This blog is well put together by Kayleigh from MicroStartups and contains everything you need to know about making the right web design choices. It dives deep into the reality of offputting visuals and how it can affect your brand's reputation. So, give this piece a read.
Website design is the modern-day equivalent of dressing up your shop window.
Product images are how you arrange your stock. Content is the color you choose to paint the walls. Hitting the security essentials and presenting clear contact info is the digital version of service with a smile.
However, despite the litany of bad web design examples out there, from the disastrous to the hilarious, some webmasters still make unbelievable decisions when it comes to designing the virtual center of their business. Let’s look at some of the most common ones still popping up and why they spell failure.
The internet itself is built on the promise of unlimited options and potential.
Everything you could ever want to learn and explore is at your fingertips. A couple of clicks and you can find whatever you’re looking for and ship it directly to your door. Just because there are almost no limits to what you can do with your website doesn’t mean you should push it to breaking point though.
An abundance of options doesn’t make a website more appealing to more people, but rather kills its potential to properly please one group. This is particularly true in eCommerce, where row after row of roughly the same product with slight variations (such as color and size) can make it incredibly difficult for a visitor to find exactly what they’re looking for. Online shoppers have a limited attention span and almost zero tolerance for user experience they consider “less than perfect.”
Think about what you see when you walk into an Apple store. A limited range of products presented neatly with plenty of space to let them breathe. You can replicate this by giving your services and items space to let them sink in. Bombarding your visitors with information dilutes the effectiveness of the most crucial points.
Introducing filters can help your customers drill-down your selection to find exactly what they’re looking for. However, despite the freedom you’re offering them many customers find this a chore and tagging mistakes can lead to key products going unnoticed. Giving your visitors fewer options has been shown to focus the user’s attention and make landing those all-important conversions much cleaner.
Remember how we discussed giving your products space to breathe in the last section? That kind of presentation is crucial to designing a good website and something even seasoned developers and designers still haven’t figured out.
This is particularly true of content. Content has grown into one of the most important parts of growing an online business. There’s a reason everyone has a built-in blog. It attracts new viewers to your website and gives you the opportunity to capture them with a cycle of more content that eventually leads to conversion opportunities.
What many website owners and designers struggle to balance is their own vision for content and the natural restrictions of the web. By restrictions, we mean the habits of the people who consume such content. The basic principles of writing for the web should dictate any blog or description copy you write across a website. Use white space and short paragraphs to help readers fully take in what you’re reading or skim the article (as many online readers do).
Likewise, in terms of imagery, it’s not good enough to have varying degrees of quality across your website. Pixelated and stretched images don’t just make it difficult for visitors to decipher what they’re looking at but create an unprofessional perception of your business.
A lack of inconsistency can be incredibly jarring.
Imagine you’re on a website homepage. You click through to a new page and suddenly the background, font, and color scheme is dramatically different. Doesn’t sound like the most pleasant browsing experience, does it?
Above all else, you should look for clear, professional consistency in your website design. Experimenting with new features and presentation methods across different pages may sound like a fun way to make your website memorable, but it will become so for all the wrong reasons. In a worst-case scenario, your visitors might think they’ve been transported to an entirely different site and click off.
Inconsistency costs websites because it breaks the expectations people have set in their own minds. People like things that are familiar and don’t want to be suddenly shocked by new ideas and design choices.
This applies to everything on your website. Product imagery style needs to be consistent throughout and not deviate to generic stock imagery if you’ve taken a more bespoke visual route. The tone of voice should be the same throughout. And if you have a blog, have it built into the website, nobody wants to go to your separate WordPress add on.
Consistency is important because it appeals to the most basic human fears and desires, the yearning for the familiar, and a fear of change.
One of the biggest sins a website can commit in 2020.
A website forcing users to squint at a desktop screen jammed into tiny phone restrictions is enough to make a web designer quit their profession. Luckily for them, few things sink a website faster than not putting emphasis on mobile.
In the last few years, phones and tablets have become the primary way for many people to browse the internet. This has led to every major website and all websites with aspirations of success developing their own mobile-specific version. This makes website text more readable, links easier to click and re-emphases the most crucial information in a manner that fits the format.
Non-optimized websites fail on mobile because they’re essentially unusable. They resemble a broken version of a website more than they do one optimized for mobile, and can quickly turn off visitors. If a visitor does manage to navigate through your website while zooming in on text and continuously clicking the wrong link, they will come away from the whole experience thoroughly sick of your website.
Getting your website design right isn’t easy, but it’s also not impossible. These common mistakes are still being made to this day and continuing to put off an ever increasingly-savvy web audience. Hopefully, you can take away the message of why these choices fail and apply relevant fixes to your website.