We’ve all seen them; none of us want them… Those ghastly sites that turn your stomach upside-down and leave you feeling like you have waisted your precious time just visiting for 10 seconds!
However, anyone who has ever designed and created a website will tell you that it’s not always that easy to design the contemporary site design that we’ve become accustomed to, without the advice and experience of an expert.
Despite this, there are steps you can take to ensure that you avoid casualty in your website’s design. So we have put together our top 10 list of things you must avoid when designing a website.
- No easy to find contact information
Too often sites neglect the importance of a physical address and phone number. A “contact us” button is ideal for any site, depending on the offer, and should be easily found on every page.
This is extremely important on sites where you are selling products or services, so that it gives your prospects a reason to trust you, plus gives them peace of mind knowing that they can contact you if something does go wrong with the checkout process.
- No search box
If your visitor is looking for something specific on your website, it doesn’t matter how well organized the site is; they will always find it quicker by using the search box.
This will save the risk of your visitor getting frustrated if they can’t find what they are looking for if they have to search through many pages or products in order to find what they are searching for.
A website without a search bar means you are leaving money on the table, and potentially leaving it for your competitors.
Your site’s content and overall design needs to be consistent throughout so that your visitor becomes used to the colors and the layout when browsing through your web pages. Something as simple as being consistent with your ‘Call To Action’ buttons, will have your visitors knowing what to press next through the purchasing process.
- Bad image use
Images can truly make or break your site. With a modern day surge of importance and need for images, images are your brand’s first exhibition (even before your logo!).
Any images you use must truly reflect your business and the point you’re trying to make. Remember that your visitor should know what you offer and how it can benefit them, all within just a few seconds. People usually look at the images first, then read the copy, so keep the images consistent with the message.
- Not encouraging people to scroll on long web pages
90% of visitors will only read the content that’s displayed in front of them(above the fold) as soon as they land on your page. For this reason, you must make it obvious that there is something else further down the page that will benefit the visitor. You can do this by adding arrows that point down the page, ask people to scroll below in your video, avoid horizontal bands of color changes (unless there are arrows to encourage scrolling), and using vertical side panels in a different colored background to the content section.
People that scroll usually scan through headlines first, then come back to read the finer content, so be sure to have interesting short and punch headlines at each new section. into subheadings amongst headings that are easily navigated through.
- Small clickable links
Hand movements with a mouse aren’t very precise, nor with a laptop’s tracking pad and either more so when using a mobile device. When links are crammed into a small space, surrounded by other links or ads, mis-clicks can happen and be quite frustrating for the user.
Large clicking spaces make for smooth navigation- an essential trait of any site. Clear space around large clickable links don’t just look great, but offer your visitors a stress-free, fast-moving experience that reflects positively on your business. Google also favor larger clickable buttons and links in their ranking algorithm.
- No involuntary moving images or music
Moving images, rotating banners, and video backgrounds are usually larger file sizes and slow down your site, making the experience terrible for the user. They’re also extremely outdated and are proven conversion killers over many split tests. If you’re set on having some kind of moving imagery, then use something small and not annoying. This can work well with a video play icon, but ONLY allow the video to play if the visitor chooses to play it. Same rule applies with image sliders.
Which brings me to the next point: music. NEVER play music on any of your pages unless the visitor has chosen to. Not only is unappreciated music going to reflect badly on your brand, but it annoys the visitor and will essentially mean that all your content is useless, as they’ll be exiting your site.
- No unnecessarily long forms
If you are using forms on your site to gather necessary information, then you need to make them appeal to your visitors. The style and theme must flawlessly match the rest of your page, so that the visitor feels at ease giving their personal details to you.
Make the form as short as possible, and only ask for necessary information. Nobody wants to fill in more information about themselves than they feel comfortable doing. If the questions aren’t relevant or are just plain unnecessary, then get ridof it. To get people into your marketing funnel for the first time, only ask for their email address and / or first name since that’s all you need to send them an email.
- Enable clicked links to change color
it can be frustrating repeatedly clicking on a button that you’ve already clicked on, not knowing if the site has responded. This happens a lot on slower sites. By simply changing the button or link color to a new color, that gives the user instant feedback and a clear visual reference that something is going to happen, and as a result they will be less likely to get frustrated.
- Long content that doesn’t make for quick scanning
We’ve spoken already about how essential it is for your visitor to identify your business’ and operation within 5 seconds, or they’re going back and visiting someone else’s site. So essentially, you’ve got to “wow” your visitor with specific, short and sweet content right from the start.
Keep paragraphs to a minimal, especially near to top of the page, so skim reading is easy. Keywords guide the reader’s eye down the page giving them all the necessary information they need, without needing to delve into the depths of your pages to find out about your offer.
Quick, specific reading pages that only provide necessary information have a much stronger visual impact on your visitors. Don’t bore a potential customer, inform them.
Remember to test everything once you’ve released a new web page. Use heat maps and user testing or polls to see what’s working and what needs adjusting. Every market is different so it’s vital to test everything.