Web design is a tricky business. There are so many designers out there with their own styles and their own tastes – not to mention a huge number of websites with frankly awful design that it can be difficult for a fledgling designer or a new website to know which direction to take. Read on to find out the 5 web design mistakes you have to avoid, whether you’re building an e-commerce store or a blog.
1. Huge, Pointless Pop-Ups or Modal Windows
We’ve all been there. You click on a link to what looks like an awesome website or a really interesting news story, only to be greeted with a whopping pop-up or modal window that begs you to sign up to a newsletter or �Like us on Facebook!� before you’ve even set eyes on their content. Use modal windows, but use them properly and in the right places – not so that they are the very first thing that your visitor sees.
2. Lots and Lots of Text
We get it – you want to tell everyone about you, your company and what you have to offer. But confronting visitors with a massive block of text is just that – confrontational. Because a massive block of text seems too difficult to digest, many users will simply click off the page. Either break it down into small sections, put some of the text elsewhere or just choose a powerful sentence or two that sums you up. Remember that an image can often work just as well as text, so try searching for an appropriate image that you can use as the background of the home page, overlaid with a few pieces of text or a few sentences. The rest of the detail, like who you are and what you do can go to the about us page instead.
3. Cramped Text
Lots and lots of text is bad enough, but when the text that’s on the page is cramped in with images and videos and there isn’t enough space for the eye to move around and actually make sense of what’s on the page, it’s even worse. It can be tempting as a designer to say, �Ooh – a bit of space! What can I put there? Is there anything interesting or of value to my readers that I can fit into that spot?� As good as your intentions may be, cramming the space with too much stuff is never a good thing. It confuses the eye and makes for an uncomfortable experience. Remember – a little bit of white space never hurt anyone.
4. Going Overboard
So you’re excited about your new website and are thinking about all of the design possibilities. Although you are options really are limitless in the majority of cases, still, it’s better to go with something a little bit simpler. Your visitors don’t want to have to learn how to use your site before they can navigate it. Make sure that usability is always at the heart of the design and that it also works well on mobile devices without losing the overall feel of the desktop site.
5. Complicated Navigation
For the vast majority of sites, a navigation bar at the top of the screen or at the side will be plenty. You don’t need to make the navigation complicated or confusing – strip it back so that it’s as simple as can be. Make sure that when users click from one page to another that it’s a seamless process and that everything still looks right. Think about what you really need to include. For example, do you need an about us and a history page? Or would the about us page suffice? Get rid of pages that are unnecessary and edit content so that it all lives happily together on fewer pages.