Every web designer starts off with good intentions; they are prepared to do the best website that they can with the resources available to them. So how come we have so many bad websites all over the internet? You have seen them; they are too colorful, they take a long time to load, they have broken links, they are just plain unsightly – the list is endless.
In web design, you have to know what you should look out for so that each time, you can create a website that helps you bring in business rather than push it away. We have compiled here a list of common mistakes that can be easily avoided.
1. Slow loading pages
We have all been there – websites that take so long to load you simply give up. That is a no-no in web design. Consider this: the average internet user cannot wait for more than a few seconds for a site to load. They try it, it fails to load, and because they have the option of visiting your competition whose site loads faster, they simply go there. You may have lost a sale right there!
What causes slow loading sites? Too many graphics, or overly large graphic files. There are techniques that you can use to compress graphics so if you really have to use them, find out how to do it without slowing down your site.
2. Wrong font sizes
True, using a small size font will help you include lots of information, but consider how painful it is to read especially for someone who is using a high resolution monitor. It is excruciating and a user will do anything to escape it. The same goes for text that is too large, especially if viewed on a low resolution monitor. It looks juvenile and it’s hard to take seriously.
When you are creating a website, look at top websites to see the kind of text sizes in use. In addition to that, create several pages with different sizes of text and then ask a few people to look at each of them and tell you the size they are most comfortable with.
3. Wrong color combinations
Color is a big part of any website’s aesthetics; it can be soothing enough to make people stay or it can be so loud that it turns people off. The most common problem is not color though – it is wrong color combination. Color strains the eyes. A user may not even be conscious of why they were uncomfortable and left, but it because the colors on the website repulsed them at a subconscious level.
Use colors that match and keep it simple. Be careful about colored text – it is really off-putting to read text that is green, blue yellow, red or whatever other color. You want black text on a white background – nice and easy on the eyes.
If you are not sure what colors combine best, look online. There are websites that provide color pallets and that allow you to combine different colors to see what they look like. If you are still unsure, combine a few colors on different web pages and ask a few people to give you feedback as to the best one. Remember, pastels are usually easy on the eye and easy to match as well.
4. Links that open on the same page
You’ve had the experience; you are reading something, you come across a link that looks interesting, you click on it and instead of opening in a new window or a new tab, it opens right on the same window you were reading and you have lost whatever it is you were reading in the first place. It is a common mistake in web design and it is irritating. Give the user a chance to go back to the information that provided the link with ease by creating each link to open in a new page. This gives them a sense or organization and control.
5. Pop-up windows
How do you feel when you open a website and there are windows popping all over? It’s irritating, right? Remember that the next time you do web design. Users get distracted and cannot focus on what brought them to your site in the first place – they were looking for information. Imagine what it does to them when they are constantly interrupted.
Another thing that pop-ups do to a website is make them look cheap and spammy, not to mention that they actually hurt your SEO efforts. It creates an almost sense of desperation. You don’t want visitors to think that you are desperate – no one wants to do business with someone they think is desperate.
Although not a very common web design mistake, there are designers who will put music that plays as the site loads. This is terrible. For one thing, how can you know the kind of music that people want to listen to? For another, it slows down loading time, another mistake we saw that sends visitors away. Unless you use music in an audio that you place on the site, and the music is relevant to what you are selling, then it has no place on any website. You should also give visitors the option of turning off anything that they don’t want to listen to.
7. Broken links
They are everywhere; a lot of websites have at the very least one or two broken links. It is not uncommon for a link that was working today to nit work tomorrow – it happens. But best webs design practice dictates that you check your links often to make sure that they are working. If you have placed your links on any other pages online, check to see that they lead back to your site.
8. Images that are not the right fit
This is not very common but you will come across the occasional website that has images that are not fitted to the page and the text – they are usually too small. This happens when you use images that are provided on Google Images. If you buy them, from Big Stock or other image websites, they are set to automatically resize once they are placed on the site, so be prepared to spend a little money to get the right images.
9. An overcrowded home page
This happens as more and more content is put on a website over time. The home page ends up with so much information that a user cannot easily find what they are looking for. The best way to have this information included is to place it on different links that can be reached through the home page. If you do your menus nicely, a user only has to look and they can see at once the menu that has the link that they are looking for. Let your home page have basic information, and a paragraph telling users a bit about the menus.
You can see that these common web design mistakes can be avoided with little effort. All it takes is to focus on making sure that users have a great experience when they land on your website – good enough to make them want to stay and maybe even buy from you.