8 Disastrous Website Design Mistakes

Posted by James Trumbly on July 22nd, 2013 at 11:00 am

Web design isn’t an exact science. There are broad principles to follow, but at the end of the day, you have to figure out what works for you and your audience. However, you should always remember that your customers have itchy back-button fingers, and some web design mistakes will make them bounce every time. Here’s a list of our top eight design mistakes:

  • Making Content Look Like Advertising
    Web users these days have developed “banner blindness.” Anything that looks like a banner ad or block ad will be ignored. Avoid the common web design mistake of putting essential information in a format that looks like advertising.
  • Using Non-Intuitive Navigation
    If you have to explain how to navigate your site, you’ve done it wrong. Navigation should make sense to someone who has never seen your site before. Group similar links under headings and make it easy for visitors to find their way back to a previous page and to the home page.
  • Automatic-Play Flash Videos
    No one wants to be held hostage while you play a 20-second introductory video before loading site content. Video is great, but make it optional by providing a play button for the user to click when he or she is ready.
  • Not Listing Product Pricing
    What’s the point of having an ecommerce website if you make the visitor call, register, or start to checkout before he sees actual prices? This includes shipping rates as well. Provide estimates before checkout to reduce sticker shock during the sale.
  • Unclear Call to Action
    Can visitors immediately see how to take action on your site? Your call to action should use descriptive, action-oriented language that clearly communicates what you want the visitor to do.
  • Long Blocks of Text
    Our attention span is short and even shorter online. No one has time to read through a long page of tiny text. Break copy up into smaller chunks using subheadings and bullets, and make the font bigger so content appears less intimidating.
  • No Search or Bad Search
    Placing the search box in a difficult-to-find place (like halfway down the sidebar), not being able to handle misspellings, and not including search capabilities at all are common web design mistakes. Bad search can leave users frustrated and ready to bail.
  • Links that Don’t Look Like Links
    Use color to designate clickable text, and change the color for links that have already been clicked. Don’t be too creative with this. Underlines, italics, bolding, and unusual colors may look cool, but users may not pick up on the fact that they can be clicked.

Do you happen to be guilty of any of these disastrous web design mistakes?

3 Responses to “8 Disastrous Website Design Mistakes”

  1. Long form content still has value, but you can't dump text on your audience and expect them to swallow it whole. Visitors may have a short attention span upfront but you can pull them in and get them more interested. But too much static text can be a turnoff.

  2. Chris Finnie says:

    Thank you for the auto-play point. Has to be my least-favorite online practice--especially when there's no way to stop it. Second to that is content that automatically runs after the video you clicked on ends. If I want to see it, I'll play it. But I've been known to quit my browser if it's the only way I can end a video I didn't choose to watch.

  3. Well said Mr. James Trumbly, the mistakes you have pointed out seriously is an Draw back while creating or designing a website.. the learners must notice these. good post!

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