As a business owner, you already understand that your website is the center of your marketing, sales, revenue and lead generation. Details that seem small can add up to make either a positive or negative impact on your business. Customers are more likely to trust businesses that show great attention to detail because it means they will show that same attentiveness with them. We have put together a checklist that will help you review your website design for commonly found errors. Eliminating these design problems where they exist will help improve your customers’ experience with your website and your brand.
The details are not the details. They make the design. — Charles Eames
Unorganized layout is one of the most common website design mistakes. Not utilizing proper white space around elements can make the page seem as cluttered as an overstuffed garage.
Overdesigned = Overwhelming. Less is more. Avoid clutter and let the messages on your website breathe a little. Breaking up content into digestible chunks and organizing information will allow users to find what they need with a glance and keeps them from being distracted.
Establishing A Hierarchy Through Design
The importance of items on a page is determined by size, color, prominence and grouping. Larger elements are more important than smaller ones. Items grouped together are related to each other. Headline text is usually a little darker than body text so that color and size are both cues to the hierarchy of information. A button that is boldly colored where other elements around it are muted indicates that it is a primary goal.
No Call To Action
Every page on your website should serve a purpose, whether it is to inform, convince, contact, or sell. Each page should lead users to a primary task that you would like them to do next. A call to action can be made more visible by a button, a graphic, or making the size or position more prominent. Having too many calls to action on a page can result in the user being overwhelmed and doing none of them, so be sure to decide what the main purpose of each page is beforehand.
Mismatched typography or using too many fonts that do not fit together can make your site look unprofessional. Some fonts work well together because they have similar letter shapes. Generally speaking, it is difficult to make a website design work with more than two font families, and three is usually the absolute limit. Certain fonts convey certain meanings or connotations, and choosing proper fonts for your brand is an important piece of your brand story.
Color and Contrast
Colors can also be a large part of your branding. Making sure that the colors on your website match your logo and branding adds consistency to your website. Contrast is also an important part of your site design. High contrast text is easier to read, such as black on white, or white on a dark background. Low contrast text and images are more difficult to interpret quickly.
Photos and images are essential to web design, as much of what we do is visual storytelling. But low resolution photos blown up too large can become pixelated and look gross. On retina devices, these can look even worse. Some websites distort feature photos or thumbnails, stretching them to dimensions that do not correspond to their original resolution. Making sure that photos are the right size for the task or are being cropped correctly helps a site look professional.
On the other end of the spectrum, overly large photos not optimized correctly can add unnecessary download time to a page. Why is this important? Numerous studies show that users are more likely to leave a page for each second it takes to load. A photo might look small on the page, but if the source photo file is enormous, the user is downloading unnecessary page weight. Optimizing photos and images for the appropriate target sizes can improve your website appearance and performance.
Issues With Navigation
Another common mistake is utilizing confusing navigation for your site. Users should know how to find what they need quickly and be able to navigate your navigation menu without being confused. Search bars are also hidden on some sites. Making the user hunt for a way to find information on your site can be a huge usability issue.
Making Users Guess
Violating known conventions in web design might seem edgy, but users come to expect certain things based on previous interactions with the web. Logos are almost always placed in the top left, navigation menus on the top row or side of the page because that is where people look for those elements. Changing the way that things work can be a bold move, but usability has to be considered every time.
Missing Social Links
Social media is a great tool for connecting and sharing with your customers and community when they are not on your website. Sites like Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter help keep you prominent in people’s minds. But it is a wasted opportunity when they cannot find links to your social media, or when they go to visit your external page, it leads somewhere else. Making sure that your social links are present and not broken should be a high priority for any business website.
No Mobile Capability
Lack of a mobile friendly website is one of the biggest opportunities for many small businesses. Over half the website traffic in the US came from mobile devices in 2013 and that number is sure to climb in the years to come. Reaching your customers where they’re at with a responsive website is a top priority for many businesses.
Let Us Review Your Website
If any of these design issues sound familiar, and you need a hand fixing your website, be sure to contact us and we can help get your website back on track.