Eight ways to avoid common website mistakes

Everyone has a website these days, but not every website is equal. As the online environment becomes ever more crowded, you don’t just need to have a website, you need to have an outstanding website. In pursuit of the perfect page, here are some of the top web design mistakes to avoid.

1. Make the purpose of the website clear immediately

The internet is a very fast-paced environment in which millions of companies are competing for the attention of your potential customers. One of the biggest mistakes you can make in your web design is to prepare a site which does not clearly outline the nature of your business and the services that are available online. This information needs to be obvious and should appear on the first page of the website that browsers are likely to encounter. If you make your website too difficult to understand your potential customers will move on within seconds.

2. Use colour in moderation

Another common mistake that can be made in web design, particularly by the inexperienced, is the use of loud and conflicting colour schemes. Certainly contemporary web design does allow for the use of a myriad of colours and background patterns, but that doesn’t mean you need to use seven different themes on each page. Pick two or three colours that evoke the mood of your business and are not so harsh that your customers will need to wear sunglasses to browse through the site! Use colour in moderation.

3. Make your content readable

Just as with colour, current trends in web design offer a huge array of possible font styles, sizes and animations. However, the one style of lettering that will always be in style is one that is easy on the eyes. Some font types to avoid are fancy fonts that are almost illegible, small fonts and blinking text. You want to make your customers’ time on your website as enjoyable as possible and this intent must be reflected in all areas of your web design.

4. Make content quick and easy to digest

Take a look at this article – note how each point is numbered and broken down into smaller paragraphs with bold subheadings. This kind of lay-out is perfect for websites because it allows visitors to quickly scan each page for the information they seek. In your web design, it’s a good idea to use bullet points, small paragraphs, bold headings and subheadings to make text easily accessible.

5. Respect user privacy

No one likes being spammed, especially if they are unaware of having provided their contact details. Your website design must include an outline of your privacy policy for preserving your customer’s confidential information, as well as obvious information regarding anything you plan to use it for. Customers must be cued to consent to any subscriptions or storage of their personal information and should be given the option to unsubscribe at any time.

6. Make searching simple

The internet is powered by search engines and our main reason for logging on is to seek out information on a particular topic. Your customers need to be able to do the same thing on your web site on a smaller scale. Your website will potentially end up comprising hundreds of pages and archives so it’s important that your customers have a method to sort all that information. Not providing a search function on your website is definitely a web design mistake to avoid.

7. Don’t open every page in a new window

This point doesn’t need too much explanation – no doubt we’ve all logged on to a website that is an example of this mistake. A functional web design should not include extensive links that each open a new window because it makes browsing slower, more confusing, and is unlikely to operate correctly on mobile platforms.

8. Don’t forget the basics

This may sound like common sense, but don’t forget to include the all the basic information about your business on your website. It’s surprising, but some websites fail to include a map of their location, business hours and full list of contact details. Your web design should make this information clear and prominent.

From: http://justcreativedesign.com/2011/03/28/web-design-mistakes-to-avoid/

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