7 Web Design Flops to Avoid
We hate you break it to you, but there’s no perfect website out there – mainly because technology, design and user experience evolve on a day-to-day basis. What is trending in user experience this month, may be passè 2 months from now. Innovation in web design and usability may be considered old-school before we can finish saying the infamous w-w-w-dot.
We understand that not every business is fortunate enough to have an expert crew of web designers and developers ready to pounce on every possible improvement. So, we’ve compiled our collection of the 7 deadliest web sins to avoid, in order to help your online visitors keep happily browsing around versus clicking out to your competitors’ sites.
1. Staying Static
Your website is never done. Keep finding ways to change your website while adding value for your target audience. Try to find ways to engage your customers and prospects. Continuously add new content to keep your website fresh. This will not only help keep customers interested and engaged, but it may also help your website’s search engine presence.
2. Bad Navigation
Your audience will disappear if they cannot easily navigate the website. People need to be able to find what they are looking for in an efficient and engaging way. Many sites are poorly designed and require people to click through a number of different pages before they get to see any products. The 3-Click Rule states that users should be able to access any part of your site in less than 3 clicks. Make sure your website homepage contains teasers of your most valuable information, acting as a hub to all of your important content.
Bonus: You should do everything you can to get your products in front of your potential buyers as quickly as possible. In addition to determining how quickly you get your visitors to your products, check how many times they have to click to get the information they need. Your site should make it easy for the customer to locate and buy the product. Don’t risk losing them by making the process overly complex.
3. Slow Loading
Despite the fact that more people have faster web connections than ever, the problem of slow websites hasn’t gone away. Many sites are so slow that people who aren’t highly motivated to see your site will give up and go elsewhere. Almost half of internet users expect a website to load within 2 seconds, and half exit the page if it takes more than 3 seconds. If you have stuffed your page with graphics, flash images, and tech-heavy extras, you are likely to lose viewers. This is especially true for mobile internet users. They are signing on and off the internet constantly, just looking for a quick answer or solution. If they find your site and it takes forever to load, you can expect them to hit the back button and scroll down to the next site.
Bonus: Don’t test your website in only one browser. Never create a website that can only be viewed in one specific browser. Different browsers will display your website in different ways. The formatting between, for example, Internet Explorer and Firefox can be slightly different when using certain techniques. A website that works in one browser does not always look its best in another. It is a difficult and frustrating process, but you have to check your site in different browsers, different operating systems and different screen sizes.
4. Too Much Information
Your website can’t be all things to all people. Be selective about the content you decide to put on your site and organize it in a clean and logical manner. Don’t make the mistake of putting too much information on your homepage. Most people are on the road and want to locate information as fast as possible on their mobile devices. If you load your website with endless text, users are never going to take the time to read it all. Also, clumping all your information into paragraphs will likely deter a reader, as users on a mission are typically going to skim through your site to see if there is anything of relevance to their search.
5. The Registration Requirement
Forced registration or forcing the user to give personal information may ultimately cause the visitor to go elsewhere for what they’re looking for. Many people are cautious when it comes to providing personal information over the Internet. If you collect information from visitors, only ask for what you actually need, and don’t collect it just for the sake of it. If you think it’s a valid requirement, make sure you explain why. Having to setup an account before checking out is a pet peeve to many. Do your best to allow customers to get the information they need from your website, and hopefully convert that to a sale, on their terms.
6. Too Many Pop-ups or Ads
Pop ups are annoying, but if you must use them (for example: to get people to sign up to a newsletter) make sure to use them sparingly and always make it easy for users to see how to close them. Perhaps the most annoying thing to any Internet user is having to wage a war against pop-ups. Not only are they distracting, but all it will take is one pop-up to turn a reader off to your site. And also realize that the user may have pop-ups blocked or have ad block so your pop-ups/ads may not be viewed anyway.
7. Branding Violations/Inconsistent Design
Simplicity is key. You want anyone to be able to click onto your site and know where they are and what they’re doing within a few seconds, so you’ll need to remember the importance of proper layout, white space and easy-to-read text while keeping the use of images and fonts to a carefully-considered minimum. Don’t use 20 different content formats all over your website. Use the same fonts, text sizes, text colors, etc. Again, you want to have a good balance of white space on your pages in conjunction with a good balance of imagery so that readers don’t feel overwhelmed by too much text.
Conclusion: If you can apply at least 3 of these concepts to your website, you’re already on the path to a better user experience. Like we stated, your website is never done. So, as long as you’re in business, your website will evolve with you. We hope it ages like fine wine or cheese – and just gets better with time.
By Modern Postcard
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