There are over 1 billion websites out there today. Visual representations of this are astonishing.
But this also means that there are millions of websites that suck. Really. And it also means there are millions of websites that are awesome.
Which category has more? I have no clue. But your website shouldn’t be in the former category.
That’s why I’m here. To inform you on how to avoid the most common web design mistakes.
1. Your Users Need Glasses to Use Your Site
This is a central element in web design. Readability is key.
But if a person with 40/40 vision needs glasses to read your content, they’ll go somewhere else.
There are tons of fonts out there. So which one do you choose?
First, don’t use Comic Sans. For the love of anything pure, do not do it!
And there are some pretty awesome looking fonts that would make for horrible web copy. Don’t be tempted by flowery fonts or bad ass fonts no matter if you are a heavy metal band or an actual flower company.
If you choose the right fonts, your website will magically look a whole lot better. And the font you choose will have a psychological impact on your brand. So be careful.
If you want to seem respectable, use Serif fonts. They’re clean and easy to read. If you want to seem like a stable company, use Sans Serif fonts, they’re clean and modern and bold.
If you want elegance, use script fonts like Bickman Script. If you want to convey friendliness, use Cooper.
Minimal research is needed to find clean and excellent fonts. So, there’ no excuse for illegible type fonts on your website.
2. Your Users Get Lost As Soon As They Arrive
Navigation should be the first thing you think about when designing your website. Flow charts are excellent for this.
Start with your home page and work your way outward. Every link should go somewhere meaningful on your site. And there should be zero dead ends.
Intuition is a great thing. It helps us navigate life without having to think too hard.
But when something defies our intuition, we get frustrated. This is where intuitive web design comes in.
There are certain givens in web design right now. When you design a page, you need to balance the left-right assumptions of your users.
Where do you immediately look for a menu on a web page? The left and right corners, right?
This is intuitive to most people. Don’t put the navigation bar where people will never find it.
Other Navigation Mistakes
There are some other mistakes you could make with website navigation.
Chiefly, drop-down menus. Drop-down menus are the worst. Look at the top of this page. Do you see Shoemoney using drop-down menus? Heck no! Shoemoney is a wise man. Be like Shoemoney.
But why shouldn’t you use drop-down menus? They cover up your content. And they are buggy as all get out.
Ever tried to use a drop down menu on a mobile device? Usually doesn’t work, right? Drop-down menus were designed for mice, and most people don’t use mice anymore.
If your navigation menu is exploding off the page, you need to clean it up. You can do this by distilling down your menu options into categories. This will clean up your page and allow people to find what they want faster.
3. You Chase Away the People Who Suffer From OCD
And a lot of other people who just can’t stand messy web design in general.
Structure is important. Unorganized content is another way to completely lose your users.
Your users need to be able to scan through your site and find the information they need quickly. If they can’t do that, they’ll go somewhere else.
You need to divide your content up with a heading, sub-heading, keywords, bullets, and other nice typographical things. And when organizing your content on a page, make sure it fits some sort of logical order.
Each page on your site needs a name and a way back to the home page. This is part of both navigation and organization. They need to know where they are at on your site at all times.
Also, your content needs to remain up to date. If you have out of date content on your site, your users will go to a site with up to date content.
And lastly, make sure you have a cohesive theme. Even if it’s a massively broad theme like SEO or Marketing, be sure you don’t put anything on your site that falls outside of those two categories.
4. Your Website Doesn’t Have a Search Widget
If you wandered on to the Shoemoney site by accident, you could find out whether there are articles here about YouTube video marketing pretty fast. There’s a search widget in the upper right-hand corner.
But if that widget weren’t there, you would have to scroll and click through the blog until you found what you were looking for. That’s a massive waste of time.
Don’t waste users’ time. They won’t appreciate it. And they won’t be your users for much longer.
If you don’t know where to find a search widget for your website, Google has your back. They provide a custom search option for websites. This allows users to both search your website and search the internet straight from your page.
Then they won’t even have to navigate away from your site just to find content on your site. It’s a win-win for both of you!
5. You Hurt Your Users’ Eyes With Bad Animations
I’m very happy I see less and less of dancing stick figures and winking Obama pictures these days. But I get super twitchy when web designers choose to add horrid animations to their websites.
First, complicated animations take up bandwidth and slow down your website. So avoid transitions where possible.
Second, there are a lot of tacky animations out there. So, find a professional animation site to buy from. Don’t rely on Microsoft PowerPoint type clip-art animations.
Great Web Design Means Money
Do you want to keep people coming back to your website? Get your site in order. You’ll make a lot more money with a well-designed web site than a crummy page layout.
Do you have any web design horror stories you’d like to share? Tell me about it in the comments below!