Web design isn’t as tricky as it sounds, but it’s not that easy either. Beginners may commit the worst mistakes in terms of designing their websites, and even seasoned web developers are not exempt. That’s why it’s a good idea to be reminded of basic rules of thumb when it comes to creating a website.
Designing a website can trigger creativity in people, but sometimes it can go overboard. Some website designers tend to put everything they’ve got on their projects, to a point where function is sacrificed over form. Meanwhile, in some cases, even the most basic elements that create a pleasant user experience may be forgotten.
We’re listing down five of the biggest and most basic Web design mistakes that web developers may be committing. Watch out, because you might be guilty of some of these!
Missing Search Box
Most websites contain several pages, and the site visitor may need to look for a particular section of your site. The search box is probably one of the first things that they will need. If you don’t provide search functionality on your site, you’re essentially leading them to a poor visitor experience. Eventually, your visitors will turn to other sites that have the content that they’re looking for.
Putting a search box is easy. You may use a built-in search function in popular website frameworks like WordPress, or install Google Custom Search.
Just like the importance of the search box, having a good navigation system within the website will help your site visitors find the content that they need. Otherwise, they might not enjoy their visit to your website, and end up going to a competitor site. That’s not good for business, is it?
Navigation may come in many forms, but the following tips will help you set up effective navigation functionality:
- Hypertext links: The link color must be different from the rest of the page content. Set up textual descriptions for each link so that the visitors have an idea what the link leads to.
- Header menu: A standard website has a menu at the top of the page, in order to make site navigation easy for the user. Some web designers opt to use other kinds of menu placement (i.e. on the sidebar, a floating menu, or a footer menu), but what’s important is that the site visitor must be able to access your other pages easily.
Fixed Screen Resolution
The scrolling functionality may have resurfaced as a Web design trend this year, but horizontal scrolling must never – and we mean NEVER – happen in your website. This happens when the width of your website exceeds the site visitor’s screen size, and especially if the site width is fixed.
If you don’t know responsive Web design, this might be a good time to read up and learn about this trend. Responsive websites automatically adjust their width to the screen resolution of the site visitor’s browser window. Your website must be able to change its width between full-sized monitors, tablets, and smartphones so that the visitor won’t think that your site is broken.
Useless Images or Animation
Too much of a good thing is bad, and it’s applicable in Web design as well. Visual imagery can instantly puff up the beauty of a page, but not if it’s done excessively. Remember that images are used to enhance the textual content and not compete for the spotlight, unless you’re having a photography website.
In similar fashion, animation is now gradually being reintroduced as a Web design trend to make the page come alive. Some of the animated elements in this generation’s websites include moving numerical counters, sliders, and graphs. Again, it must be emphasized that animation should make the user experience better and not be the center of attraction for your site.
Think Google vs. Yahoo! in terms of page content. Google’s uncluttered and whitespace-heavy layout works well to highlight the hero of the page: search results. Unfortunately, many web designers forget the value of whitespace. In short, they try to cram too much design elements on a single page, leading them to create extremely cluttered and convoluted pages that site visitors may find unattractive. In other words, each page must have a specific purpose.
We hope this refresher has been valuable. If you can think of other web design mistakes we should all avoid, leave us a comment.