Though it matters how your website looks, it’s more important how it feels. By saying that we mean enhanced user experience (UX), ensuring that users enjoy interacting with the site, perform required actions, and ultimately become your leads.
Still, many websites get hung up on esthetics, ignoring basic principles of clear messaging and navigation. This approach results in one thing – visitors leave a website disappointed.
Eugene Polev, UX team lead at Weblium, shares insights about the most common mistakes in web design.
1. Hard-to-read fonts and colors
Pastel colors are one of the latest web design trends. They look sophisticated and stylish on sites with a focus on visuals like websites of photographers, designers, and artists.
However, this trend has also been applied to sites where text readability is a priority. Using pastel colors and elements that blend with a background makes the texts difficult or almost impossible to read. Look at this page, for instance:
The same applies to decorative elements and fonts. If you want to say something important to your users, don’t go misuse your creativity.
2. Irrelevant images that say nothing about your business
It’s better not to use images at all than to use ones that don’t communicate anything about you or your business. A visitor comes to a website to solve some issue or find an answer to their question. Therefore each element of your site, be it the heading or an image, should help him or her do that.
The thing is that in most cases, site creators just download images from the web without thinking whether they will help them reach the goals of the site and what they will potentially communicate about the business and company.
Sometimes, images from the web are so unnatural that it’s hard to believe that there are real people behind the site. Irrelevant and unnatural images undermine your credibility, resulting in visitors losing trust in your business.
You can find images for your website either on stock photography websites or use your own pictures, depending on your needs, preferences and budget.
There’s nothing wrong with using stock photo websites as they have a huge selection of images that suit different types of businesses and industries. Use tags to find the picture that is the most relevant to you and helps tell more about what you do or what you sell.
If you are not sure that you can choose a relevant image for your website on the web, you can try to create it using Crello. It’s a great tool for non-designers who want to make something stunning but don’t have enough Photoshop or Illustrator skills.
3. Non-responsive website
Most companies have already understood that a responsive website is a must for a solid online presence. However, most of them still ignore the necessity to make forms (like contact form, sign up form, etc.) responsive.
If you want to collect information about your visitors from the website, make sure it’s easy for them to fill out the form.
For example, if you ask to leave a phone number, a form should automatically display a numeric keypad. If this is a subscription form and you need an email, a displayed keypad should have the @ symbol. It is not rocket science but a standard functionality of HTML coding, yet many developers still ignore it.
4. No accent (or too much accent)
We always want a person to take a certain action on the page through all possible means: headlines, images, and a calls-to-action. But if a visitor doesn’t understand what exactly they need to do, chances are they will do nothing but leave the site.
The way out is to place an accent on important elements only, but not on all of them. The easiest way is to use an accent color or design element.
Sometimes it goes the wrong way. Check out this website, for example:
This is a real anti-pattern website that was made so on purpose.
However, you can find many sites that look just like this because their creators didn’t know how to attract visitors to the most important elements only.
5. Misleading calls-to-action
One of the most common mistakes found on corporate and business-card websites is the absence of calls-to-action.
Their creators justify it by the fact that they don’t sell goods online. But a website is never created just to exist. It’s used to interact with a visitor and make them perform certain actions. Hence, each webpage should have a clear call-to-action (CTA).
It goes without saying that a CTA should be designed properly. A button should look like a button, not a decorative element. This way, you show the visitor that he or she needs to perform a certain action.
This example shows a CTA that looks more like a tag than a button. Moreover, “Be awesome” is a very unclear CTA as the visitors won’t understand what they’ll get by clicking it.
6. Poor website loading speed
If the webpage loads more than 2-3 seconds, a user will think that the site is no longer active. If you have poor loading speed, add a preloader to show that the site got the request and is processing it.
However, it’s better to fix problems with the website loading speed. For instance, you can:
- Compress data in HTTP
- Optimize images (replace all PNG files with JPEG)
- Use services to simplify and compress code (for example, JSCompress)
Improvement of website loading speed is worth the hassle, so don’t ignore that, and your visitors will appreciate your efforts.
7. Breaking web design conventions
People are already used to some web design conventions, and it would be a huge mistake to break them.
For example, links should be underlined or colored differently from the rest of the text. Here is one thing worth noting: the links should be the same color and a user should understand that they can click on them. The buttons should look like buttons, and elements such as the shopping cart should be placed where people expect to find them.
I would say that “Contacts” is the most trouble-making section. It’s frequently called differently, put in the middle but not at the end of the menu, or even hidden from the user. A visitor cannot quickly find what they need. And if visitors spend too much time looking for information, they’re more likely to leave the page.
8. Using hamburger menus
Hamburger menu (a type of menu layout where all sections are hidden under the three-line button) is one of the most controversial web design trends. Some people like it, while others say you should avoid it by all means.
However, in some cases, a hamburger menu is justified.
For example, the Uber app has one main scenario for a user – ordering a car. Other options, such as Your trips, Free rides, and Payment are used quite rarely so it was a good idea to use a hamburger menu.
But usually, it’s not the best option.
Here, three important menu points were hidden from users. One of them is “Contacts” that converts visitors into leads. It means that most of the visitors would just leave the website as they didn’t find the page where they could contact the company.
The solution is simple. Show the sections that are important to your business, and hide those which people rarely use.
9. Users don’t understand where they are
Visitors want to know exactly what page they landed on. This is one of the basic needs, and it works both in the digital and real world.
Retail shops have a 10-meter area at the entrance. Here, people adapt to what they see, analyzing the situation. The same happens when a person comes to a new page.
The quicker you tell them where they are and whether they reached the place they wanted, the more likely they’ll perform a required action.
10. No context navigation
If you don’t want a visitor to close a page after reading the article, give them a chance to move through the pages of your site by clicking on contextual links. For example, if you write about laptops, give a link to the laptops you sell. Put the links where the users will most likely make use of them.
It works the following way: a person gets interested in what you’re talking about, clicks the link, and moves to another page. Context navigation natural for a person, so don’t ignore it.
These 10 mistakes are common for all kinds of websites. Trying to create a beautiful site, we frequently forget that it should be functional as well. Fortunately, these errors are easy to fix.
When you’re done with them, you’ll get more satisfied visitors, more leads, and as a result, more clients. This is precisely your objective, isn’t it?