Web designers usually make some mistakes while designing a website. As a result it becomes difficult (even impossible in some cases) to use the website efficiently. It should be top of mind that a website represents your business or organisation to existing, as well as potential, customers and prospects. Remember they will be giving up their valuable time to visit your website so it’s important to make their visit a satisfying experience. This can be done by avoiding common mistakes and making the website as efficient as possible.
Following are some of the examples of common problems and mistakes in web design.
Many websites have search engines that are very poor at handling different variants of query terms. The search option of a website should be able to handle variants caused by hyphens, typos and plurals.
Usually search engines prioritise the results on the basis of number of query terms that match, rather than on the basis of importance of the document. It would be better if the search engine shows results of the important query terms (such as names of products) on a priority basis.
Deep linking is the process of linking internal pages of within a website. Internal deep linking of pages with other pages of the website should be used in moderation wherever possible as it causes annoyance for web users. Jumping from one page to another page breaks the flow of browsing and annoys the user.
An easy example is we publish a post in our blog about “internet marketing” and link a lot of other pages of our website, facebook and twitter profiles etc. Visitors keep clicking on the links and at the end they simply close the website. This kind of deep linking affects the psyche of a visitor and makes him mentally tired. Aggressive deep linking must be avoided to enhance user experience.
Although internal deep linking can cause some annoyance, it has its merits such as improved bounce rates and increased chances of potential sales. However, to take into consider the user experience, deep linking should be used to a limited extent.
Another form of deep linking is linking to the content of others from your website without taking permission from them. This is illegal and should always be avoided. If linking to other’s content is necessary, you must seek their consent first, and if consent is given, ensure you don’t embed their content within yours as this is strictly not allowed.
Some websites use PDF files. This is a bad idea because it breaks the flow of browsing. The problem with PDF is that it does not match with the browser window because usually the PDF files are optimized for a sheet of paper. PDF is also difficult to navigate because it is an undifferentiated blob of information. It is best to convert all information, which needs to be read or browsed, into real web pages.
Problems with images:
Images of appropriate size should be used. Some designers make the mistake of using overly large sized images. Images of size larger than 20kbytes should be avoided. Graphic editing programs should be used to reduce the size of images instead of using “height” and “width” HTML tags.
Sometimes web designers leave the width and height of images unspecified. This should be avoided. The benefit of specifying dimensions is that it allows the browser to complete its layout and display the data it has rather than waiting for the whole page to finish loading.
Problems with text:
Simple plain text on web pages makes for a bad interactive experience. Such content is boring and tedious to read. Text can be made interesting and pleasant to read with the help of highlighted keywords, subheads, and bulleted lists. Short paragraphs should be used instead of lengthy intimidating paragraphs. A simple writing style should be used for the text.
Requirement of Java:
Some websites require activation of Java or Java Script. These two things should always be avoided wherever possible because they have significant security loopholes. If any function that requires Java is necessary for your website, it should be clearly labeled and made optional.
Window sizing and scaling:
Another common mistake is that the website does not adapt well to different window sizes. If the pages do not scale according to the size of the window, the visitors have to scroll too much to find what they are looking for. You should make sure that your website is compatible with all of the sizes ranging from 600×400 to 1200×900.
Web users have learned to avoid advertisements. If anything on your website looks like an advertisement, users will just ignore it. Therefore, you should always avoid providing important information in formats and designs that look like ads.
You should avoid designs that look like banners due to either their shape or position on the webpage. Blinking or flashing text should also be avoided. Pop-ups are another thing which the majority of the users don’t even bother to look at. Pop-ups are just closed even before they are fully downloaded so you should avoid them.
Sometimes tables can be problematic in web design. If tables have to contain complex information or if they have too many rows and columns, they can become challenging. Presentation of a large table on a small-screen device becomes very difficult.
Requirement of plug-ins:
Another common mistake made while designing websites is to require plug-ins. Plug-ins should be avoided because they are serious security holes. Apart from security issues, they have another disadvantage in the form of data losses and browser crashes. If a plug-in is necessary for your website, you should clearly state what plug-in is needed and from which source it can be downloaded.
Inconsistencies in design:
Some websites violate the conventions of consistency in the design. Consistency is an important principle of usability. If consistency is maintained, the users will know what will happen on the basis of their prior experiences. This will make them feel in control of the system. If the website does not come up to their expectations and brings surprises for them, they will leave your website and go to others.
Background and color combination:
Some website developers fail to pay proper attention to the background and colour of the text used. The background should contrast with the font and color of the text. Poor contrast makes it very difficult to read the text.
Apart from background, importance should be paid to the color combination. A suitable color combination is important for designing an attractive website.
A lot of these mistakes and problems can be avoided if the website is properly tested before launching. The website should be tested on a number for platforms so that the mistakes can be minimised. An error log should also be frequently checked for any complaints.
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