Are you stuck designing bad websites? Read on to make sure you're not making these 8 critical mistakes and costing yourself customers and sales.
Let's be honest: there are some truly bad websites on the Internet. From barely literate copy to freakishly terrible brutalist design to downright confusing layouts, their sins are many.
If you ever needed a reason to hire a web designer, just look at one of these websites.
Of course, not all websites are atrocious on that scale. Some sites are just bad for small reasons. And those reasons are bad enough to drive away valuable customers. Not sure if your site is making the same mistakes? Here are five of the worse web design mistakes to avoid.
1. Too Much/Too Little Going On
A common pair of web design sins fall on either side of the same spectrum: too much or too little going on.
Users don't read your site. They skim your site. In general, they stay on a webpage for 10 to 20 seconds, but they'll stay longer on a site that offers a clear value proposition. If they can't see one, they'll leave within a few seconds.
Unfortunately, this means that inexperienced website owners will try to cram far too much information above the fold, as it were. Not only does this overwhelm a user, but it also makes your page load slower.
Here's the thing: despite the fact that users stay on a page for 10 to 20 seconds, 53% of mobile users will leave a page if it takes longer than three seconds to load. And that's a serious issue considering that most sites load in 10 to 12 seconds.
Knowing this, many site owners fall victim to the other end of the spectrum: too little going on.
It's true that minimalism is a popular trend in web design. And minimalism can work well for you if you use it properly. But there's a difference between minimalism and not enough going on.
You want your design to be tidy, not leave visitors guessing what your site is actually talking about. Without clear direction or useful imagery, your users will be confused and irritated.
2. Poor Use of Content and White Space
Related to your content balance are the balance of content and white space.
Negative space is an age-old concept in art and web design. It's the space between and around objects--space where nothing is going on.
On the flipside is content, which is the bread and butter of your business. It tells your readers what you do and what you offer them. But the way it's laid out on the page and even the font you choose to convey it will have an effect on readers.
Let's say, for example, that you choose to write your entire website text in old-school storybook swirling script instead of, say, Calibri or another sans-serif font. Which one sounds less exhausting for your reader to look at?
You also have to balance your use of content and white space. There's white space everywhere--even between the letters of the words you're reading right now. It's what allows you to make sense of the words.
If you have too little white space, the page is crowded and impossible to read. If you have too much white space, your page will look empty and awkward.
3. It's Not Mobile Friendly
Another common error is also one of the cardinal search engine optimization sins: not making a mobile-friendly website.
In 2018, Google announced the rollout of mobile-first indexing, which gave a priority ranking to sites that offer a mobile version, since there are now more searches on mobile devices than desktop computers.
Think of the last time you visited a site that wasn't mobile-friendly. Think about all the time you had to waste zooming in and out and trying to make the buttons work. Think about the frustration.
Your visitors feel that every time they visit your non-mobile-friendly site. It's little surprise that they aren't willing to waste time visiting your site.
4. Poor Navigation
If mobile issues aren't scaring off your users, navigation issues certainly will.
Think about your navigation menu. Think about how it's laid out and how intuitive it is (assuming that you don't already know the site layout).
Can users find the menu or search bar? Can they reasonably figure out where information is located in that search bar?
Also, think about what information is available on what pages in your site. Does your homepage link to your store? What about your hours? What about your return policy?
If users can't figure it out, don't expect them to puzzle it out. We live in a world where information is available at the touch of a button. Your users are impatient, and if you make it hard for them, they're going to take their hard-earned money elsewhere.
5. Islands of Information
A related sin is islands of information, in which your site has small bits of information scattered throughout with little or no connection between the islands.
If a user finds one of these islands without a link to another area of the site, they reasonably assume that this is all the information your site has to offer on the topic. They're not going to go hunting for any further information. Not only is this a user experience failure, but it's also a customer service failure.
What if a user finds information somewhere else that repeats (or worse, contradicts) information they found earlier?
The best way to resolve this issue is to eliminate the islands by creating logical links between related information.
Avoid Designing Bad Websites
Keep in mind that this list is by no means comprehensive. If anything, it's only scratching the surface of bad web design.
So, how do you avoid designing bad websites? A good place to start is hiring a professional.
That's where we come in. We're a team of professional web designers and marketers that have been building and marketing websites since the 90s.
Want to find out how we can help your website thrive?
Get in touch to start the conversation.