No web site is perfect – even the most experienced of web designers amongst us have to learn about new mistakes the hard way as new scripts are trialled and different design tools fall in and out of popularity. However, there are some basic web design errors that greatly affect the usability and overall success of your website, and which are very easy to avoid. Here are the seven deadly sins of web design which no one, expert or amateur, should be committing…
1. Illegible Type
As a web designer, it is your job to make it as easy as possible for your client to get their message across. They might have written the most amazing piece of copy but if their website visitors can’t read it, it’s worthless. Choose the right font, make it large enough to read and check that it stands out against the background – nothing gives visitors more of a headache than deciphering dark red words against black. And never make the copy too small (see image below)!
2. Overuse of Flash
Flash allows you to add some great features to your website, but add too many and the load time will be so long that only the most loyal of customers will bother waiting until the end.
3. Auto Playing Music
Have you ever clicked on a website only to hear an unwanted piece of music start to play? Or worse, start to mix in with the music you were already listening to? This is one of the top pet peeves of Internet users so avoid it at all costs.
4. Welcome Intros
You might think your fancy intro page or video looks great. Website users, on the other hand, will see it as a barrier between them and the ‘proper’ website. If you must have an intro, give the user a clear option to skip it – return visitors especially will be grateful for this!
5. No Contact Details
By making it difficult, or impossible, for users to find contact details you are giving off an unprofessional image and lowering trust. Display a link to the Contact Us page clearly, such as in the footer.
6. Browser Incompatibility
IE used to be the browser of choice but nowadays Firefox, Chrome, Safari and other browsers will likely account for a significant proportion of your daily visitors. It is a common mistake to perfect the website’s design in your usual browser and forget to check that it appears the same in others, too.
7. Pop Ups
Never. Ever. Use pop ups. Even a friendly message inviting users to subscribe to your newsletter will look spammy in pop-up format. Instead, ensure that users can find whatever they are looking for quickly and easily through a clear, Flash-free navigation system.