November 26, 2020

Egregious Web Design Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Maryna Samsyka

Simple Pages

If looks could kill, we’d certainly have many casualties from bad website design, in part because a poorly made site not only puts the customers off, it also runs your business into the ground. Trading in a laggy and ugly website for a well-designed landing page can do wonders for your company. So, today, we’ll talk about the common mistakes in web design, their impact, and how to fix them.

Say It Ain’t So

1. Slow Loading
2. Lack of Responsive Design
3. Overly Busy Homepage
4. The Text Is Unreadable
5. Where Are the Contacts?
6. Too Many Demands
7. What’s a SEO?
8. Please No Autoplay
9. Navigational Maze

Slow Loading
If your website takes longer than 4 seconds to load – say goodbye to the majority of the visitors. If it takes over 10 seconds – might as well shut it down since it’s a money sink that people won’t wait for. Slow loading and response times are a site-killer and optimizing them is the first step to success. This also ties in with some of our next points since the amount of content you plunk down onto the homepage will influence load times.

Lack of Responsive Design
The value of mobile traffic nowadays cannot be overestimated and yet there are thousands of businesses lagging behind. When it comes to optimizing your website for all manner of devices, the question isn’t “Should I do it?” it’s “Why haven’t I done it yet?”. You’re not getting visitors from a single browser or device, so tailor your design to work on mobiles and desktops, Chrome and Firefox (maybe not Internet Explorer, though).

Overly Busy Homepage
If the page that the leads land on immediately has carousels and animations and a million interactive elements, each fighting to draw their eye, it’s not going to elicit a conscious response. Instead, most visitors will either click away from your site due to the sensory overload or choose an element at random. That’s not what you want to happen, a landing page should gently steer the lead toward info about your services and help them get in touch with you. Keep the homepage content-rich but not overloaded and you’ll be fine.

The Text Is Unreadable
This doesn’t just include the obvious rule “choose a font that doesn’t require straining to read”. You also have to pay attention to the kerning and leading, both of which are key if you want any text to be readable. Otherwise, you end up with piles of garbled letters and emails sent to the wrong address because the would-be customer couldn’t decipher the right one. Also, try to stick to one or two fonts at most. This helps keep brand recognition and get a custom font associated with your website. And it also makes long visits to the site easier on the customer’s eyes.

Where Are the Contacts?
So a user lands on your homepage and is mildly interested in your services. They look at the top of the screen and see no means to contact you for a consultation or to make a purchase. They scroll down and still can’t decipher what to do because either you put the contact info down in a font that’s too small or literally didn’t leave it on the page in the first place. Now, you might be thinking “Who the heck would omit contact info or at least a CTA on their homepage?”. Well, thousands of struggling businesses would, apparently, and you should not be among their ranks.

Make sure your contact info and the services you provide are spelled out loud and clear and your CTA actually calls the customer, not just rests in the corner with a vague text like “see more”. Plus, don’t hesitate to setup a “call now” prompt so that mobile users can contact you via their phones. You want to establish a connection right away.

Too Many Demands
Most leads will stick with your site even if they have to click “accept cookies” because that’s simply the (largely) unavoidable reality now thanks to the GDPR. Fewer will stay on if they have to click on the “Allow or deny notifications?” pop-up. Even less will bear through the “Please turn off AdBlock” and similar messages as most people just want to get to the content.

If you do have a message like that, justify it by saying that some parts of the site won’t load with the AdBlock on. And you’ll be lucky if even a few remain after the “Join our mailing list or get mauled by angry sheep!” pop-up, especially since they have no idea who you are, what you do, and why a mailing list from you is somehow desirable.

Get the user interested first or the pop-ups will push them away. It’s your job to make a good impression and comply with a lead’s needs and demands, they don’t owe you anything yet. If you think they’re not that annoying, just look and see how many tutorials to get rid of them there are.

What’s a SEO?
If you have a website, you should NOT be asking such a question. Optimizing your company’s website for analytics and search engines is key if you want to boost leads and conversion. Without this, you won’t even get that many visitors and that means that no amount of other optimization will help.

Please No Autoplay
Oh boy, you have so many cool videos showing your work processes, how can you best showcase them for your users? Well, a good idea would be to have a separate page for this content or maybe post them on your business Instagram account. What wouldn’t be so great, though, is to plop it onto your homepage and turn autoplay on. This is a trifold problem as it slows down the loading, annoys users with sudden sound, and misses the point of showcasing content as the user will miss the initial part of the video anyway.

Navigational Maze
Quick question, in a list of options, which are the most used, on average? The correct answer is the first and the last one. These are usually the “main option” and a “contacts/support” page, both of which are what most of the users will be looking for. So make sure that you put your most important options in the first and last positions.

Additionally, there are a few standard positions where the user will look for a menu. Placing it outside of these select few choices will confuse them and make navigation less intuitive. Also, last but not least, make sure you have a search feature. Sure, you’re not exactly Wikipedia but being able to conjure up the page you want via a keyword is important sometimes.

Why Bother?

So you’ve gone down the list and looked at the examples and, hopefully, you’ve either already got yourself a beautiful website or plan to fix the mistakes listed here. However, some may wonder – why is this even important? After all, customers are interested in quality services and products, what does that have to do with how fast a website loads or how pretty it is? Well, the correlation is pretty significant.

Imagine your website as a storefront and your potential customers are just people walking down the street. If this storefront of yours has nothing on display or the glass is plastered with annoying ads and posters (pop-ups), the likelihood of people walking into the store itself is pretty low. Similarly, if the door to your store doesn’t have the working hours on it, people won’t know when they can do business with you, which is why contacts must be easy to spot on your website.

Furthermore, remember that a bare minimum of effort only gets you the bare minimum of customers. If you want to run a successful store, don’t just swipe the dust and cobwebs off of your storefront. Clean it up and then fill it with something that attracts would-be buyers and showcases who you are an what you offer. Otherwise, your website is just a stylish empty shell that might elicit some joy via its cleanliness but will quickly disappoint with the lack of content.

No Other One

You might also be saying “but I put hard work into this bad website design and I do get customers with it!” That could certainly be the case but remember – there’s always room for improvement. To put it in crude terms: if your current unoptimized design nets you fifty clients per year – an optimized one will get you a cool hundred.

Besides, you don’t have to revamp your site’s look completely.Just make sure to tweak usability, cut down on load times, and ensure that interactivity is high (and actually working). That’s no small feat either but it lets you preserve your identity while delivering a better look for leads to latch on to. So even though you may be hung up on your current design, it’s a good idea to at least find a middle ground that will make both you and the leads happy.

Possibilities

While it might seem like all of these points limit your design, they’re actually opening it up for greatness. If you follow the guidelines and make a visually appealing and usable site or app, you’ll see long-term benefits in the form of higher conversion, better customer feedback, and increased business. And if you need a bit more guidance, don’t hesitate to contact us for a UI/UX design consultation or web site development.

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