Home Page Link
Visitors always want to know that wherever they end up in a site, they can always ‘return to base’. The way to incorporate this into your website is by making sure your logo is a hyperlink back to your homepage. Make sure the logo is in the same place on every page. This is usually in the top left corner as studies show this is the first place visitors look on a website. They are immediately greeted by your logo. A site without a home page link is likely to frustrate visitors wanting to ‘return home’ to explore another avenue of the site, leading them to exit and cut the journey short.
Failing To Test
‘Fail to prepare, prepare to fail!’ Testing is a key part of any website. A huge mistake web designers make is they forget to look at their website in different browsers and devices. Just because your site is perfect in Google Chrome, doesn’t mean Safari will render it in the same way. Make sure you have at least checked your site in Google Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. The internet is widely used on mobile, tablets and e-readers as well as desktop computers so you need to ensure your brand new shiny website designed on desktop looks just as good on all other devices. There is nothing worse than loading up an unresponsive, clumsy and unorganised website on mobile. You see this often in old sites that need updating.
Pop-ups can alienate a visitor from the word go and put them in an immediate bad mood. It’s like someone standing in front of you while you’re watching television. Visitors are often looking for something and a pop-up is delaying them from finding it. Having a pop-up that displays as the visitor first enters a site is a sure way to lose their interest, often causing them to leave the site at the next opportunity. Pop-ups can be effective if used properly. ‘Exit-intent’ is the name given to the recognition of when a user will leave a site. If the user hovers away from the site, a pop-up can be displayed as a leaving note.
They can also be used to show a small email subscription field for users to keep updated with latest information (see image). This has proven to be effective to the visitors who are generally interested in what the site has to offer. It is a great way to build up interest in your newsletters etc. View valourconsultancy.com for a live example.
Not Optimising Images
Have you ever entered a website, then waited maybe 6 seconds or more for a huge, homepage image to load before you can begin browsing the site? You are making browsers do a lot of hard work if you don’t compress the images first. A site full of unoptimised images is a huge sin in web design. Make life easier for browsers to download your site by making the file size of images smaller without compromising the quality. Using a simple PNG or JPEG image compressor you can shave seconds off your loading time. Look at the percentage of file size reduction of these PNG images compressed using compresspng.com.
This is a simple drag and drop tool that couldn’t be easier to use. You will also find one for JPEGS here compressjpeg.com. Decreasing the load time of your site by compressing the images will also increase the chances of your site being found in search engines.
Poor Readability And Colour Contrast
Web Designers can often get wrapped up so much in their own creative mind that they forget the simple rule about whitespace. Content that is cluttered together in an unorganised way can lead to poor readability. The site’s contents need space to breathe to be noticed properly.
This site is a great example of many errors. Poor readability being one of them. There is no whitespace between design items meaning the page has no main focus. The text isn’t impossible to read but i have no idea where I am supposed to begin reading. Also make sure to stay away from bizarre font styles and keep sizing consistent.
Here we have a great example of the importance of colour contrast. I often see sites around that have minimal contrast in colour between the text and background. It doesn’t matter if the text is an instructional guide on how to produce gold from nothing, i doubt people are going to hang around to read on.
Logical Placing Of Content
It can be very frustrating when browsing a site, knowing you are seconds away from finding the information you are looking for but you still cannot set your eyes on it due to the bad placing of content. Make sure content is placed logically on your site using titles and sub-headings so that users don’t have to spend time trying to locate information. It sounds really obvious but if you have a page called ‘Prices & Services’, make sure you state all the prices and services there and not half of them there and the other half on the ‘About Us’ page. Visitors of websites generally expect to see the logo in the top left corner, a horizontal navigation bar towards the top and contact information in the footer. If you stick to these general placement rules you will satisfy the visitor and make them feel comfortable on the site.
This was popular during the ‘Myspace’ era of social networking and has made it’s way into some websites on the internet today. Automatically playing background music is often felt as intrusive and can lead to the visitor looking for an off button. Unless there is a real need for this, this should be avoided at all times.
These simple but hugely damaging web design errors are still found on websites today. Most of them can be found on old sites that are due an upgrade. But no new website should be made with any of these errors evident. Keep it simple and don’t get too carried away with your own creative ideas that you forget the simple aspects.