Top 5 mistakes people make when designing a website

Here's a few tips to keep in mind when designing a website to make sure it doesn't fail.

Here's a few tips to keep in mind when designing a website to make sure it doesn't fail.

Designing a website is a big job. There’s plenty to consider when it comes to the brand, the target market and the functionality of the site based on the product or content type. There’s a few things that you need to keep in mind to make sure the final design isn’t a fail.

  1. Unorganised Content Layout: A website’s content is what drives traffic. How the content is structured is what will make it a success, or a failure. Users tend to scan through information before they consider actually reading it. So use headings, sub-headings, bullets and keywords to highlight points of interest on a web page to ensure they stay engaged.

      Design suggestions:

    • Create enough white space between your text and images.
    • Don’t forget to review your design and be consistent over time. This doesn’t just refer to adding new content, but also to spotting and correct past mistakes by ‘root(ing) out the weeds and replant the flowers as the website changes’ – Jakob Nielson

  2. Bad Navigation: Navigation within a website should be seamless so that users can easily find their way around. While there is no standard, it is vital to understand that navigation must be intuitive and consistent.

      Design suggestions:

    • Make navigation smooth by using textural descriptions for all links. Provide alt text for images. Use alternative text description techniques for Flash or JavaScript links.
    • Organise and structure your navigation to be in line with the theme of your website. Personal websites can be more creative and experimental yet accessible, but business websites need to be clear and efficient.

  3. Inconsistent Interface Design: Don’t be excessive in your creativity! You don’t need to create different designs for every web page within a website. It can be attractive, but if the overall look and feel is not consistent users cannot relate to it and will feel less in control.

      Design suggestions:

    • Use a standard consistent template for every page and link back to the main sections of the site.
    • One word – Simplicity. Create aesthetically simple designs and users will never get confused on your website.

  4. Poor Readability and Legibility: Obviously, a good interface design will grab a user’s attention, but users have to read text to be able to grasp information they desire.

      Design suggestions:

    • Compare colour schemes of most major websites and notice how the colours improve readability.
    • Be aware of the font styles you use – pick fonts that allow for easy reading.

  5. Test, Test and Test! Your website needs to be able to be viewed in different environments, have consistent layouts and display content correctly in different settings - such as if images or JavaScript is turned off.

  6. If there’s one thing to take away from this, just remember the KISS principle (Keep it simple, stupid). If it’s simple, it’s usable.

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