Developing a website is not as easy as it may seem because even the smallest mistakes can lead to poor user experience and increase bounce rate. Therefore, you have to be very careful while designing a website for your business. Your website works like the face of your brand and if it is not impressive, then your brand value drops drastically. Various factors play key roles behind the success of a website and some of them are navigation, SEO, content etc.
Thanks to SEO and PPC, bringing the customers to your site is now easy, but retaining their attention for a long time is highly challenging. If you are designing a website for the first time, then stay away from the web design blunders mentioned below because if you make them, you will simply irritate the customers.
Too much creativity: People expect a certain design standard in a layout and too much creativity can result in confusion. Some ad agencies and graphic design companies create unconventional layouts to impress visitors, but when creative elements perplex the viewers and hinder navigation paths, things can be worse for your business.
Color combination painful to the eyes: It is important to maintain the right color combination for enhanced readability. It is always wise to use black text on white background as it makes text legible.
Not using brand colors: Brand colors can be of two types. First, you can have a patented color for your brand like Coca Cola or secondly, you can use a color that suits your corporate identity. If you don’t have any patented brand color, but want to use color psychology to connect with the clients, then select a color that goes well with your brand. For example, a cosmetics brand for women can use pink color in website design to make the visitors feel comfortable.
Lack of responsiveness: More and more people are using smartphones and tablets these days. Desktop friendly sites can’t be viewed in mobile and tablets properly because text size becomes too small. Creating a separate mobile website is a solution, but it is a costly choice. So, the best thing to do is create a responsive site from the start. This way you will be able to cater all types of web users. Responsive sites are also search engine friendly.
Above the fold area misuse: “Above the fold” area is the one that users see without scrolling the page. This is one of the most important parts of a web page because people try to judge the purpose of a site by checking this area. Hence, don’t waste his place by posting images or animation. Use this place to tell people what you do in short and how you can help them. For example, a web design company can write “we create responsive websites for $500 only. Call us at 1234-5678 to get your customized site”. This way, you can increase conversion rate.
Use of Flash: This is 2015 and the time has finally come to say goodbye to Flash. You can use HTML5 for dynamic features in a website and impress the visitors. Flash is an outdated technology and most importantly, it is not SEO friendly. Google can’t scan Flash content and in this highly competitive market, you don’t want to take any chance.
Links are not highlighted: Many people use internal and external links in web pages to earn the love of Google. There is nothing bad about it, but linking needs to be clear. Mark the links using a different color so that readers can understand that they will land on another page if they click on them.
Too small fonts: This is one of the most common web design mistakes, but it can seriously hurt your business. After all, content is king and if people can’t read what you said about your business, they will never buy anything from you. Font size depends on font style, but to be safe, keep the font size between 12 to 16 points.
Lengthy content: Content writing is the responsibility of the content writer. Then why web designers should bother? Good question! Content writers may write the content of web pages, but web designers organize the text inside the page. Suppose you get 500 words content for a page. Your duty is to break the content in small paragraphs and use bold text to highlight the titles. You can also use a bright color to highlight the most important points and make bullet point lists. Web users don’t have the patience like newspaper readers. They scan pages to acquire information quickly. So, use small paragraphs, bullets, italics and color to help their eyes scan faster.
Inconsistency in layout: The look and feel of all the pages should be same so that visitors feel confident while moving from one page to another. You can always use different text and different images across the pages, but stick to the same font style and same color combination to help people understand that they are browsing a single site. Consistency in design is very important if you are creating an ecommerce website because there can be hundreds of pages and people don’t like to share their banking details in a site that they can’t trust.
Promotion only: You certainly want to promote your business, but an intelligent designer does not create a website that looks like a billboard. Instead of telling people “we do that” and “buy from us”, give them reasons to deal with you. People type keywords in Google when they need something and you have to convince them that you are fulfilling their needs. For example, if someone types for ‘health insurance”, and comes to your landing page, then you can greet him by writing “Are you looking for a health insurance? A policy that covers all your family members too? You have come to the right place!” So, basically you are addressing his problems and telling him that you have a solution. This is intelligent business promotion.
Showing poor social status: You may have seen that big brands display their number of Facebook fans and Twitters followers in the homepage. Should you do the same? Well, unless you have thousands of fans and followers, it is not a very wise idea. Suppose you offer financial consultancy services. If your potential customers visit your site and see that you have 100 fans only, they will simply think your service is not good enough.
Confusing navigation: A website is like a departmental store and you must tell people exactly where they should go to get the things they need. Organize the menu category wise and if there are too many pages in your site, you can create a drop down menu for easier navigation.
Hiding the contact information: Some ecommerce sites try to hide their contact details because they don’t want to deal with aggravated customers. Whether you offer a service or sell products online, contact information must be presented clearly. It is best to give your office phone number and email address on the landing page to earn customers’ trust.
Too much call to action: People have finally come to you website and they want to take an action, not too many actions! So, don’t place numerous “click here” buttons in your website. It can hamper visitors’ concentration and irritate them. Suppose you have developed an educational site and have two purposes- collecting email addresses for newsletters and selling e-books. Therefore, there should be only two calls to action buttons in your site. First one can show “click to subscribe” and second one can show “buy e-books”.
Not optimizing the images: It is important to use web friendly image formats and provide alt tag details to make your website SEO friendly. Google can’t see images and alt tags help it understand the subject of images in a web page.
Slow page loading: Some websites take very long time to load and it is bad for user experience as well as SEO. There can be various reasons for the slow speed of a site. Poor coding, heavy images, too many widgets are some of the common reasons. So, before you launch your site for public, make sure that it is fast.
Force registration: Never compel the visitors to register as soon as they land on the homepage. They will simply avoid your site. Let them see what you are offering and then let them take their own decision. If visitors think that your product or service is really good, they will happily fill up the sign-up form.
Forgetting auto save function: People hate to write the same thing twice in a web form. So, you must enable an auto save function in all the forms. This way, even if the users lose internet connection, they can start from the last thing they entered, not the very first line.
These are some of the most serious mistakes that can hurt user experience and drive customers away. The primary rule of a good web design is that it needs to be user friendly. Use your creative thoughts intelligently and don’t’ try too hard. You will be able to avoid the aforementioned mistakes and create a beautiful, usable site.
If you want to know more about web design, visit BigDropInc.com.
Author bio: Jack Dawson is a web developer and UI/UX specialist at BigDropInc.com. He works at a design, branding and marketing firm, having founded the same firm 9 years ago. He likes to share knowledge and points of view with other developers and consumers on platforms.