The 15 Worst Mistakes You Can Make When Designing a Website
April 3rd, 2017 | Natasha Englehardt
Designing and building a website that’s perfect for any given business is always a challenge. However, there are certainly best practices you can implement to ensure your work is better—and there are also some well-known mistakes you should always avoid. Here we’ll cover the 15 worst mistakes you can make when designing a website so you can avoid them no matter what.
Lack of search box
People come to your site for information. Ideally, they can find it at once without searching, but no matter how well organized your site is, sometimes people will need to search. Make your search box visible and obvious. To set a search function on your site just copy and HTML code from the control panel.
There’s really no point to having the site if no one can read what it says, and if it’s a struggle to read it the site will just frustrate visitors. Bizarre font styles, too many fonts, contrast that’s too low, and tiny font size make reading a site a horrible experience, so just don’t go there. Remember to use contrasting yet harmonious colors to improve readability and use a Sans serif typeface.
Too much text in long blocks
Most visitors to websites spend only seconds there. Grab their attention with bullet points and small, easily digestible bits of information in short, clear sentences. Don’t make anyone scroll to read unless totally necessary, and break up blocks of text with subheadings.
Using a theme without customizing it
It’s fine to use a theme or ready to use site elements, but don’t just use them and stop there or your site will look generic. Instead, start with a premium toolkit or theme so you can customize your design’s colors, typeface, and structure and go from there.
Poor organization and navigation
Your visitors should be able to get around on the site easily, instinctively, and consistently. Make sure you have a navigation bar on every page in a visible spot. Each page should also have bullets, headings, sub-headings, paragraphs, keywords, and other organizational elements. Avoid text paragraphs littered with internal links and buttons that make no sense.
Too much clutter
Your site should look clean and clutter free. Picture how it feels to walk into a fresh hotel suite; it feels inviting in large part because there is no clutter, and your site should give your visitors that same inviting feeling. Put only what you need on each page, especially the home page.
Burying critical information too deep
Remember, you don’t have much time before most visitors give up and leave. Make sure they can find important information like your email address, customer support, physical location, FAQs, and details about your service or product immediately.
Automatic music in the background
For the love of kittens, please don’t do this. No one likes music to suddenly blare out of their speakers and announce what they’re doing to the rest of the office. Also, the odds that your visitors love the same kind of music as you do are slim to none, so not only will they be surprised and annoyed by the music, they are likely to hate it on its merits as well.
No responsive design/unfriendly screen resolution
Responsive design ensures your site will look the same no matter which device people use to view it. So many users are now on mobile devices that this is critical. It’s also essential to be sure that no horizontal scrolling is needed to view your site; this is very annoying to visitors. Responsively designed sites will never force users to do any horizontal scrolling.
No contact information
It’s great to have a contact form, but it’s not enough. Provide your actual contact info on your site in case someone needs to reach you immediately.
Failure to use a color or typography palette
When you need to match colors or fonts, do not “eyeball it.” Consistent branding and style are important. You can be sure your site is coordinated by creating a defined palette for both type and color and defining rules for each. You should set between one and three options for both the font and color palettes, and then set rules for how they should be applied within the design. Replace the styles that are already in your CSS with your definitions and your site will be corrected.
No “About” page
An “About” page builds trust with users and helps them see your business in a very personal way. It’s far easier to convince people to buy when they feel they “know” you.
Lack of negative space
The corollary to clutter, failure to use negative space means that each page will have too many elements. This means they will all be in competition for visitor attention, and no one element will get as much attention as it may merit. Use negative space to highlight important information on every page, especially calls to action.
Overloading on social share buttons (or not using them at all)
Social media is pervasive, and you do need easy to find share buttons on your pages; don’t make it hard to share your site. On the other hand, don’t add 20 buttons to every page; this just looks and feels like clutter. Just include buttons from the top sites for your target audience.
Slow page loading speed
Visitors on your site will expect it to load within three to four seconds, and if it takes longer, they are likely to leave. Slow loading time even affects your search engine ranking negatively. To improve your page loading speed, remember these techniques:
- Don’t use too many plugins
- Minimize HTTP requests
- Optimize your images
- Reduce redirects
- Reduce server response time
If you plan ahead and avoid these 15 mistakes, you can create a much more effective website from the start. Even if your site is already up, learning from these mistakes can allow you to improve its effectiveness now. By focusing in on user experience and how your visitors will encounter your site, you can generate more traffic to your site and ensure optimal usage.