Creating a website isn’t easy although I would say that, wouldn’t I? It’s easy to over-complicate and overthink web design and this can lead to a lot of problems. Let’s take a look at some common web design mistakes and I’ll share my opinion on how freelance web designers such as myself & business owners can avoid them.
Overloading On Gimmicks
Web design is improving all the time and nowadays there are more and more creative features we can use. But before adding animations, videos or any other fancy features we need to ask ourselves whether they actually serve a purpose?
Usability is paramount when it comes to web design and while there is now a great range of options when it comes to additional features we can implement we need to ensure there is an actual reason to use them.
Adding something like parallax scrolling to a website might make it look good but if it serves no purpose then just a gimmick. Avoiding this mistake is easy we just need to focus on the usability and content of our website first and then add features that complement it, don’t build a website just to showcase some fancy features.
Using Images Incorrectly
As the old saying goes a picture is worth a thousand words unfortunately when it comes to web design we don’t have space for a thousand words, which means images can easily end up being a distraction or annoyance.
To use images effectively we need to be precise and ensure they actual serve a purpose. This could be to guide the user, convey a message or illustrate a point, images can serve a variety of purposes we just need to make sure we don’t overpower our audience.
Images should capture the user attention but not overpower the content or distract from it, it’s a difficult balancing act but with the proper preparation, it can be done. To avoid this problem, we should use images sparingly and make sure they complement the surrounding text.
Not Writing For The Web
A website might look beautiful but that won’t matter if the content is of poor-quality. But writing for the web is not the same as writing an essay, to build quality content we have to be snappier and know how to tailor our language to the online platform.
Then, of course, there’s SEO which is a whole other minefield, but while it’s complicated you can avoid mistakes by sticking to the point and planning. Avoid jargon, skip unnecessary words and even simply shortening our sentences can help build better quality content.
SEO is important but take my advice and try not to focus on it too much, simply overloading text with keywords will not ensure a high rank. Instead, build text that is precise and to the point and most importantly engaging to read.
A consistent design is the mark of a high-quality, reliable and trust worthy website, which is why inconsistency should be avoided at all costs. Many people make the mistake of thinking a website that follows a consistent design will appear boring or uncreative, but simple does not have to mean boring.
A website that changes its colour scheme from page to page, is just going to confuse anyone using it. Think about it, every big brand out there has a successful and consistent design that they stick to, don’t they? We can still be creative without sacrificing a consistent design, we shouldn’t be afraid of experimenting, but we do need to ensure our web design is consistent.
Our audience should be able to move from one page to another without needing a map. It’s easy to get caught up is the design process and focus so much on building amazing pages without taking a moment to consider how our audience will reach them.
No one wants to jump through hoops to get to the page they need, in larger websites a navigation menu is essential, and it should be easy to find. Many designers also forget the importance of the mobile platform now as well.
So, we need to ensure that our websites are easy to navigate on both platforms without sacrificing anything. We can easily avoid this problem by ensuring there is no clutter and by making sure our content is correctly formatted and to the point.
Our users need to be able to see everything at a glance whether they’re looking through a smartphone or a computer, so we need to keep a clean and simple layout.