Continuing with our common mistakes and pitfalls of website designs this blog looks at a couple of tips and best practices for layout and overall website design.
Browser Compatibility – This is a biggy. Like it or not you may have to sacrifice some design aspects to make sure your site runs smoothly across all browsers. Although it’s common knowledge that a certain browser is unbelievably frustrating it still comes pre-installed on all windows computers so visitors will still be using it. Test all aspects of your website on the top 5 browsers before it goes live.
Home & Index Pages – It was fashionable for a while to have an intro page that acted like a business card introducing your website before you got access to it. This was quickly dropped when it became clear that fewer clicks and steps equalled a higher conversion rate. Don’t force users to sit through content before you give them access to what they want. Take the YouTube adverts as a good example…. No one likes them.
Re-sizing Browser Windows – This was incredibly popular at one stage but luckily most major websites have moved away from this now. The user should be in control of how much of their screen their browser takes up. Changing that will only end up with a frustrated user and then a negative impression of your website and brand.
Colour Head Aches – Choosing a colour scheme is a big part of your websites design. The colour needs to convey the right mood, focus and compliment the pages content and importance. If your user gets a headache after only 10 seconds on your website then you may need to reign in the harsh colour choices and go for a more neutral colour palette.
URL structures – Shorter keyword based URLs will help search engine listings and make it easier for users to identify content from the web address.
Page Lengths – If a user needs to continuously scroll down the page to see more content they will probably skip the content altogether. Consider splitting the content over more than one page but be sure to add them all to your navigation.
Horizontal Scrolling – In conjunction with the normal vertical scrolling this becomes a disaster. Avoid at all cost unless you are a creative type trying to make a point with additional meaning that few will get!
Animated GIFs – They generally look quite tacky and unless you are using them as an advertising banner they can detract from other content on the website.
Did you hear something? – Another lesson to be learnt here from the 90’s. Integrating background music into a website is just wrong. If there has to be an audio file let the user choose to play it or not.
What text can I click? – As part of your website’s design you should have picked an attention grabbing text colour to notify customers of important information. Try to avoid using the same colour with links where possible. Also avoid underlining text that’s not a link. Everyone knows blue text that’s underlined generally mean a link so why make the user learn anything different?
Image courtesy of Bright Path Digital