Don’t Do It! Web Design No No’s…
1 June 2012 - Digital
Website design requires a great deal of attention to detail and an understanding of a few dos and don’ts. There are many methods that will ensure that a website is well designed and productive, but website designers are still liable to making the odd faux pas, some of these are more common than others. Below I have listed some of the most often made mistakes that can have a huge effect on the quality of a website.
The Long and Winding Road
A very common complaint about website design is the never ending web page. Visitors to a website are averse to scrolling endlessly down a page. That is unless the content is incredibly impressive. In most cases though, it is best practise to provide links to different pages that contain the specific information that a user is looking for rather than leading them down a long and winding road of jumbled content. Most of the time a visitor will land on a site in a search for particular information and if this isn’t found almost instantly then they will move on to another site.
Stop the Pop Up
Many website designers have a habit of opening links in new browser windows. Designers do this to make sure that visitors do not leave the website and will return. This practice is flawed as most internet surfers are well accustomed to using a browser’s ‘back’ button. The practise of pop ups also takes control away from the website visitor by opening up browser windows even when the user does not want it to happen.
With the popularity of Netbooks, tablets and mobile smart phones being so rife, pop ups are even more annoying, as it can be a real hassle to navigate your way through the open browser windows. Automatic pop ups are a bugbear for many internet surfers and it is definitely much better to hand control back to the user and allow them to surf the web the way they want to.
Don’t be so Flashy!
When used in the correct way animation and music can be a valuable asset to a website, but over doing it is a big no no. Internet users nowadays are on a quest for fast information and are not concerned with ‘flashy’ intro’s and distractions. The best practise is to use aesthetically pleasing visuals and minimal animation to get your information across. The use of embedded music is also a bad idea as it can be very unwelcome if activated at the wrong time. Another thing to bear in mind is that not all tablets and smart phones support Flash animations by default, so many visitors will be left with blank screens.
Adverts make Mad Men and Women of us all
If you want to enrage a visitor to your website then simply fill your web pages full of adverts. One of the most annoying aspects of web browsing is being bombarded with an everlasting torrent of adverts when you are searching for information. Avoid inserting distracting advert banners and pop ups on web pages that contain informative content. If adverts are necessary, make sure they are relevant to the subject on that individual page.
A growing trend amongst websites is the requirement to register before being allowed access to the site’s information. Although data capture is an important requirement for many online businesses, it is also important to bear in mind that web users are reluctant to continually fill out forms to gain entry to certain features on that site. By making it compulsory to register on a website you may be losing more visitors than you thought. If possible, allow an unregistered user to see a fair amount of the site’s content and if interested they will happily sign up under their own initiative.
Keep it in Context
The world wide web mantra of ‘content is king’ should not be taken lightly. A website may generate a lot of traffic by employing search engine optimisation tactics, but if the content on the website is not quality driven then visitors will depart as quickly as they arrived. A lot of work can go into keyword research and link building, but if the content on the site is not what a user expects, then the website will quickly become a white elephant.
Try to keep the website as lean and mean as possible. Cut out unnecessary pages. These may lead to navigation difficulties for visitors and deter them from visiting the site again. Define a concise route through the website and stop the user from entering a maze of irrelevant and content light web pages.
If you would like more information and advice on the web design faux pas to dodge, please do not hesitate to contact the digital department at HROC. We would be only too happy to help.