As advances in technology and the Internet have allowed websites to utilize a bevy of creative enhancements, website design developed into an art and a science.
Advanced HTML and sophisticated software has thankfully rendered ugly frames a thing of the past, and layout possibilities are endless.
However, there are still many elements to avoid that can cause visitors to wince, become frustrated, and ultimately leave your site in favor of another. As a website designer or someone seeking website design services, you may favor certain components. However, you must also realize that every website is different, and what may benefit one site may be detrimental to another.
Contact Active Web Group with assistance in developing a website and avoid the following pitfalls!
Avoid using extra large or extra small text, and creative fonts that are hard to read.
A website might have a great layout and creative graphics, but unnecessarily extra-large text can render that fancy layout displeasing. Worse still, it appears amateurish, unprofessional, and is the online equivalent of shouting. No one wants to be shouted at.
Likewise, text that is too small will turn visitors away. Sometimes an amateur web designer might purposely lower the font size in order to fit more text within a certain area on a web page. A better option would be to have a copywriter examine the text to see if there is anything that could be deleted. Visitors who are confronted by a mass of tiny text will likely click away before reading a single word.
Browsers today easily enable users to adjust the size of text as they see fit, so there really is no excuse for a website not to have text at a legible, reasonable size.
There is also no excuse for text blocks written in an artistic, creative font, unless perhaps it is a website showcasing fonts. Creative fonts are best left for headlines or captions consisting of only a few words. They are meant to make a bold or stylized impression. If used throughout an entire sentence, or worse yet, several paragraphs, readers will become frustrated and give up.
Annoying and intrusive, they instantly create a negative impression.
These days, there are several kinds of pop-ups webmasters and web designers may utilize, but most people agree: they are all annoying. The last thing a visitor to your website wants to see while viewing your content is a pop-up that suddenly obscures a portion of your page.
Most browsers are now equipped with pop-up blockers, but they don’t block everything, and even when they do, it’s also annoying to receive a message that a pop-up has been blocked. Users prefer to have no interaction with pop-ups whatsoever, and a good website would be smart to avoid using them.
Information is great. Too much information is not.
Visitors click on your site looking for information. They want to find that information quickly. If faced with a page showing dozens of links, multi-tiered drop-down menus, excessive paragraphs of text, pictures placed haphazardly, and virtually no discernible structure, they will leave.
There is no need to compile as much information as possible onto a single web page. It’s understandable that a business might want to let visitors know about all aspects of a business, but certainly there is a better way to present it. Your home page should contain pertinent information about the company, the links leading to the expansions on what your company offers, sells, or promotes, and any additional links to other areas of the site, such as your company’s philosophy or contact information.
Additionally, text should be laid out in a neat manner. One long block of text is frustrating to read. Separate paragraphs, and use bold captions to summarize content.
Flash effects and animations
Flash is great, except when it delays access to information.
Many templates are Flash based, and the allure of such creative bells and whistles may be hard to resist. Ultimately though, such effects can begin to wear thin on a visitors patience. Customers don’t care if a link vibrates, shakes, glows, rattles or dings when they hover the cursor over it or click on it. They just want to click-through to the next page.
Additionally, unless your entire site is meant to be excessively creative, avoid using flash animations that last longer than a second or two, or need a few seconds to load before running. Delaying a visitor access to the information they seek will frustrate them. And don’t forget, many Internet users are still on dial-up, and flash animations will seriously hamper the performance of your website on computers with a slower Internet connection.
If you must use them, make sure they are optimized for the Web.
Large images are fine if your website is showcasing art or photography; visitors expect it then. But otherwise, large graphics or images can look sloppy and worse yet, slow down a web page’s loading time if not optimized for the Web. Again, someone on dial-up is not going to wait 30 seconds for an image to load.
Active Web Group is Long Island’s leading full-service online marketing agency. Please view our web design portfolio, and be sure to follow AWG on Twitter for online marketing tips, news, and information.