For a web site to become successful, people must first visit these websites. Without visitors frequenting a website, its main objective will never be fulfilled.
Proper website design plays an important factor in the success of every website. It is not always about just its visual appeal or content. It must have a balance of both. A website cannot be overly reliant on animations and forget proper and meaningful content. It also cannot forget visual appeal and focus more on content that would overwhelm or bore the readers. Here is a compilation of the top ten mistakes in website design that you should avoid.
1. Text Legibility
A very legible website content
If the site has a considerable amount of text, legibility is a very important thing. Users reading a web page will find it annoying or difficult if your font and font size are hardly readable. Elderly people may have a hard time reading small fonts and may opt instead to just skip your website. Font sizes that are too large may also insult your readers. To resolve this problem, it is best to let your visitors manage the font size. Give them the power to make it smaller or larger. As a general rule, your text in your website should use sans serif fonts, which are generally more legible and easy to read than serif fonts.
Navigating through the links
Hyperlinks are shortcuts to a different page on your website or to a different website altogether. There are many mistakes that are often done with these hyperlinks. First, these shortcuts must be differentiated from other text in your website. Normally, hyperlinks are underlined text, so do not underline the rest of your text because it may be confused for a hyperlink. The proper color of these hyperlinks should also be set. It must be of a different color from the ordinary text, and visited or clicked links should be different from unvisited ones. For example, if your ordinary text is colored black, you can make unvisited hyperlinks blue and visited ones red.
3. Improper Use of Flash
Adobe Flash logo
Flash is a versatile tool in web development, but is often improperly used. Gone are the days when flash intro screens and animated designs were trendy. Today, you can barely see websites that have them incorporated because they often serve no essential purpose. The proper use of flash should be no more than eye candy, because it may distract or annoy your visitors. The true power of flash should be used to enhance a website, adding more usability to a page that would otherwise be a big bore if mere static text and images were to be utilized.
4. Improper Text and Content Formatting
Typing the website content
The content of your website should be optimized for web reading. It should not be long, boring blocks of text that would surely confuse or bore your readers. Web content should be short, concise, and straight to the point. If writing long text is really necessary, make sure to break the blocks of text using images, headings and sub-headings, and with the use of numbered or bulleted lists. As much as possible, the content should answer the question of the reader right away. Otherwise, they might end up looking for the answer somewhere else. The best format to write for the web is using the inverted pyramid style, where all the important details are found in the first few lines or paragraphs of the text.
5. Website Not SEO-ed
Google, one of the biggest search engines in the web
The Internet is a jungle. The first thing people do when looking for specific information is run to search engines. If your website is not listed in the first few pages of a search results list, chances are, you will have few visitors. SEO or Search Engine Optimization is a process of making a website rank higher in the results page according its content. If your website is selling cars and it is properly optimized for search engines, when a user types in “buy cars” or “cars for sale” your website should be one of the first entries in the results page. Do some research to determine how you could optimize your website for search engines to draw in more visitors. (Tips on how to optimize a website for search engines
6. Internet Browser Incompatibilities
Different types of Internet browsers
Not all of your visitors will be using a certain type of Internet browser, say, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. You should always make sure that your website will display properly in all browsers because you may be turning away potential readers or customers when your website does not display well in the browser that they use. A lot of people today use browsers like Firefox, Opera, Safari, and other minor browsers. To make sure, you should test your site to see if it works well in all browser types.
7. No Contact Information or Means of Feedback
One means of communication is through E-mail
Every website should have at least a page designated to contain basic contact information like an email address and the name of the company or individual that made the website. How else would you know if your readers like or don’t like the content of your website? Through this contact information, you can obtain important feedback – if your visitors like your website or not, or if they want to comment or suggest things to improve your website or service. The more detailed and complete contact information you include, the more trustworthy your site will appear.
8. Unconventional Website Layout
Yahoo website layout
There is no problem with experimenting with a new website layout, as long as it remains within the boundaries of conventional website design. In other words, your site must be easy to navigate and use. When users visit your website, they have expectations that you definitely have to meet. Making your website layout intuitive and easy to navigate will greatly help meet those expectations. For example, web users are used to seeing website navigation at either the side or the top part of the page. If you put your navigation in the middle or at the bottom, this would be annoying or very confusing. If you are not ready to gamble with new page layouts, stick to the traditional styles.
9. Pop-ups and Other Annoyances
Popups appearing on a website
People who visit websites find it rude or annoying when pop-up windows appear either automatically or when they click a hyperlink. Having advertisements that block or hinder their view of the website may also generate the same reaction. Users want full control over their web surfing experience. If they want a link to appear in a separate tab or window, they can easily do so. You do not have to dictate what your user wants to experience or do. Aside from that, the majority of people would not want a cluttered desktop filled with browser windows and pop-ups.
(If you’re a casual surfer who would like nothing more than to get rid of these annoyances then learn How To Get Rid Of Pop Ups.)
10. Fixed Screen Resolutions
Looking closely at the small screen resolution
Big monitors or computer displays are now becoming very common, so you must make sure that your website’s layout is not fixed for a certain resolution. Designing your website to work only on an 800 x 600 or a 1024 x 768 resolution may produce distorted pages or a horizontal scrolling page when viewed in larger or smaller screen resolutions. You must design your website to automatically adjust to the user’s screen resolution without messing up your website’s design. The entire page must fit horizontally without having to side-scroll to read the contents. If you’ll be using several page elements in your website, it would be better if you use CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) to format your page layout. With this, keeping your page in order even in different screen resolutions will be possible.
To entice people to visit your website, the best thing to do is to avoid these mistakes in your web design. Also, be open to changes, especially when your visitors are the ones requesting them. Never be close-minded on what your design should or should not be, since it is not you who will be reading or using the site anyway.
Now that you’ve seen the basic no-nos of creating websites, you should look at examples of the best and most creative ones by visiting the Top Ten Weirdest Websites and Useful Websites for Information and Entertainment.
* Web designing is a meticulous task designed only for those who have the patience and diligence to experiment and perfect concepts in mind. Though you are bound to make a mistake, you can only master creating a website by trial and error.