A unique and impressive website is not something businesses can choose to have, but a thing they SHOULD have. A poorly designed website is going to affect the way potential customers perceive your brand and how much they choose to interact with it, which means you’re losing money that would otherwise be easy to get.
To save money, many business owners think they can handle designing their own website using various free tools they can find online. Some manage to create very decent results and save money in the process, but these cases are rare. Most of the time, the result is less than ideal, and they end up with a website that does not follow the principles of good web design.
There are a number of design choices that make a good website, just as there are many elements and factors that make the site difficult to navigate and hard to comprehend. This is why designers often turn to their book of best practices to make sure the end result is not driving off potential customers.
We are not the ones to tell people what they can do, but we can tell them which mistakes to avoid if they want to come up with a superb website that is easy to navigate and keeps users engaged. Read on to learn more about the biggest mistakes you can make when designing a website and how to avoid them.
Adding Too Much Clutter
If your website does not have a solid foundation, you will be tempted to keep adding elements just because you have them available. This is one of the biggest web design mistakes and is unfortunately present on many web pages.
To avoid clutter, start by drafting the overall concept of your website and how you plan to implement it. This will prevent you from getting lost in the sea of options available for web designing nowadays. All of these options are great, but they make it easy to overload a website with popups, media players, plugins, and other unnecessary design elements that don’t necessarily bring value to the user experience.
Fortunately, avoiding this mistake is quite easy. If you can’t provide justification for a particular element on your website, you need to remove it. So, every time you consider adding something new to a page, ask yourself if this element really adds to the user journey.
Going Straight To Digital
Many people think that websites are purely digital products you can enjoy on the web. So, where else would you design them if not online? While this is true to some extent, and the result will be experienced online, the design work needs to start in a traditional way: with pen and paper. Yes, we know what you are going to say – you can use design software drawing tools as well.
The reason why you should never jump straight to the website builder is precisely because you need to create that structure we were talking about above. Use pen and paper to write down a list of goals for your website and, based on these goals, sketch the design of your main pages.
This type of approach will help you create some clear guidelines regarding what you are trying to obtain. If you are not an experienced web designer, it will be very difficult to stay on track once things start to get complicated.
Neglecting To Follow A Grid
The next step in the process of creating your website is to design page templates. Today, all website builders will include tools for creating grids, guidelines, and columns when it comes to page design, simply because they are an easy way to get a clearer visual idea about the project. Many inexperienced web designers, however, dismiss these aspects and believe they are either outdated or better suited for older websites.
Things could not be farther from the truth. As any professional web designer knows, grids represent the core structure of a website. They have been around for as long as web design has existed, and their role won’t be changing anytime soon.
You don’t need to have these grids visible on your website. Instead, they act as guidelines for your framework. What’s more, experienced web design agencies know grid-based designs can easily integrate modern design elements that respond well to modern consumer preferences.
Overlooking The Importance Of Visual Hierarchy
The next mistake on this list is a bit more challenging to tackle, at least for those who are new to the field. We are talking about overlooking visual hierarchy, and, unfortunately, you are going to see this occurring on a lot of websites today.
Visual hierarchy means arranging all elements on a webpage according to their importance in achieving the main goal. In most cases, this goal will probably be to make users respond to a call to action. This implies that if visual hierarchy is not handled properly, users may be overwhelmed by a multitude of elements trying to capture their attention, which leads to them missing the CTA.
Not Taking Accessibility Into Account
Accessibility is also a crucial part of web design, and ignoring it can have a significant impact on the results you are trying to accomplish. Fortunately, many businesses have come to understand the need of making their websites accessible to people with a wide range of disabilities or needs.
It is obvious that the main reason for making your site accessible to as many people as possible has to do with morality and inclusivity, but there is also a commercial reason for doing this. After all, expanding your audience will only boost your chances of attracting more customers, which means a better conversion rate for you.
When you start designing your website, consider how you’ll integrate text, pictures, and sound elements. Images should have alt tags, audio descriptions should be included, and writing should be well-spaced and written with a legible font.
Smart web design should never obstruct exposure, and if your website is inaccessible to some people, it is doing just that.