Designing a website, even when given the structured steps offered by popular website builders, isn’t always easy. Often, it requires a trial and error approach, with flaws only becoming apparent later on. Usually, those can be tweaked or removed, but many sites businesses ignore basic design flaws – even when the consensus tells them it turns off readers and potential customers.
There is, of course, an argument that many website designs are being standardised. As you can see in this review of SimpleSite provided by top10.com/website-builders/reviews/simplesite , there is a criticism of the homogenisation of design. However, we could contend that some similarity of design and layout is preferable to fundamental flaws, and new websites are still making those mistakes in 2020.
Below we are going to look at five particular design bugbears that negatively impact the user experience, and, as such, might drive their custom elsewhere.
People will come to your site with the intention of finding something very specific, and that might not always be prominent on your homepage. You would be surprised at the number of websites that do not have a search function, or that have it placed it somewhere very difficult to locate on the site; we’ve even come across sites with black search icons on a black background, rendering it almost invisible. If the user can’t perform a simple keyword search for that particular piece of information, they’ll give up scrolling through your content after a while.
Linked with the above, although some websites would maintain that it’s a style preference. Having an endless feed of content in the same vein as a social media website feels like a smart idea, but it can also dissuade users from looking for a particular piece of content. Organising the feed into numbered sections, allowing users to click back to older content is much preferable. Moreover, users sometimes want to get to the bottom of the page, perhaps to see some “about us” credentials or other auxiliary information. Social media is designed for endless feed browsing; a website, even with news as its main output, should have some limits.
A design model that is prevalent among local and tabloid newspapers, especially in the UK. In short, visitors to the sites are met with an avalanche of content, often combined with a raft of pop up videos and data preference content. It’s overwhelming. Perhaps it’s designed to confuse, especially as there’s not always a clear line between the publication’s content and advertising. Another point to consider is how much the device being used to view the material can handle; even a fairly modern smartphone or laptop can have difficulty when several videos are trying to load simultaneously. That might be okay for a well-known brand, but the evidence suggests that people will abandon your site if the content takes more than a few seconds to load.
Given we all experience things subjectively, a template for the perfect website design does not exist. However, look at the logical layout of the Web Design Library homepage for some hints on how it is done right. A top article takes centre stage, with actionable buttons appearing down the left. Call To Action buttons also appear on the left, “Launch a Site in 15 minutes!”. It strikes a nice balance between providing easily locatable and prominent CTA clicks and not spamming the user with them. Look right to read the content; look left for more information – simple and effective. Many sites, most often that put visuals ahead of structure, can forget the CTA buttons, and it only hurts their business.
As with most things on this list, there is a balance to be struck here. Having long-form written content on your site is a good way to inch your business up SEO rankings. And yet, the presentation of written content can also encourage users to stop reading, regardless of how interesting it is. Breaking up a long article into manageable chunks is easy with H1 and H2 headings, but many websites simple publish tome-like texts. So many of us skim read content, and website owners should accept that as a reality by embracing it, not fighting it. The use of text boxes to summerise key points, larger font for emphasis and breaking up paragraphs with visuals are all weapons you should have in your artillery. If not, your content could look like a page from a book on an old Kindle device.
Copyright © . All Rights Reserved