. You want to give users what they want, not what they don’t. Even if they don’t mind the background noise and aren’t actively turned off by it, there’s very, very little chance that it will be a deciding factor in whether they decide to use your site again over a competitor’s.
If you really feel like your site would benefit hugely from a background soundtrack for whatever reason – and we’re not saying that possibility would never arise – then at the very least make it extremely obvious and easy to turn off.
Too Clever For your Own Good
Make no mistake, people don’t care about you and they care even less about your website. Their only reason for being on it in the first place is entirely selfish – they want it to solve their problem or address their need. Too many web designers forget how little time they have to attract a user and keep them on their page, and instead get bogged down with trying to make the site stand out.
There’s nothing wrong with an eye catching site, but if this comes at the expense of usability or content then it simply isn’t worth it.
Never Forget Your Audience
The most important thing to remember, and the one mistake you must not make at all costs, is to never forget about the end user. You must look at the web design process at all stages through the eyes of the person you’re building for. If you don’t, chances are you’ll be disappointed with results when the time finally comes to launch. However, if you do, then the odds are good that conversions, traffic and all that good stuff will be yours!