Some people call web design an art. Others call it a science.
Really, it’s a mix of both. There’s a creative element to design, but when dealing with concrete products crafted with a goal in mind, there’s certainly room for error. Let’s tackle a few common web design mistakes that send visitors running, along with showcasing some eye-splitting examples of these atrocities in action.
Unorganized Content Layouts
In two words, visual hierarchy.
Your site should be intuitively laid out with content and headings organized in a simple way. This means striking a balance between on-page text, eye catching visual elements (photos, videos, etc.) and white space in a way that directs readers through your material. There are many ways to fail at this delicate process, but for a quick glance, check out this rather awful example.
Where are you supposed to look when you scroll down? What on-page elements are most important? Aside from the topside navigation, the page appears to be a flurry of disorganized information.
Marketers and ecommerce retailers, take note: Your site needs structure.
When crafting a brand identity through your site, you’ll be tempted to place on-site elements that help you stand out. This is okay, but be careful with the gimmicks and on-site features that you include on your page. Take a look at this website to learn why.
What is this, Myspace? Come on guys. Just a few easy targets here include auto-playing music, strange PowerPoint-inspired image transitions, and an odd center-justified page layout that leaves blank page real estate on either side of the screen.
To be fair, their portfolio looks solid. But their efforts to create a hip website may have backfired. Be careful to avoid a gimmicky home page if you want visitors to take you seriously.
It’s tough enough to get viewers to stay on your site (most leave within 10-20 seconds) but it becomes nearly impossible if your on-site navigation isn’t clear. Consider this misguided yogurt website.
Seriously — how the heck do you navigate this site? It looks like there’s a newsfeed and a blog near the bottom, but what else is there to do? Surely this site has more pages than that.
Hang on, there’s a tiny “navigation” ribbon in the top left corner. Let’s click on it, and … oh. A Monty Python-esque horn sounds, heralding the appearance of a drop-down menu. This is something else.
Let’s quit while we’re ahead. Don’t make your users hunt for navigational menus, particularly if you’re interested in selling a product or service.
Improperly Placed CTA
Your Call-to-Action is one of the most critical parts of your site, yet many businesses treat it as an afterthought. Make it direct and put it in a clear location consistent with your visual hierarchy.
Note: This doesn’t mean shove it in your audience’s face. This retailer, for example, opts to place its email capture tool right in front of you before you’ve even have a chance to look at their site and see if they’re worth your time. It needs to be clear, but don’t jump the gun.
Give Your Visitors What They Want
When it comes down to it, if you have a great product or service, your users will probably give your site a chance. That is, unless you give them reason not to. Adobe reports that 38 percent of users will stop engaging with your website if they find the content or layout unattractive.
This is the essence of keeping users on-site: If you can’t dazzle them with a skillfully crafted page, do what you can to avoid offending their sensibilities. There are plenty of website choices out there, so make sure yours doesn’t fall victim to these rookie mistakes.