Whether you are a web designer or a client, you need to stay abreast of changes in the online world and the latest trends in user behaviour. What was the norm a few years ago might be a mistake today.
Having a neat, functional website is a good way to build a reputation among customers, investors, or readers. Studies show that a users’ impression of a company’s website influences their impression of the company’s products or services. If you want to show your customers or readers that you care about them, your website should be designed with their needs and expectations in mind. The number one rule of digital marketing is: think about your online and offline audience first. This should be the primary objective for web designers, developers, marketers, content or essay online writers.
When a user enters a website, the first thing he/she notices are the pictures, colors, and fonts used on the site, not the text itself. Scientifically, the human eye first distinguishes images and shapes – not words and their meanings. After that, we decode the intended message of communication.
Statistics claim that a user decides to stay or leave a website within just .05 seconds. You can try it out yourself by browsing different websites and tracking the time it takes you to come up with at least one general characteristic of what you see. The good news is that you have about 10 seconds in reserve if a user does decide to stay on your website. However, you shouldn’t console yourself with this number.
There are multiple guidelines that teach web designers what to do in order to make their designs user-friendly and beautiful. Strangely, few of them mention what NOT to do in order to achieve the same result. So let’s go through the don’ts of web design that you should avoid at all cost.
1. Going into metaphors (specially on your homepage)
When a user enters your website, he/she should understand who you are and what the website is all about.
For example, if you sell custom mugs, the mugs should be the protagonists of your website. The user should see pictures of the mugs first up. Don’t make them guess what they can buy from you. A friend of mine who ran a similar website wanted to add pictures of people standing in the snow, feeling cold, looking miserable because they didn’t have the mugs and couldn’t drink hot coffee from them. Thankfully he refrained from implementing the idea.
The point is, you might think it looks creative to get into metaphors, but that is actually a code which your customer is expected to decipher. And your customer simply has no time or wish (or both) to do it. If you want to grab the attention of your customer, get to the point – showcase the product upfront. Make the product or service the protagonist of your site, don’t get into metaphors.
2. Getting on users’ nerves with things they don’t expect
Users don’t expect Adobe Flash software in operation. They also don’t expect autoplay music, videos, and pop-ups. If you intend to serve any of these features as a creative element of surprise, it’s a bad idea.
Flash is popular among hackers, and that puts users at risk. Music and video on a website are great as long as they aren’t played automatically. Pop-up menus and dialog boxes are popular on some websites, but they spoil the first impression of the site. You might think they serve a business purpose, but most users prefer to close them rather than to “learn more” or “get something right now”.
So, present your special offers in a more user-friendly and less obtrusive way.
3. Focusing on desktop layouts only
More than 50% of your audience is likely to browse your website on smartphones or tablets. That’s why it’s imperative that you make the website “responsive” so it works equally well on mobile and desktop, without forcing users to zoom or swipe in order to view the entire content.
What is welcomed by netizens is welcomed by Google’s AI. Mobile-friendliness is now one of the determining factors of your website’s position in Google’s ranking.
4. Pestering users to “like” your page on social media
Social media marketing is a powerful way to promote your brand in the digital world and you should put social media icons on your website. But you shouldn’t place massive buttons right at the top of a web page or in annoying popup dialog boxes. They should be subtle and unobtrusive. Showcase your product or service first. If a user is genuinely interested, they will add you on social media as well.
5. Striving for originality at the expense of navigation
Hidden menus, hidden buttons, hidden contacts may seem like original ideas, but they aren’t convenient or practical. Users would rather search for another website instead of playing hide-and-seek on yours. Your web design should respect the user’s time. When your customers can navigate the website easily and find the info they need, they will be more willing to purchase the offered product, use the offered service, or just read the offered story.
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