One look at the first-ever website and we can clearly see how much web design has evolved over the years.
The CERN web page, created by no less than the legendary Tim Berners-Lee himself, is a simple, text-only page, a far cry from the visual treat that web designers of today are capable of producing.
Indeed, web design has come a long way since the first website went live. It continues to evolve to this day, with web design trends coming and going each year.
Still, for all their skills, many web designers continue to make web design mistakes that ruin the user experience or UX. A website may look visually stunning, but it could still fail to fulfill its user’s needs because of such mistakes.
In this day and age, where UX is given much attention and importance, providing an optimal, user-friendly experience should be foremost in the mind of a good web design specialist.
Here are some of the most common web design mistakes that all web designers should avoid this year and beyond.
One thing that ticks users off about a website is bad navigation. Few people have the patience to explore a website that takes several steps before landing on the page you’re looking for. Worse, some sites with poorly-designed navigation lead users to the wrong page.
More often than not, users who have a bad experience navigating a website won’t hesitate to click the exit button and contribute to its ever-rising bounce rate.
If you don’t want visitors to abandon your site because exploring it can get frustrating, see to it that its web design makes navigation easy.
Making all navigation elements clickable is one way of improving website navigation. Clearly-divided categories, internal linking, and a functioning search feature will also help users find what they’re looking for without a hitch.
Thin, Light Typefaces
There is this web design trend going on that embraces the use of thin and light fonts, which, admittedly, look quite clean and elegant, especially when viewed on a display capable of rendering thin type nicely.
What web designers who use thin typefaces fail to realize is that they may not be that readable in most displays. The text should always be legible, and thin, light fonts tend to cause readability problems, eventually leading to bad user experience.
Slow Page Load Speed
Today’s Internet users tend to be an impatient lot. With Internet speeds increasing, people typically expect the websites they’re accessing to load quickly, too.
The problem is, many web pages take some time before they fully load. For some, it’s a hosting company issue, while others have something to do with web design.
If it’s the former, consider switching to a much faster-hosting company. If it’s web design that’s to blame for the slow page load speed, try performing tweaks that include optimizing images, avoiding the use of custom fonts, and compressing web content.
Cramming Too Much Content On One Page
For some reason, some web designers take to packing web pages with a lot of content and often end up giving them a very cluttered look.
There is no substitute for clean, organized web pages, with plenty of whitespaces to give the content a lot of breathing room. So, practice more self-restraint when it comes to loading web pages with information.
No Contact Information
Surprisingly, many websites don’t display contact information for the business it’s representing. Some do have contact info, but it’s not in a place where it’s readily visible.
Businesses are meant to be reached, and that’s why their websites must display their telephone number, email address, social media account links, and other contact information prominently. The best places for contact information would be the header or the footer, although you can always create a dedicated contact page if you want.
Autoplaying Videos With Sound
For some reason, many web designers think that autoplaying videos with sound are good at grabbing the attention of people. They do the job, alright, but not in a good way.
Many people use headphones as they work, play, or surf the web. If they’re listening to music with the volume up, that autoplaying video with blaring sound will either give them a good scare or annoy them enough to track the offending page down and close it.
While there’s nothing wrong with embedding a video, it’s more sensible if you turn autoplay off or mute it at the very least.
There’s nothing wrong with displaying ads. After all, generating revenue is one of the primary goals of any business website.
However, some web designers put too many advertisements to the point where they undermine the design and distract visitors from its content.
An ad overkill on any given page will also confuse visitors enough to get out of your website to avoid sensory overload and increase your bounce rates in the process.
In a world where there are more mobile users than desktop users, the biggest web design mistake anyone can make is not having a mobile-friendly design.
When smartphone and tablet users access your website, and you haven’t done anything to make it responsive, it will, at the very least, not render well on their devices. Sites that aren’t mobile-friendly are more difficult to read, and the links that lead to the most important pages on your site tend to be harder to access on touch screens.
For mobile users, a mobile-unfriendly website gives them a bad mobile user experience. That will do nothing but drive them into the arms of your competitor, one with a website with responsive web design.
There are many more web design mistakes you need to steer clear of in 2020 and subsequent years, but the ones listed above are good places to start.
As web design is ultimately about giving people the best user experience possible, you would do well to take a closer look at your website. Find out if you’re committing some or all of the web design mistakes listed above, and rectify them right away.
Gabby Klesser is the Outreach Manager for LA Website Design, a digital marketing agency that has assembled a team of expert web designers and digital marketing strategists. She often writes about web design, UX, social media, technology, marketing, and starting a non-profit.