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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

8 Top Website Design Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

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Did you know that the world is home to almost 2 billion websites? However, 83% of those sites are inactive.

One reason websites become inactive is that their owners have abandoned them. An example is if the site is for a business that has already closed for good. Another is if the site doesn’t perform well and is too much work to revamp.

The top website design mistakes, in turn, can make both scenarios likely to occur. For starters, 3 in 4 consumers look for a company’s online presence before visiting in person.

So if a business has a poorly designed site, it can repel rather than attract clients. That can then lead to profit and customer losses that contribute to business closure.

That’s enough reason to ensure you avoid committing web design blunders.

Below, we’ll tell you all about such errors, so read on.

1. Disregarding Your Target Market

One of the top web design mistakes you must avoid is designing it for yourself, not your target audience.

Remember: Your target market is your website’s intended audience and visitors. It refers to the people you wish to market and sell your products or services to.

Therefore, your website design must account for your target’s wants, not yours.

Let’s say you, the website owner, belong to the 30 to 49-year-old age range. On the other hand, your target market consists primarily of adults aged 65 or older.

As someone between 30 and 49 years old, the odds are high that you use Facebook, which 77% of people in the U.S. in this age group do. As a result, you’re likely considering FB Messenger as your site’s only live chat option. However, that may not be a good idea, as only half of the folks in the U.S. aged 65 and older use Facebook.

So, research your target market’s preferences before creating a new website design. That way, your site will appeal to them and make them want to stay and purchase your goods or services.

2. Failure to Consider Visibility Issues

As many as 20 million people in the U.S. have a visual impairment. These individuals have difficulty seeing and reading. They find it hard to read, much less the micro-sized texts used on most web pages.

Visual impairments most often affect older people, but they can occur in anyone, even kids. Thus, regardless of your target, you must consider your site’s visibility features. This is a crucial step in ensuring your website meets online accessibility guidelines.

One way to make your site more accessible to folks with visual impairments is to let them enlarge its font size. Another is to make it compatible with the zoom capabilities of browsers. Finally, code it in a way that it allows for the use of screen reader software.

3. Inaccessible to People With Hearing Impairment

Hearing impairments affect about 15% of U.S. adults aged 18 and older. These problems cause various severities of hearing loss, ranging from mild to severe. If your site isn’t accessible to these folks, they won’t be able to understand your audio and video content.

To design a site for accessibility for the deaf and hard of hearing, use textual alternatives. For example, you should caption videos with subtitles. You must also provide a written transcript for your audio and video content.

4. Forgetting About Responsive Web Design

Mobile phones now account for over 60% of website traffic. That’s nearly twice that of desktops and tablets, which only generate 39.34%!

If you were to create a website without a responsive design, you could lose many visitors. That’s because your site won’t display correctly on devices it isn’t optimized for.

Suppose you design a website only for desktop display. People who view its content on a 22-inch screen won’t have to scroll sideways. However, if a visitor tries to view it on a 5-inch mobile device, they’d likely have to slide it from one side to another.

That’s a problem because it makes reading more challenging. For instance, if visitors had to keep swiping, they might miss one or two lines of the content they’re reading. As a result, they may not completely grasp the meaning of your content.

That’s why you should always avoid website issues relating to responsiveness. Instead, incorporate a responsive web design from the get-go. This means ensuring the site responds to and displays correctly on each user’s device.

For example, a site with a responsive design shows up on a mobile screen in a single-column view. This then turns into a two-column view on tablets.

5. Not Thinking About Navigability

Navigability is an essential design aspect that makes it easy for visitors to move around a site. It consists of menus, buttons, links, and their placement on a webpage.

If you design your site without factoring in navigability, it will confuse visitors. It’ll make them ask more questions instead of getting the answers to the ones they initially had.

Suppose you make the mistake of using only icons instead of text to label all your menus and buttons. While a shopping cart may be easy to understand, a button with an image that can mean many things isn’t.

An example is if you use a button with an image of a document to redirect to your main blog page. Another is using an icon that looks like a computer screen for linking to your site’s video library.

While some people may get what those buttons are for, not everyone will.

So, make your site’s navigability as easy and direct as possible by using text on your main menu. For instance, use labels like “Our Services,” “Products We Offer,” “About Us,” “Our Blog,” and “Contact Us.” Also, ensure their font size is big enough to make them stand out.

6. Packing Too Much on One Page

This mistake can lead to other problems, such as cognitive overload and slow site speed.

Cognitive overload is when a site user faces too much information while looking at a page on your site. This can occur if a visitor sees a barrage of animations, graphics, logos, or text in one go. It’s very confusing, even more so for people with cognitive impairment.

It’s imperative to avoid cognitive overload as it can result in site abandonment.

Other elements that can cause cognitive overload if used excessively include the following:

  • Pop-up messages
  • Advertisements
  • Banners
  • Hyperlinks
  • Call-to-action buttons

Having too many of those elements on one page can also cause your page speed to drop. Slow-loading pages, in turn, are a leading culprit behind site abandonment. Indeed, 53% of mobile site visits get abandoned because the sites take more than three seconds to load.

To avoid such costly mistakes, use only relevant graphics on each web page. You can also reduce cognitive overload by minimizing distractions like ads and links.

7. Using Random Image Names

The images you use when designing your site aren’t only for attracting attention. They can also help make your site rank better on search engine results. That’s because search engine algorithms also read image file names.

Thus, the more relevant the name is, the better search engines can “understand” what the image is all about.

For the same reason, avoid using generic file names like “home-page-header.jpg.”

Instead, name your images appropriately to improve your site’s search engine optimization. One way to do this is to use terms that describe each picture’s contents.

For example, if you sell baked goods, you can use “cakes-cookies-loaves.jpg” for your home page image. Then, use “XYZ-cookies.jpg” (with XYZ being your brand name) for an image that only contains cookies. You can also use specific terms to identify the cookie, like “XYZ-choco-chip-cookies.jpg.”

8. Overestimating Your Design Abilities

A professionally built and designed website can cost thousands of dollars. As a result, many people turn to build-your-own-site creators to save on costs.

If you have experience in graphic and web design, you can use a DIY site creator. However, remember that you also have to research your market first. You must then code your site to ensure it meets accessibility guidelines.

All those necessary steps can prolong the launch of your website. And the longer it takes you to publish your site, the more potential customers you can lose.

On the other hand, an expert web designer already knows the ins and outs of accessibility. These pros also have tools, contacts, and networks to assist in their market research.

Many web design pros also specialize in SEO themselves or work with SEO experts. So, you can work with one of these professionals instead of hiring many agencies. Examples include Avenue 25, Azuro Digital, and The Charles, to name a few.

Avoid These Top Website Design Mistakes

As you can see, many of the top website design mistakes you should avoid at all costs have to do with accessibility. Even web design responsiveness, navigability, and content share a link with site accessibility.

So, before creating a DIY website, understand what you’re getting into first. This can help you determine if your skills are enough or if hiring web design pros would be in your best interest.

For other business and tech-related reads like this, browse more of our blog now!

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