When you’ve been doing web design for quite some time, there are some things you do without even thinking anymore. You’ve been doing it for ages and you feel like you know web design like the back of your hand. There are some practices and methods that you’ve done for so long out of habit.
And if you’re new to web design, probably you’ve learned from a mentor or through self-learning. Whether you’ve been doing web design for ages or quite new to it, no one is immune to committing mistakes.
Probably you’re not even aware that you’re making some mistakes because you are so used to doing your thing! There are actually several common web design mistakes you are probably making the entire time. Most likely you’re not the only one guilty committing them, even long-time web designers!
However, don’t fret if you find yourself making some of these mistakes now. The important thing is understanding them, knowing why these techniques are hurting your design, and what you should do moving forward. Are you curious to know what these common web design mistakes are? Let’s start!
Your design is selective
What do we mean by this one? You implement a design, test it and it loaded well on the browser. But then again, have you checked it in mobile formats?
The thing is, and this is a reality – people don’t just check out websites from their laptops or desktop computers. We are at an age where technology is fast advancing and one of the greatest advantages is being able to check the internet at ease.
You can be outside, having your coffee in the local café and the world is at your fingertips. You scroll up and down your mobile phone for what’s in and what’s not. With that, you don’t want that your website is just optimized for desktop views.
You would want to it to load perfectly on mobile devices as well. Some designers enhance and customize websites and forget to check what it looks like on mobile browsers. Definitely, you wouldn’t want to alienate those who prefer to surf the net on their phones or tablets.
Your web design should look great across all browsers and gadgets. So from the start, check the design’s compatibility with various browsers and gadgets.
Depending on free web templates
Okay, let’s get this straight – using free templates isn’t bad at all. Some free templates are great to work with and they do their job. Some even begin their web design career by starting with free web templates. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
However, when you start to limit the website you are creating because of the free template – this is a whole different matter altogether. For example, the free template loads slowly but you stick with it because it’s free.
You want additional sections for the website, but you can’t edit the free template so you drop them (even though it’s important!). The free template limits you to optimized the website.
The good news is, not all web templates are expensive. There are several templates you could choose from to fit every budget and style.
Page does not offer enough information
When people go to a website, you don’t want to leave them dumbfounded – in a bad way that is. People are naturally curious, and a website should be able to give them the information that they need.
If they have to navigate for a few minutes just to find out what the website is all about and another few minutes to get the contact details – there’s clearly something wrong with the web design. And in those few precious moments of navigating the site, you might put them off for good. Worst case scenario, they won’t even find what they are looking for.
They didn’t go to your website to do treasure hunting. You should make vital information accessible and readily available. Don’t hide them, you don’t want a lost opportunity here.
The designer may have become too absorbed with the aesthetics that they have forgotten to highlight the important contents. The lesson here is – it’s not just about a beautiful website. The web design should incorporate vital information and it should not be hard to find at all.
Leaving the website alone
Do remember that the work does not stop once the website is done and complete. Technology will always evolve. The partners you have worked with in building the website will also continuously update themselves. The tools you have used may become obsolete.
Take note that updates exist for a reason. Take time to understand what these updates are. Just like anything technology-related, your web page should be constantly updated as well.
A web designer may forget that it should be a continuous effort to make the page work. Leaving the page alone will make it prone to vulnerabilities and other issues such as security. The web page may even cease to function because it has not been updated for so long.
Too much going on
A common problem with web design is, wanting to be everything. A client or the designer may want so much from the website and may expect much as a consequence. With that, a lot of elements are incorporated to cover the numerous wants.
In an earnest desire to cover all points, the web design may end up looking too cluttered. Having an awesome design has its perks. Having a beautiful design is in fact what you want! However, as a designer you must keep in mind that it’s not just about the design as said earlier.
The design may distract the page viewers from the actual purpose of the site. So as a designer, keep the balance. Design a page that is aesthetically pleasing and at the same time it doesn’t take away user attention from the purpose of the website.
Page loading takes forever
We can actually link this with the previously mentioned mistakes above. Because of compromises – such as free templates, incorporating too many elements, your page would take forever to load.
There are several alternative websites your potential client could check online, with faster response times. Don’t be one of those pages that compromises loading speed for any other factors.
It’s a tight competition out there and you only have a few seconds to make people stay on the page. Make that few seconds worth it, don’t make them wait. People have short attention spans and they do not have time for pages that won’t load.
They won’t wait for it, they’ll just do another search. What do they care if your page is better? It’s not loading so they wouldn’t know anyway. Say “no” to lost opportunities, design a page with a desirable loading speed.
It’s awesome that you can play around with the several elements of a web design such as fonts, buttons, headers and such.
Going back – always think about balance. Aesthetics are important, but does it serve its purpose? That cute font you want to incorporate in the design, is it readable? Is the size okay? Does it look too jarring? Does it fit the overall website theme?
That button you have inserted, does it look like a button? Is it a bit too small? Or too large? These are just a few questions to ask yourself. We want a good-looking web design, but it has to serve its purpose.
The fonts should be readable, buttons are appropriately sized, headers and footers are sized correctly – the list goes on.
The design shouldn’t just look good, it should perfectly function as well also.
Your design is a black hole
Like a black hole, the web page sucks you right in but you’ll have no clue how to get back or where to go next. As discussed earlier, your page should be easy to navigate. It should provide the users a way to go back, provide convenient shortcuts to some pages, and such.
You shouldn’t leave the users clueless on navigation. Another aspect that sucks them right in and gives them the tendency to leave your page? Your social media shortcuts. While it is good to have them on your website, if it’s the focal point of your web design – it would surely make your page viewers click them.
If you focus too much on the social media buttons, the users would likely move on to them. They would instead visit your social media accounts, and move on to the next post, and to the next profile, and so on – you get the picture. A social media black hole, we all know that.
While having a social media presence is important, it shouldn’t take away the attention from your website. It should be there, but not that prominent enough that it becomes the focal point of your design.
Getting “extra” on the images and files
Who doesn’t love a beautiful picture? Who doesn’t appreciate awe-inspiring video clips? Yes, we get it. Pictures and some other types of media send out messages like no other. They are effective, wonderful, and it lures people to stay on the page.
Images and media files are useful, but think again – if the files are too large they would surely affect your page efficiency. Large files could negatively impact your search ranking. Be careful and wary about your media files and images, don’t be “extra” in using them.
Before you include it in the design, consider how large the files are. Is it worth the trade-off? If you must upload, optimize files if you can.
Tons of advertisement
There’s nothing wrong with advertisements itself. In fact, they are income generating. They are not at all bad. When does it become detrimental to your web page?
When the advertisements take over the content and purpose of the page, then you would know that you have too much advert on your page. Again, advertisements are fine as long as it’s done in moderation.
You could still put up advertisements, but your content should still be the main attraction of the website. When your advertisements become a distraction, it’s time to scale it down.
Absence of H1s and H2s
This. Some designers get too involved in the design process that they forget the H1 headings and the H2 sub-headers. Understand that page viewers haven’t got all day to peruse the internet.
Having and H1 and an H2 is an excellent way to draw attention to key information on your website. Aside from making some points stand out on your page, H1 and H2 helps you be found in search engines as well.
H1 and H2 are great for emphasis in page viewing and your page more relevant in searches. Don’t underestimate the power of H1s and H2s.
Page lacks security
Page is working, check! Beautiful design, check! Is the page secure? Probably, that’s the most important question to ask. Security is as important as aesthetics. More so if your site asks for the customer’s personal information, you have to tighten the page’s security.
When a website isn’t secure, Google Chrome can detect this and warns the user. This of course would cause alarm on your page visitors.
In turn, they may not proceed with the session. Lost opportunity it is. You wouldn’t want to turn away potential customers because your page isn’t a safe place to go to. People are more paranoid with their privacy these days, so you have to give them safety.
Not having quality content
So the page viewer arrives at your page, sees it as a beautiful page, then what? The design was perfect, but the point of the website was lost. This is also one of the most common mistakes of some web designers.
There’s too much focus on the design that the effort in creating content is so little. Aside from having a great design, you should actually provide useful content as well. The design attracts users, but the content should make them stay. The page should churn out great content continuously for page viewers to return.
Playing background music
You seriously don’t need to load your design with music to make it attractive. If you have to rely on background music to do the work for you, your design isn’t working at all.
The loading background music will make your page less efficient. More so if a new music is played every time the user transfers to a page within the website. There are other ways to make your design cooler, it doesn’t have to be background music and need to annoy visitors.
We do understand that you want the page viewers to stay longer on your page. You want them to be engaged with the content. Some designers have found a way to make page viewers stay, but it’s not exactly an ingenious way.
Some designers highjack viewer attention by making them scroll endlessly on the website. A user gets hooked by the content, scrolls down to check out more of the page, then scrolls and scrolls and scrolls… then it becomes endless.
While you have made them stay longer than necessary, they won’t be necessarily be coming back. There’s nothing more annoying than staying indefinitely on a page and making your stay unnecessarily for so long.
Increasing the session duration was achieved, but this won’t guarantee a return visit.
Difficult to fill-up forms
The page you are making may request user registration and filling-up forms. That’s fine, they are perfectly normal requests most especially if your page engages in eCommerce. Usually, users are fine to go through such processes.
If you make your forms too complicated to fill in, a user may give-up the process altogether. Keep your forms simple and concise (but secure!). It shouldn’t take a lot of time to fill it up. Remember, people have limited attention spans (and patience).
A designer can be all carried away when he is feeling creative. And for the love of wanting to incorporate his creative ideas, he may try to bring in a different design per page within the website.
It’s good to be creative in the web design industry. However, when you are designing a page, you have to take into consideration that all elements are cohesive. All pages within the website should reflect one look and everything should be consistent.
Take the creativity a notch down. You don’t have to incorporate all elements. A cohesive look is pleasing to the eyes and it won’t confuse page visitors.
Overdoing the pop-up pages
We don’t hate pop-up pages. Actually, it’s also a good way to invite your potential followers into groups or even follow your social media. It reminds them that they can be part of your online community.
However, when a pop-up page is the first thing that greets the page viewer, that’s annoying. Imagine a first-time page viewer being greeted right away with a pop-up page without even knowing what the page is all about.
Your page visitors wouldn’t join an email group or follow your social media right away without even understanding your content. Give them a chance to check out the page first.
Pop-up pages are great when executed well. Allow page viewers a time to explore before inviting them.
Not being thorough in the design
A line in the paragraph with a slightly smaller font than the rest. An item on the list using a different type of bullet point. A header slightly misaligned. A title slightly off the center. These are examples of some slight design problems.
Some people may notice it, some people may not. They don’t necessarily affect the whole look. Is it worth fixing these “little” mistakes? The errors may be too small anyway and it has little impact to the design. Is this right? Wrong. Absolutely wrong.
When you do your web design, do it thoroughly. Some people may not notice it, but when you do your job, do it well.
Your work reflects what kind of a professional you are. Be professional and do your work right. Even the little details deserve attention. Every detail counts, you should be known as the web designer who thinks “good enough” isn’t good enough.
Lack of testing
A couple of web designers plow through their designs as fast as they can. While speed is a core competency some clients look for, ask first if you have compromised anything important in the process?
It’s good to work fast but when you design sacrifices, your work will just go to waste. Because some designers want to speed through their page quickly, they forget one important detail. What is that? Testing.
Test the pages for vulnerabilities. Test the page for compatibility. Some designs aren’t tested enough before launch. It’s better to find out the problems early on than knowing them later.
Putting the website in so much down time after the launch says a lot about the designer’s work.
Not providing a “Search” function
Your page visitor may be looking for something more particular on your website. It may not be the usual obvious information. It may be something that they think is probably on your page.
How do your page visitors look for it? Make it easy for them. Allow your viewers to navigate your page. Include a search function. Not providing them an option to look for it may encourage them to leave the page for good.
Is everything on the page readable? You may be guilty of using unintelligible typefaces. Too small a font, light font on a light background – these are just a few scenarios.
The design may look awesome at first glance, but do check it out if it’s legible enough to read. Use typefaces and backgrounds that are readable and won’t leave users second-guessing. Figuring out what the page is saying is a sure way to ruin a user’s experience.
Not including text in images
A lot of designers do not include a text for the images they upload. They instead put the text within the picture. Why is this even problematic when the photo has already sent out the message?
Search engines do not “see” the photos as viewers see it. Search engines can’t identify the text written on the picture. Without text, supporting the image, search engine won’t know what the image is all about. It’s just an image to the search function and it won’t come up on relevant searches.
That’s already a missed opportunity. So next time you upload your image, layer a text to identify what the image is all about. This way, it can come up when they are searches related to it on the internet.
You may be surprised that some practices you’ve been doing through the years can actually hurt your design. It may be surprising for you that we have a lot of routine practice that affects the page’s overall effectiveness. Even the most seasoned web designer can make mistakes, and they aren’t even aware of it.
Now that we discovered some common mistakes that impact our web pages negatively, it’s time to improve on our designs. Remember, you’re never too old or too new of a web designer to learn from all of these.
What have learned today? We should find the balance in designing. Be creative, but make sure that the page is still efficient.
Find your balance. Create beautiful pages that provide users with a seamless experience!