6 Mistakes Web Designers Make

Making mistakes is inevitable; it’s what makes us human!  While there isn’t always a lot we can do to stop blunders from happening, we can learn from them.  And even better, we can learn from the mistakes other people make!

Here are six mistakes that are common in web design.  Don’t get so caught up in creativity that you sacrifice usability!

1.  Not including a search box – Naturally, you have designed a website that is packed full of useful content.  Job well done!  However, did you think to add a search box so visitors can easily navigate through your wealth of knowledge?!

2.  Formatting content in a way that makes it difficult to read – Once you have your eye-catching interface design, you may think the hard part is over.  However, you are just getting started.  Once you have readers’ attention, you need to make sure you keep it.  The best way to do that is to provide readable content.  Make sure you consider these things:

  • Your color scheme shouldn’t detract from readability.
  • The body copy should always be in sans serif typeface.
  • Limit yourself to three different typefaces within a single page.
  • Use bold, italics, and underline in moderation.
  • Only use full-justification for long lines of text; it can look choppy and be distracting in narrow columns.

3.  Making navigation frustrating – If it is difficult to navigate your site, visitors probably won’t bother sticking around.  Here are some basic tips about navigation:

  • Use properly labeled links so visitors won’t be confused about where they are going.
  • Hyperlinks should stand out from, not blend into, the body of the text.
  • Remove dead links immediately.
  • If you want visitors to click on hyperlinks, make them easy to click!  Teeny-tiny font is difficult for even the most dexterous person to click on.

4.  Boasting about your abilities – By now, everyone is well aware of your superb design abilities.  You don’t need to highlight your creativity by using a different design on each page within the site.  You may find this hard to believe – and even harder to make happen – but simple is best.

5.  Playing hard to get – Contact pages are important.  Visitors want to feel like their opinions, problems, and ideas matter.  If your contact page automatically redirects to a FAQ page or fails to list a phone number/email address, you are telling your visitors you don’t really want to be contacted.  If you are afraid listing your email address will result in massive amounts of spam, consider tricking the bots, using a contact form with good captchas, or creating an online forum.

6.  Being too restrictive – Don’t make visitors identify themselves just to enjoy the functionality of your site.  Use registration sparingly.  And make sure your log-in barriers don’t lock away features that don’t really need to be locked up.

Now that you are all caught up on the mistakes others are making, let us know what you think.  Have your readers suffered because of your extreme creativity?  Have you seen a blunder someone else is making that we left off the list?  Tell us about it!

Blogger Logan Clement does web design for Subtle Network.  While far from perfect, Logan likes to think he is capable of avoiding the most obvious creative blunders; he tries to keep things like usability and practicality in mind!