Web Design Rules

What Not to Do With Your Website

While there are many articles on the top X things to do with your website, what are the worst web design decisions you could make? What shouldn’t you do with your website?

Use Fonts They Can’t Read

When the font is too small, people will hate you. If the font size can’t resize based on user preferences or the screen size, you’ll lose your intended audience. Exotic fonts are a disaster. No one will stay on your website if it renders badly because you used a pretty font no one else can replicate in their browser. Think about the bad impression you leave if someone sees character translation error when a semicolon gets turned into a weird ASCII character in the middle of your text. A rarely used font or simply bad formatting could kill the appearance of your site by dropping in ¨Â Â Â Â  or †in the middle of the text.

Deliver Streaming Media They Didn’t Ask For

Streaming media sucks up bandwidth and slows page loading time, and every second longer that a page takes to load, visitors are 16% less satisfied with your website. Don’t create a website that has streaming media like a talking head spouting general platitudes about how great your product is. Instead, have the still frozen image in a play window that they can choose to load and watch. And never, ever slow down someone’s navigation of your website to load what you think is appropriate background music. Even band websites only make the audio samples available when someone chooses to hear it.

Make Use of Multi-Level Menus

Multi-level menus are like the ones in Microsoft Office where you pick the top level category, hover over the selection, and a secondary menu comes up. This is practical on a computer where you have a mouse to navigate with, but it can make navigation impossible on a mobile device. It can even be challenging on a tablet if the text is hard to read and being able to successfully make the selection isn’t easy when you’re using a stylus.

Fill Your Page with Fluff and Jargon

Filling your product descriptions with fluff makes people avoid the webpage, while jargon that makes it hard to figure out what the right answer is will turn off readers. Use clear and concise language for how-to instructions, and only use as many words as necessary to convey the information. While there are many metrics that show the best content has 800 or 1400 words, know that many of the best articles have short and simple instructions with clear images or videos explaining how to do something.

In depth articles are sometimes appropriate for technical subjects, niche topics or queries where the person wants to learn more in depth about a topic. In these cases, spell out your acronyms, don’t use too much insider terminology and don’t get too esoteric.

Present Pop-Ups

Let’s be honest – people hate pop-ups. The worst thing about pop-ups triggered by a visit to your website is that it looks like you’re advertising for the site they just selected, in short, over-selling. This will kill the deal with a mobile user and hurt your appeal with general web users. Informational popups are a bad idea, too, no matter how useful the information. Then you run the risk of an essential notice or someone’s login to your site failing because the pop up window was blocked by a pop-up blocker. If you want to let someone know that their account has been compromised, use large red warning messages on the top of the login page. If you want to distract them with a loading status message, use animations that change on the website instead of a popup.