Bad Web Design Practices to Avoid as a Web Designer
How many times have you abandoned a website before it is even fully loaded just because it was full of annoying things that a good website shouldn't have?
The web today is a lot different than the web 10 years ago. Obviously it has improved a lot in terms of technology and artistry. Websites and web applications have become faster, more user-friendly and graphically more attractive.
Although the latest trends in technology and graphics are applied on most websites, it is also not rare to come across websites that use the same concepts from the web of 2000 or even before.
Most of the newbie web designers and in some occasions some seasoned designers may make the same vital mistake that results in a bad web design: They design the website for themselves and not for the user. Hence, the user does not stay on their site. This is much like writing a novel for yourself and finding nobody to read it because it doesn't appeal to anyone.
If you drop the user off your mind in the design process, you will most probably end up with a poor website that has at least one of the bad design practices that we will discuss below.
Designing Your Website For Yourself
This is probably the first and biggest mistake that is frequently done by mostly newbies in web design. In fact, this is a natural instinct of any person who creates something.
When you start designing a website, forget about your tastes and preferences. Always keep the user at the center of your design process. Things you like may not seem as charming to the user as they do to you. And if you can't keep the user on your site then you should seek ways to improve your design (and your content).
Poor Visibility, Readability and Navigation
This is the second important factor that will determine whether a visitor will stay on your site or leave it in a few seconds. This is mostly caused by the improper selection of colors, fonts, images and other page elements. Some websites use too big images that make no sense at all. If a website is difficult to view, navigate or read don't forget that the user will not bother with it no matter how great the content is. Choose the commonly used font types and colors when designing your website and always keep improving the navigational elements so that your website will provide a good user experience.
You most probably have come across sites that have an entry type homepage with some Flash videos, images and Enter or Click Here to Visit Our Site type of links. Most users hate them and you, as a web designer, should hate them too. Do not force your visitors to click on an additional link to visit your homepage, when they already typed in your domain name in their address bar or clicked on another link to find your website. Give them what they are looking for right away, do not waste their time.
Music or Video that Starts Automatically
This is another bad web design practice that should be avoided even if it is a music store or a band's website. Most people enjoy listening to music, a lot. But almost all Internet users hate things that start automatically, out of their consent. Consider that a user is visiting your website in the office where there are many other co-workers working on their stuff and suddenly your website starts that annoying music, is it not natural for that visitor to leave your site instantly and most probably never return?
As for the autoplaying videos, you don't know in what environment your visitor is viewing your website, so playing a video automatically once your site is loaded may not be nice for the visitor at all times.
You should give the users an option (player controls) to play the music or the video as they prefer and not start anything automatically.
Popup windows may have been like an innovation but they have always been a disturbance. In years, popup windows have been used a great deal but lately more and more web designers are leaving them and creating less annoying designs. Besides, web browsers are offering an option to the user to block the popups. Popups should be avoided in general and they should be used only in special cases and without interfering with the user's actions.
Another bad web design practice is the use of excessive advertising. Everybody knows that most websites are monetized and supported by ads and that's fine but this fact shouldn't let you fill your website with advertisements, especially if they are not related to the content of the website.
You can't assure that your outbound links will be working all the time, websites come and go and a website that you link to today may not be live tomorrow. What you can do is that you can make sure that your inbound links are working properly. Double check your linking structure and page URLs so that your website will not have any broken links at least not internally. Also, if you go through site-wide changes make sure that all the links work properly.
These are some of the mostly used bad web design practices. Note that, the more you stay away from them, the more your visitors will like your website and want to stay on it and visit again.
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