Working in the web design industry, there are a number of things we consistently come across – be that via client ideas, existing sites or our own research into digital trends – that highlight recurring misconceptions in the field. To help you avoid that, we’ve put together a list of five common web design mistakes and how you can avoid them.
1. Your Site Is For Your User, Not You
This is an issue that is widespread and surprisingly so. When you first look into kicking off a new website, you shouldn’t be thinking about what you like looking at or information you think would be cool to have on the World Wide Web. You should be thinking of what your clients and leads want to know, want to see and are most likely to use as instigation to either refer you or contact you.
Why would website owners care more about their own thoughts on a website, when the whole point of a digital presence is to improve engagement with your target audience? On top of this, Google’s algorithms for ranking search results pages have become extremely good at rewarding sites that users enjoy.
2. Less Is Not Always More
There is a leading thought in design, it seems, that pushes the adage ‘less is more’ almost at the expense of objective thought. The idea of ‘less’ in design has for a while now dominated leading design agencies and how they form brands – and in many cases, rightly so.
However, there is an issue arising where this philosophy is being implemented despite the need for more information, clearer navigation, and better use of the marketing powerhouse that is Content. Less is often more, certainly, but keep in mind that it is not always so.
3. Navigation Is Critical
Leading on from this, we come to navigation. Again with this idea of ‘less’ and ‘simplicity’ as the forefront, navigation is at times assumed to be best when obscure or hard to find – as if intuitive meant confusing in a weird bending of semantics.
Please, for the sake of your user, keep the user themselves in mind when it comes to designing your navigation. If they have to think about how to get the information they want, they’ll go somewhere else.
4. Repetition Must Be Subtle
We often see in political speeches the repetition of a key line – ‘Moving forward’, ‘Strong economic growth’ and ‘Security is key’ are a few favourites – and the pushing of a solid brand idea is definitely important. But if you throw in the face of your audience a demanding tag line over and over again, chances are they’ll feel patronized or just scared off.
There are many ways to push home a thought, and the use of clever design and subtle manipulation of emotions is far more effective than flashing words on a page.
5. Registration Forms Should Be Easy
Finally, one of the worst things you can do in an attempt to engage with a new lead is to make filling out your newsletter sign-up/contact form complicated. This should be the easiest thing for your audience – joining your community. Think about the best, most fluid form you’ve ever filled out, and make your website’s form better.