I am going to be brutally honest here, readers. Culturally speaking, the United States doesn’t see art-related careers as an important skill set. At worst things like designing graphics and building websites are publicly viewed a useless talent that leads to little hope for a career prospect and at best it is treated as a quaint hobby that anybody can do with a bit of hard work and no formal training.
Too often I have seen business owners and students with very little aesthetic know how, try their hand at designing a website only to have abandoned their project halfway through or worse, created one of the most outdated and worst looking websites known to the internet.
However, that does not mean that someone must have a formal education in order to do web design, but it does mean that they just have to take the time to learn the important rules of aesthetic appeal. Because in the world of marketing and advertising, appearances matter.
That is why I decided to make a list of the worst mistakes that someone new to web design should their hardest to avoid.
Number 7: Lack of Content Organization
When you were taught to write in school, you started learning the structure speech, then words, then eventually you could sort them into essays and/or books with multiple paragraphs in a standard format that everyone could understand.
Web content has the same structure that makes it easy to convey the message of the site to the audience through both the use of words and illustrations.
The content in the center of the web page (much like the paragraphs in an essay) is supposed to be structured in such a way that the viewer can tell which section the content is supposed to belong to. If the sections are clustered together with little space or too far apart, your website will look like an untidy mess, not unlike a kindergartner who has yet to master penmanship or grammar structure.
Content for your website needs to sorted in such a way that it looks cohesive to the audience and should follow the path that naturally draws the eye in a top to down and left to right direction with enough space in between for the reader which section is which.
Here are a few resources that can better explain what I mean:
Number 6: Lazy Use of Graphics
Have you ever watched an old television show or a movie at some point in your life and noticed that the quality of the footage was filled with grainy squiggle lines, or that you could see the edge of the film strip? These visual hiccups deter the audience from focusing on the film completely and ruins the immersive experience almost completely.
So, when customers see your website with an image that has a watermark on it from the stock site that you took your image from, or left-over pixels where the background of an image used to be or just blurry photos, these visitors are not going to be interested in your business. Because these errors reek of unprofessionalism, possible copyright infringement, and outright laziness.
The general rule of thumb when selecting your images is that it needs to be at the highest resolution possible, aka the size with the highest number of pixels, only use your own images or images that are free for public use and to make sure that you download png images so that the backgrounds are transparent and not white.
For further resources, check these pages out:
Number 5: Bad Color/Pattern/Texture Combinations
It is almost surprising how much colors, shapes, and visual textures could influence how people communicate with each other. The right combination of those elements can send either an intended message that can attract an audience and the wrong combination relay a poorly made, unintentional message that can turn potential customers and connections away.
Oftentimes I have seen websites that either too many textures, blinding/inappropriate colors, and patterns that make no sense.
Here are a few resources that will help if you are struggling with colors and patterns.
For further resources, check these pages out:
Number 4: Bad Typography
When it comes to building a website, typography, aka the way that your letters and words are styled and sorted, is almost more important than your choice of colors and patterns for your website. Good typography serves two important functions. It both must be easy for your audience to read your content and it must set the proper tone.
You would not believe how many times, I have seen site owners choose an ill-fitting font for their main typeface, or that the size of the chosen font was too small for anyone to read properly. And if your customer or audience has to struggle with either the identity of your website or with reading the necessary text, they will not bother sticking around to try to figure it out.
Here is a link to a couple of resources that put you in the right direction as far as what fonts to use, and what to avoid.
Number 3: Lack of Site Updates
With various professional fields (especially when technology or medicine is involved), it is crucial to keep up with the ever-consistent changing tide of progress, lest you get swallowed in a sea of competition. Web design is no exception to these rapid changes in not only aesthetics but in user experience and functionality.
Between the constant creation and updates for both mobile devices and computer programs it is important that you consistently update your design to keep the structure ‘up to code’. In layman’s terms check and see if the website builder you use is up to date or if the program is discontinued.
But even that is more forgivable than the lack of content updates to your website. If you have changed your address, your phone number, or if you no longer offer a service then it would be important to take the extra time to notify your customers of these major changes. But I have seen many a website fail to make these updates and wind up literally turning their own customers away, simply because of the unnecessary confusion.
Below is a list of top website building programs and hosts that are more recent to more outdated:
Number 2: Poor Grammar
The English language is hard to grasp sometimes, and nobody is grammatically correct 24/7 when it comes to sending text messages or typing out paragraphs. However, it takes a special kind of trolling or an almost brilliant form of laziness, if your customer requires translation for the rampant chat-speak in your blog. With no periods at the end of your sentences, no capitalization at the beginning of your sentences, and atrocious spelling that can make a third-grade teacher cry, virtually no one will have the patience or the time to take your website seriously or do business with your establishment.
To avoid this web design sin, you can either have someone edit your content for you, or you can consult the multitude of websites that can help you with spelling and grammar errors in the links below:
Number 1: Audio Automatically Playing in the Background
Back in the days of Myspace yore, web pages took ridiculously long to load, and you have a very limited amount of RAM to navigate with on your home computer, so when you loaded a friend’s profile page and you heard the latest pop ballad or television theme song, you were pleasantly surprised and entertained while you were looking at the photos of your latest outing.
10 years later, you have at least 20 web page tabs open, along with a word processor program and a playlist of your own music and when you click on a link, you hear a second audio track that is playing loudly and you don’t know where it is coming from.
What has been an amusing gimmick in the early 2000’s has now become an utter annoyance that is not unlike having nails screeching on a chalkboard and unless you are a musician with a playlist that can be turned on and off, you have no business embedding any audio of any sort on your blog or website.
For a list of reasons why this would be a great design handicap for your website, check out the links below:
Do you agree or disagree with me? Or maybe there was something I missed on the list. If you want to talk about it, comment on this page or on our Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/purpletieguys