Websites have been around for several decades now, so you’d think that those who make them would have a greater understanding of what works and what does not. However, this is far from the case. If you surf the internet for any length of time, you’ll stumble upon tons of different websites that make the same mistakes over and over again. It’s those mistakes that have motivated me to write this article.
Here are 8 mistakes that web designers make, and that you should avoid, if you ever have an interest in making your own virtual real estate:
1. Poor Readability
This is one of the most important aspects of web design. Of course, a well-designed website will grab the eye, but the end user needs to be able to read the text on the screen. You’ll find that some designers will use some really unusual font styles, simply for aesthetic reasons, with little respect to readability.
2. Impractical Screen Resolution
I’m pretty sure you’ve visited a website where you were forced to scroll to the right or left to see the end of a sentence. In modern web design, this is something you want to avoid. A good designer will ensure that any websites they design fits the user’s screen, irrespective of the resolution they are using. Currently, it’s recommended that you optimise your website for a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels.
3. Poor Navigation
Navigation in any website should be very intuitive. Users should be able to get around your website with very little thought. Although there is no standard or conventions for navigation within a website, especially today with all the new web technologies, it’s still very important that you have some understanding of how to make navigation seamless on your website.
If you decide to use text for your navigation, then you should pay close attention to word usage. If you use hyperlinks, then you should ensure that the links stand out. All links should be checked, to ensure that they are active. You want to minimise confusion, and time wasted. Another thing you want to avoid is having a link to the home page, on the home page.
4. Fixed Font Size
With the introduction of CSS style sheets, web designers now have the power to alter the default font size of the text on a page. The issue is that, most of the time, when the designer does this; they make the text very small, especially for people over the age of 40.
You should never use fixed font sizes, as you want the end user to have control over how big the text should be on a page.
5. Background Music
Although it may sound cool on paper, the reality is that no one wants to listen to background music while on a website. So, make sure you don’t get caught up in that, avoid music at all costs.
6. Unusual Colour Choices
Being as creative as you can be, is encouraged, especially when creating websites, but it’s important you remain practical. If the colour theme of your website doesn’t contrast well, or if you use too much colour on your site, you will quickly turn your visitors off. Stick with basic colour themes that consist of no more than three or two colours, as this will ensure that your text remains readable, clean and pleasant.
7. Use of PDF Files
Most surfers do not enjoy having to read PDF files, because of the disjointed nature of it. Things such as saving or printing a document are additionally compounded by the introduction of PDF. Layouts are usually configured for a sheet of paper, which usually doesn’t match up well with the end users browser Window.
PDF documents are also hard to navigate through, making the user feel restricted.
PDF is most ideal for printing and distributing things, such as manuals or large documents. I recommend you reserve PDFs solely this purpose; everything else should be on the page.
8. Using Too Many Social Share Buttons
Social media is extremely popular today, but the reality is that most people are only familiar with a few of them. Thus, there is no reason for you to have the buttons of over 20 different social media sites on each page, as most people will only recognise a few of them, like Google+, Facebook and Twitter. Having too many on the page, makes the site look cluttered, and also slows down the site load time.