The Worst Web Design Practices Today
What are the worst web design practices you could be using on your website today? What should you avoid doing on your website?
Small Static Fonts
No one wants to have to wear reading glasses, and small static font that no one can read will annoy even those that don’t have reading glasses. This problem is made worse when the font size doesn’t resize when shown on a small screen.
Body fonts should be smaller than headline fonts, but they shouldn’t be so small that anyone has trouble reading them.
The Wrong Font for the Job
A version of this mistake is using headline fonts so small that people can’t identify them or the text they are looking for. Remember, people have a short attention span and they aren’t going to read 500 words of search engine optimized sales pitch – they are going to look for the paragraph with the information they are looking for or they will look at someone else’s site.
Wall of Text
The map of related words to your article or subject may be interesting or even cute, and it certainly isn’t the hidden text Google will ban your website for. However, this doesn’t add value, and it risks destroying your SEO. This is why some websites keep the word map on the website but use an image file to present it.
Too Many High Quality, Low Value Images
There is a saying that every picture is worth a thousand words. The downside is that too many web designers put multiple high quality, barely related stock images on a website. One or two such images are tolerable to break up the stream of text, to be honest, they’d rather have just the company logo on the top of the page and clear section headers that match the questions they want answered.
The best images for your website are related to the person’s query. If someone wants to know how to replace the air filter on the air conditioner, they don’t want a generic image of a sweating person or pretty picture of your latest air conditioner – they appreciate the picture of the side of an open unit showing how to access the air filter. Someone who is searching about how to clear an error message will want the picture that shows where the reset button to clear the error is located.
According to web design Chicago firm eBizUniverse consultant Matt H, pictures of your team can make your business seem more relatable. Want to boost your local SEO? Show a picture of your storefront relative to bigger landmark stores so they’ll better understand how to find you. Learn more about them here: http://www.ebizuniverse.com/illinois/chicago/seo/
Help That Isn’t Help
Imagine someone is searching for help from your company, and they are presented with a contact us form. This isn’t only deceptively generic, but you’ll earn that person’s unending hatred and likely bad social media coverage if they use the form to ask for help with a broken product and you automatically send them spam on your latest and greatest products.
You can have a contact us module on your website, but make it clear how they can get help from tech support or customer service. And never market to people who need after-market assistance.
Web Design Trends
Web Design Essentials for Mobile
What elements of web design are essential for tapping into the mobile user base? How should your website change to keep up with the growth of mobile web searches? And what should you avoid so that mobile users don’t avoid your site now and when they gain access to a computer?
Adobe Flash has already been replaced by a variety of elements in Cascading Style Sheets and HTML5. Allowing any portion of your website try to run Adobe Flash elements when no mobile phone can support it will hurt your website. Mobile users who encounter an unusable site won’t come back to it when they get to a computer. Instead, most of them make a note never to visit your site again.
Cut Out Cutting Edge Technology Their Device Can’t Handle
You should update your websites to HTML5 to make websites run on mobile devices. However, you shouldn’t use advanced technology like the latest version of CSS or video players that others may not be able to use. If you choose to use a cutting edge technology, don’t use it for anything that is a critical function of the website.
Unorganized content is bad for a webpage, but it is even worse for mobile users because they don’t want to have to scroll through fifteen screens to find what they are looking for. In contrast, no one should ever use a search engine to find your site and need your own internal search bar to find what they are looking for.
Take Care with Registration Forms
Registration forms are not easy to navigate if you are on a computer, and it is even harder if you are on a mobile device. Never require someone to enter a lot of information to register with your website, and if a form is necessary, make sure it can be navigated on a mobile device.
On Automatically Starting Media
Automatically starting media hurts mobile users in several ways. First and foremost, it slows down the loading of the website. It then slows down the process of navigating the site while they try to get past the video you’ve put in front of them or the streaming audio they don’t want makes the process of getting to a subdomain slower. The better choice is a video presentation they can clearly see on the webpage with the title showing how it is related to the search that they have to choose to start.
And get rid of the background music, since many people on mobile devices want to listen to their own music while surfing, not yours. You’ll also hurt your image with visitors if your website loads more slowly so they can hear voice over narration as to why they should buy your product. Half of all consumers expect the website to load in two seconds or less, and two in five abandon it if it takes more than three seconds.
No one navigating to a website wants to deal with a pop-up instead of being shown the results. This is doubly aggravating for mobile users who may have trouble hitting that corner X to close the pop up.
One variation of this problem is pop-up windows for logging in or giving someone the status of a request that they cannot use properly or manipulation.
Fonts That Don’t Translate
The only thing more annoying than text that is too small for the screen is poorly translated text, like an apostrophe becoming €™. Or the accent at the end of a word that becomes an A with the tilde on top. These things are distracting on a webpage but look even worse and are more likely to occur on a more limited mobile device.
Color schemes that make it hard to read your text are bad, and this is compounded when it occurs on a mobile device. Put enough space between sections, too, so that they are visually distinct.
Another version of this problem is when the menus are long and the text in the selections so small that people cannot read them. This is why many websites have shifted to large functional or area specific buttons on their page so that people can see what each selection is and easily manipulate it whether on a touch screen tablet or computer screen.