By David Gutierrez.
A lot of work goes into building a website. No matter if you’re starting from scratch or using a template—creating a unique design, populating your site with compelling content, and optimizing all elements—takes time and energy. No one wants to go through that whole process only to end up with a subpar web presence.
Do yourself a favor and take some time to make sure you’re avoiding these common website design flaws.
Are Your Fonts Really Legible?
What value are people going to get from your site if they have to struggle to read your words? Font selection isn’t just important. It borders on an art form.
For starters, stay away from script fonts, except for very special situations. It’s okay if the name of your website is written in script. But beyond that, you really want to avoid it. Not everyone has great eyesight or is capable of reading odd fonts. Use options that are easily comprehensible by as many people as possible.
In addition, be aware of how font color interacts with the background color. If the colors or too similar, that can cause readability issues. Just think about reading neon yellow on a white background. Yikes!
Also be cognizant of potential color blindness issues. Ideally, your font should be significantly lighter or darker and a different hue than your background, as well as a legible size. Note in the example at right (shown at actual size) from the MNsure.org website, the type in the left menu is not only way too small but also light blue set against a darker blue–a terrible combination for readability.
Furthermore, you might run into issues when putting a font over an image. Make sure you have enough contrast between the font and the background image, otherwise it won’t read well. Have someone else read through your site. You know what everything says, so you’ll be biased to its legibility.
Are There Too Many Fonts?
You’ll run into content comprehension issues if you use too many fonts on your website. People aren’t going to know where they should focus their attention if there are all sorts of fonts screaming at them simultaneously.
Using too many fonts just doesn’t look attractive or professional. Stick with about three fonts across your entire site. Use website design tools to help you find the ideal type faces and icons to meet your design objectives.
How Fast Is Your Load Time?
The speed of your web page load time is critical to its success. Site abandonment is about 40 percent after only three seconds. People simply don’t want to wait around for something to load.
There are a few things that might really slow down your site—such as too many images at excessively high resolution. Here’s the thing: a slow site isn’t just annoying. It’s also going to hurt your organic search rankings, as search engines factor load speed into their algorithms. Be sure to compress your images to ensure faster load times.
Beyond compressing images, there are many other actions you can take to fix a slow website, from using a lightweight theme to avoiding the use of sliders and certain plugins.
Is Your Site Confusing?
There’s nothing positive to say about a confusing or illogical site design. Unless you’re intentionally trying to irritate your website visitors, sections should be clearly labelled in ways that make sense to users. You also want your navigation tools to be obvious and easy to use. People will inherently want to spend more time on your site if it can offer them a user-friendly website design.
Is Your Site Mobile Responsive?
Roughly 60 percent of searches now happen on a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet? That’s not surprising, considering how much time most of us spend using our mobile devices.
Unlike a desktop or notebook, your smartphone goes everywhere with you. This is why people are constantly using these products to conduct searches. A poor mobile design will impact overall engagement on your site.
Are You Effectively Using White Space?
Blank space, baby. It’s your friend. Trying to cram too much onto every page just looks busy and off-putting. Plus, it will overwhelm people when they visit your site. Make sure you use white space to your advantage. This will give your site a sleek, professional appearance.
Do You Have Error Pages?
We’ve all ended up at 404-error pages when clicking an incorrect or outdated link. Isn’t it infuriating when you want to visit a page but can’t? Page-not-found errors are not only aggravating for your site visitors but can also negatively impact your search engine rankings; search engine algorithms don’t look favorably on index errors. Make sure all your pages are working at all times. If you find a loading error, fix it as soon as possible.
There are countless ways you can improve upon the design of your website. These are just some of the most egregious mistakes that people make on their pages. Eliminate these errors and you’ll end up with a much stronger final product.
David Gutierrez started his career as a web designer in 2005. In 2012 he founded a creative design agency. Now it serves clients all over the world across multiple industries with a specific focus on FMCG and Fin-Tech.