5 Blunders you dont want to commit in your website design

5 Blunders you dont want to commit in your website design

The web is a harsh place where a book is very often judged by its cover. No matter how rational your intentions are, just a few mistakes and your site can be written off by potential customers.

It doesn’t matter if your budget isn’t monolithic, your website design still deserves to be right. Creating a user friendly, eye-catching design for the web today, is as crucial as having a driving license for driving.

Here are 5 blunders you must avoid while etching out your web design.

Don't be afraid to make design mistake
Image Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/photos/92083328@N02/

1) No ‘DIY’ approach-Not here please!

It’s great if you have an interest in web designing. It’s also important that you know exactly what you need, and how would it be done. But, when it comes to a professional website where you have a business interest in mind, you must seek an expert’s help (unless you’re a web designer by profession).

It’s a lot like being a deep admirer of cars; where you know the technicalities; but that doesn’t mean you would go out and manufacture a car by yourself.
DIY approaches can work well for a personal blog. But that should be it.

Knowing isn’t enough, it is experience that counts. Don’t forget your website will be operating in a space where 1st impressions are everything. There are some essentials that shouldn’t escape you during the designing process. Only a professional web designer, who is trained enough can do justice to it. Don’t make your customers get an inkling of a half-baked, flawed self effort. It won’t create a great impression.

2) A Perplexing Website entry

Think of the entry of your website as the entry to your real life store. You clearly wouldn’t want your visitors to witness any fireworks (flash animation), make them hear music or stuff their hands with flyers (advertisements) of other stores at the entrance.

An entry becomes inviting only when it isn’t fraught with distractions, else it can ruin your visitors experience to no end. The worst of the barriers are the pop-up ads and heavy flash animation. Even if your site provides a useful service but asks for -country, zip code or age- it still can be a turn off.

Also, stop concentrating your efforts only on the Home page. For all you know, your visitor can land up on your Blog or a service page. As it is, the focus is gradually shifting to entry pages as opposed to Home pages now.

3) No emphasis on Orientation

Just as, in your real life store, the significance of workers with a ‘may I help you’ badge is immense, a website entry must focus on offering a swift orientation to people. Visitors shouldn’t go round and round looking for what they need. The points of interest should be well laid out, straightforward and prominent. Unless you’re offering a bouquet of specialized services, listing too many things should be steered clear of.

For example the Whitehouse.gov is a clutter free website, having an inviting entry page. There’s also an unmissable search box that asks what you’re looking for.

whitehouse-clutter-free-website

 

Your services should be apparent to your visitor, but usability and appeal should not be compromised.

Take the iTunes Music Store page. It’s a tough task to design music catalogues that can entice both music buffs and curious first time visitors. But, the points of interest in this design are well spaced out, offering something to everyone.

iTunes Music Store - design music catalogues

4) Overloading it with Content

We know the success of your small business website is dear to you, but realizing your book writing ambition through your website is unfair.

Don’t scare away your visitors. Offer diversity by blending text with images and videos.

Your content is important, but make a distinction between what is a must, what deserves secondary importance and what you can do without. An invertedpyramid approach or a journalistic approach can be an ideal model. Prioritize the information, include the most important at the top, followed by the less important and so on.

People want to skim through the information as quickly as possible. Make them comfortable with what you’re about to say. Try to focus on-

. White spaces- It will allow you to turn the spotlight on meaningful content.

. Break up Information- Huge chunks of info should be divided into headings, subheads, bullets and paras.

. Space it well- Content should also be well spaced out. Having a proper line height, letter spacing, margins helps in glancing through it.

The site 37 Signals is an apt example, where the content doesn’t look daunting. In fact, the right spacing makes you want to read it

5) Low importance to ‘Links’ for internal Navigation.

Links show your users the way. It’s important to make them stand out, instead of phrases or words that are not links. It would be even better if you use a consistent font or color scheme for all the links, so users can be guided easily. Imparting other phrases (no matter how important they are) the same treatment will only confuse visitors. Create a pattern that’s easily graspable.

Especially when your site has multiple elements, a categorical division of links becomes all the more important.

Apart from the text links you may consider including

. Navigation bars (Horizontal or vertical)

. Tab Navigation (Where links appear as tabs)

. Sitemap (A page that lists every section and page on your website)

. Dropdown and Flyout Menus

Prominent news websites like The Washington Post, CNN and eCommerce platform Magento offer great navigability through effective linking.

Final Thoughts

It’s true, that the effect you want to create through your website can be marred quite easily. It is a tight rope where right proportions count. That is why it’s imperative to think through your goals, preferences, business objectives before going ahead.

Every single effort you take will contribute in carving the destiny of your website. In case you run a business, lay out a clear roadmap in front of you. And success won’t be too far!