Marketing your company is a full-time job in this day and age. Among the many things to consider are creating blog posts, interacting with your customer base on social media, and creating mailing lists. One important area that you might have been neglecting is web design.
The way your site looks and feels is important. People don’t want to navigate through a haphazard mess every time they visit your site. Instead, they want to experience the following:
- Easy-to-read articles.
- No unnecessary distractions like pop-ups or auto-playing video clips.
- Visuals that look nice but aren’t distracting.
For web design, it's important to remember that less is more. People are more concerned about convenience than flashiness, which is one of the reasons why Responsive Web Design has become an essential part of any successful layout.
Mistakes to Avoid When Designing Your Website
The most important thing to consider when designing your website is User Experience (UX). As you’re coming up with a blueprint for your site, ask yourself the following questions:
- Is my site easy to access on all platforms?
- Do these flashy visuals and animations serve a purpose?
- Are my articles easy to read?
- Can people navigate my site with ease?
If you answered "no" to any of these questions, you probably need to rethink your design. There’s an art to building a well-designed website, and it follows the principles of visual hierarchy.
Here are three ways to prevent your website from becoming annoying or confusing:
1. Stay away from distracting imagery
People can’t read your message if they’re distracted by flashy visuals and noisy color schemes. The Penny Juice website is a good example of what not to do. The pictures are too busy and have nothing to do with the product, but it’s the texts that are especially confusing. The color scheme makes it extremely difficult to read, and the average visitor doesn’t want to concentrate extra hard just so they can learn about the company.
For an example of a well-designed site, visit Nestlé’s homepage. The research group Bowen Craggs & Co. has ranked Nestlé as the best website in 2016 for good reason. It’s interesting and has exciting imagery, but it is also easy to read and navigate.
2. Don’t use animations just for the sake of it
Animations look nice and, when used properly, can be a great addition to your website. That doesn’t mean that everything needs to be animated. For example, this PayPal receipt might look cool, but it serves no functional purpose. It takes 3.5 seconds to deliver information that would appear instantly otherwise.
If you’re going to use animation, keep it fast and make it serve a purpose. Look at Stripe Checkout for a good example of animation use. It’s quick, informative, and most importantly, you can scroll past it and read for yourself if you don’t want to sit through the animation.
3. Make the website easy to navigate
It should never be a chore to navigate your site. Properly label your links and make them easy to find so that readers always know where to go for information.
The term for ambiguous links is called Mystery Meat Navigation. The Blue Bell Ice Cream homepage is a great example of what not to do with links. Notice how you have to hover your mouse over various parts of the image to navigate. The truth is, most people don’t have the patience for that.
Every industry is a little bit different. Depending on what services you provide, you might need your website to be more complex than others. There’s nothing wrong with that. Just remember that complex can become confusing, and there’s no reason to be overly complex if you don’t have to be.