Programmers discuss: common web design mistakes (part 1)

Jun 23, 2020

Design mistakesToday our programmers are discussing common web design mistakes.  We all know that consumers spend only a few seconds on any one website.  Therefore, they must find information quickly and efficiently. Our goal is to design a website that loads quickly and has the right information available quickly.  This will help the visitors become buyers.  This is what we refer to as a “conversion rates.
Conversion rate refers to the percentage of visitors to your site which goes on to purchase or request services.  Not all visitors to your site make a purchase or request your help.

Developing a great user experience:

A disorganized landing page is among the top web design mistakes today.  No one wants to take the time to figure out how your website landing page works.  Stay away from overstuffed content and large menus.  This can also affect your search engine optimization negatively. Further, they do not solve the user’s needs.  Every element on the landing page should be thought out carefully to develop great user experiences.

Menus should be clear & prominent:

Another common web design mistake is to have a confusing menu (navigation system).  It should be easy to spot it from anywhere on the page and it should be easy to understand.  Most SEO professionals suggest that the main (top) menu items should be limited to between five to seven maximum.  Other pages can be added from a drop-down menu.
We suggest that you consider a navigation system that we call a “sticky menu.”  This allows the user to be able to change to other pages quickly from anywhere on-page.  The menu actually follows the visitors as they read content from the top to the bottom of any page of the site.  Using this type of menu will improve your user experience and encourage visitors to return to your site to learn more about your brand.

Confused visitor on websiteLanding page messaging:  Less is more

Please keep in mind that visitors to your site are only there for a few seconds.  Your home page content must be clear and concise.  We suggest one paragraph of well-formed content featuring the best of what you have to offer.
Use bullets to list the services available to those you are targeting  Google is suggesting to keep the landing page content to a 300-word maximum.
Other content-rich pages can have more content but remember that less is more.  If you share too much information your visitor will have no reason to contact you and you cannot overcome any objections which might arise (that you don’t know about).

Don’t rely on home page sliders:

In the past, many clients have requested home page sliders with different messages sliding across the screen.  This is not the best way to display your services or to introduce the company brand.  Today most designers will urge you to stay away from these sliders (or carousels) as some of them are called.
Although many clients may feel these sliders are interesting and flashy, keep in mind that many visitors have slow loading computers.  Additionally, most of us are too busy today to wait for changing images or messaging.  We suggest you choose one great image which best shows off your brand.  Keep the paragraph of content and bullets upfront to quickly convey what you offer.

Designing for optimization and for readability:

Today we must design for page optimization and for visitor readability.  Not following good practices for SEO is another common web design mistake.  At the top of the list is to avoid adding too much verbiage (content stuffing).   Stop any confusion by the visitor by limiting the number of buttons (call to action verbs) you add to the landing page.
Adding too many calls to action buttons is like pressuring your visitor to make an action such as “buy now.”  A call to action verb should be helpful and strategically placed but not overdone.  Too many of these will cause the visitor to leave the page without clicking on the button.  It begins to feel pushy so beware of this common web design mistake.

Scrolling and layout areas:

In this mobile era, the visitor will scroll automatically so with the many devices being used, it is not so important now as in the past to create “folds” in the layout areas.  No need for this unrealistic boundary any longer. The home page works best when visitors have a defined path to follow.  They will be able to get information quickly and efficiently.

Using whitespace successfully:

You will probably notice that whitespace now is much more visible than in the past.  This extra room will allow your visitor to read your message easier and put an emphasis on key transitions within the content layers.  While we discuss whitespace, we will also mention the importance of choosing colors that will help the colorblind individual to distinguish information easily.
Please avoid putting text on bright colors such as black, yellow, red, etc.  Text is easier to read on a white background for all groups.  Your design decisions should always comply with accessibility for challenged individuals.

Conclusion:  Common web design mistakes:

As programmers and designers, we stay current and add only up to date modern elements to today’s web design projects.  What works today for building websites may not be the best solution next year.  As technology becomes more in tune with the internet audience, what worked last year may not work now.
Since our clients re-design their sites only once every few years, it is important to get it right.  Technology changes and to continue to offer great user experiences we must change and grow as well.  Thanks for stopping by today.  Stay tuned as we discuss all things design and programming.
Visit our portfolio page to see our most recent completed projects.  Have a safe and happy summer season.
Follow social distancing guidelines and we will all get through this challenge with COVID-19 together.
Jean Holland-Rose
Chief Creative Officer & SEO Professional


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