For designers outside the sphere of digital marketing, web design continues to remain somewhat of a mystery. They are seldom aware of digital marketing principles, and their lack of knowledge is reflected in the web design they create for online users.
Although website design and development is not easy by any means, the more significant challenge lies in making a website that is useful for online users.
Designers tend to forget that the websites they create should not be based on their preferences, but the needs of online users. And while creativity plays a crucial part in web design, many designers make the mistake of prioritizing it over the usability and practicality of websites, which can adversely affect the user experience and overall web traffic.
Any mistakes committed in the web design process influences the responsiveness and the number of leads a website receives – everything that can potentially turn customers away. In this article, we discuss the five most damaging web design blunders in 2020 that can hurt your business.
1. Not Creating a Responsive Design Website
Websites continuously need to keep up with ongoing design trends, changes in browsing behavior, and device and software updates. Websites optimized for responsiveness, in particular, are better prepared to stand the test of time.
Responsive design is a dynamic version of a typical web page. It uses breakpoints and components to readjust the size and position of photos, buttons, and containers when the screen size of a particular device changes.
As a result, the graphical elements of a website can adjust automatically, even when flipping from a vertical to a horizontal screen view on your phone. Similarly, websites made for desktops can automatically switch to mobile sites and vice versa.
With that said, usability isn’t the only consequence of responsive design. The use of mobile devices is increasing at an exponential rate. According to various studies, the overall traffic from mobile devices now consists of more than 50% of the total traffic online.
As a result, search engines have started to consider website responsiveness while ranking websites. For instance, Google now acknowledges responsiveness as a necessary element of website design. The search engine extracts a website’s metadata with the help of the Virtual Viewport and compares the original version vs. the mobile version. In the end, the quality of responsiveness of your website determines whether or not your website will rank higher than other websites in the search engine.
Needless to say, neglecting website responsiveness during the design phase can come back to hurt you. A non-responsive web design doesn’t align with the screen size of mobile devices and displays on large screens.
As a result, issues with alignment and usability can dissuade website visitors from exploring your website. Furthermore, since the majority of internet traffic originates from mobile devices, you can lose half of all your potential leads just because of a single mistake. If you want to evaluate how your website responsive design is performing, you can refer to the Search Console in Google Analytics.
2. Poor Readability and Legibility
We have often heard digital marketers talk about the importance of the readability of content. However, when it comes to web design, we will discuss the readability of web content from a different perspective. In web design, readability of text refers to how easily one can read a piece of information, semantically, as well as visually.
With that said, readability is often confused with legibility. Although readability and clarity are similar, they are not the same thing. Legibility refers to the ease with which your readers are able to decipher each individual letter in a string of text on your website. This is why legibility relates to the design typography you use to display text.
Both readability and legibility are crucial elements of your website design. An optimized user interface may be good enough to grab the attention of a website visitor, but the text still needs to be readable and comprehensible to convey the information the reader needs to know.
Some web designers use strange text fonts to showcase their love for creativity. However, unusual web fonts make it harder for website visitors to read the content posted on the website, which makes all their designing efforts go in vain.
This is why it’s necessary for website designers to consider the goals of their readers when designing web pages. The website should convey context and all relevant information successfully while respecting the reader’s time by making it concise and easy to digest.
3. Unorganized Content Layout
The readability of content is important because content is what drives the majority of organic traffic to a website. However, the way you structure website content affects how much traffic your website will receive and can lead to the success or failure of the website.
Web designers need to remember that website visitors seldom read lengthy content in extensive detail and attention. For the most part, they usually skim through information and pick out relevant points of interest from the content.
Therefore, putting large blocks of text on web pages and neglecting text styling, such as headings, sub-headings, bullet points, paragraphs, and keywords altogether, can put off visitors quickly. Moreover, some designers fail to designate an appropriate page title to individual web pages while others forget to name the web page they are designing.
However, the biggest mistake is posting inaccessible, inaccurate, insignificant, and irrelevant content on websites. Web designers need to remember that the content must always be useful and coincide with the overall theme of the website.
Furthermore, it’s best to organize website content based on HTML and CSS tags while creating the web design of your pages. At the same time, it’s necessary to make smart use of whitespace and margins between text and images. If you want the content to enhance the performance of your website, it should not only be new but also updated, accurate, and useful to website visitors.
4. Poor Navigation
The navigation of your website needs to be seamless so visitors can find their way around the website easily. Although there is no specific standard for creating a navigation structure for websites, you should remember to keep the internal navigation simple, intuitive, and consistent.
If you are using text as a standard for navigation, then the text needs to be concise. On the other hand, if you are using visual metaphors as a guideline for navigation, you should avoid reinventing them.
Lastly, when using hyperlinks in a body of text, you must make sure that these links stand out from the rest of the text. You should avoid dead links at all costs on all of your web pages. Dead links create confusion among website visitors and waste their time. Similarly, homepages that resend visitors back to the homepage is a big NO for website designers.
Lousy navigation can hurt user experience and, thus, affect the conversion rate of your business in the long term. It’s a good idea to utilize textual descriptions to define links and make website navigation smoother and more intuitive.
5. Using Practices That Hurt SEO and Website Performance
Website design can be a double-edged sword when it comes to SEO. Lousy implementation of web design can hurt SEO instead of helping it. Anything from the website structure, navigation, menu, page titles, image labels, and website code can influence how the website will perform.
For instance, if you use images to convey messages and try to replace headings and subheadings with graphics, it can hurt the SEO of your website. Search engines use tags, such as subheadings, and others, to understand the context of content and categorize them for ranking. So using images instead of headings does not contribute to this, and your website can get ignored.
With that said, it is not just about using or not using images in web design. Images appeal to website visitors as it is easier for humans to comprehend visual messages. However, it’s vital to consider the loading time of images you include in your website design.
Images that have a huge size will to slow your website down and create a bad user experience. Additionally, the way you serve images by using third party hosting (CDN) and plugins, as well as the formats you use for these images, also have an impact on the SEO of the website. Web designers need to make proper use of HTML and CSS tags to classify text within your website to make it more accessible.
Avoiding these common errors while designing your website, you can transform your website into a lead-generating machine.