To create a fantastic user experience, it is important to avoid bad web design. How do you know your web design is appealing enough to attract customers? Here are 10 design flaws and shortcomings to look out for:
- Too cluttered
Late 90s and early 2000 web design a notorious for having too much on one page. This is still a problem for certain companies that have a lot to say and show. Unfortunately, this leads to pages that are hard to navigate and understand. Your costumer will look elsewhere for what they need. Prioritize the information that fits your main goal. Your design does not have to be minimalist, but make sure there is enough space to read text and that each web element isn’t smashed into each other. Be careful with heavy patterns for backgrounds.
2. Inconsistencies in UI
Too many different colors, fonts, and navigation styles between each page can really hurt branding. You want to make sure each page looks like it belongs to the same company and website. If possible, have a style guide that has the correct info for font choices and color of your company. Differentiation should be subtle and mostly on a layout level. If you are struggling with this task hire a design or marketing agency to audit your website and help make changes.
3. Poor typographic hierarchy
Headlines, subheads, and body copy should be easy to read and identify. Each of these elements are a different level. Use different sizes, weights, and styles to help create these different levels. If you have a lot of text that needs to be in the body copy, make sure you break it up into short paragraphs and line heights. Bullet points can also be an option for products or services that are listed out. Per point 2, make sure your choices are consistent on each page, but not on an individual element level.
4. Confusing iconography
Icons are visual cues for the content the visitors about to read. You want your potential client to immediately recognize what the icon represents. Avoid using metaphorical or abstract icons, especially for important or life saving information. Universal Icons are free on many websites like freepik.com or flaticon.com. If you still don’t see an easily recognizable shape, use label to prevent confusion.
5. Poor form design
Forms to subscribe, request a quote, or other contact-based activities must be user-friendly or submission rate with be low. Keep their design as short as possible to achieve your goal. For example, subscription forms usually only have name and email address fields. For buttons, make sure they are highly visible, and the label is also a call-to-action. Use auto-mated error messages for any required fields not filled out and confirmation messages for when the form is successfully submitted. Break up long forms into smaller pages. For example, a checkout form, might be split into pages for shipping information, billing information, and reviewing the purchase before submitting. Don’t forget to indicate progress to users as they work through these pages.
6. Poor alignment
Info and images should be aligned in a way that users know that they are related to each other. Organize your images into folders and label your images related into your content. That way you or a designer know which image is related to which content. Grids and wireframes are a good way to determine a layout before going into formal design.
7. Irrelevant imagery
Photos and illustrations should be related to your brand as well as your products or services. Ideally it would be great to have a professional photographer or illustrator that can capture everyday functions of your business. If a professional is not available, search for stock photos that you can directly tie into your content.
8. Lack of contrast
Lack of contrast in text, color, and graphics is visually unappealing and my even cause harm to the accessibility of your website. Avoid light text on a light background or dark text on a dark background, especially for important info. People with a visual impairment will click off your website if they can’t find the info they need in clear and precise manner. Some colors contrast on print better than web, so make sure if using a graphic that was previously on printed material you convert the colors to web safe versions or substitute a color that is clashing.
9. Poor user research
To create a practical design, you need to understand your audience’s needs. Your website can be well design and function beautifully, but if it is directed at the wrong target audience you will get few clicks. Remember to focus on the problem that your product or service will solve. Test different designs and iterations that showcase the solution to the users’ problem. Include SEO-friendly content that will help search engines direct your website to the correct audience.
10. Lack of accessibility
Often, people tend to forget visually impaired or hard of hearing users for their website. Have features that easily found and buttons that are big enough to use. Do a squint test for text and graphics. This will help you determine if user can figure out what the item is even if it is blurry. Include alt text and meta descriptions for images. E-readers on computers will be able to read the image and relay the info back to the user. If you have any videos, include subtitles for those hard of hearing. If you are a text heavy website, have a speaker feature that can read the text out load to the user.
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