Have you ever visited a site and just left?
What caused you to leave?
- Couldn’t read the site?
- Couldn’t navigate the site?
- The site required a special plug-in to view the site or a portion of it?
- The web page content was not useful or informative?
- The web page broke in your chosen browser?
- The web page design was too wide for your screen so it was too much work to look at?
- The web page took too long to load?
- Too many ads?
- The web page was to cluttered or busy?
- Were the links provided broken?
- The web page was too long?
- Did the web page have poor graphics?
- Was the colour scheme terrible?
- Did a link take you to an “Under Construction” page?
- If it was a business website, did it look unprofessional?
Ok, I think you get the idea.
So, if all of the above items (and this certainly isn’t an exhaustive list) are annoying when you visit a website why do people build websites like this? Lack of knowledge? Limited budget? They let their creative juices get the better of them?
Web Design Mistakes
Dr Dave Chaffey, author of E-consultancy’s Best Practice Guides, offers useful web design tips and discusses some common pitfalls to avoid.
Legibility involves font types, font size and colour schemes along with content layout.
Choosing the correct font type that suits the theme of the website and that are available to the average website visitor is one of the first steps to legibility. Fancy fonts can be difficult to read and may not be available on the visitor’s computer. More on Uncommon Fonts…
Font size plays an important part of legibility. When a website uses font that is too small to read and that does not resize this can be a deterrent for the visitor to stay.
Colour scheme also plays an part in the issue of legibility. If the colours used for the text and background do not have enough contrast it is difficult for the average person to read, never mind a visitor that has a vision problem.
Web Page Content
The content of a web page would include the actual typed words on the web page, the images, the ads, the fancy images (animated gifs, Flash) and navigation system. Anything on the web page the visitor will see.
You have probably heard a million times “search engines love content”. The web page content this refers to is the actual written words on the web page. The search engines don’t read images and they don’t read scripts. They look for actual words on the web page. More on What Search Engines See…
Breaking up the written content on the web page with headings and subheadings not only adds to the legibility, it makes the web page scanable (the visitor can quickly scan the web page for what they are looking for) and search engine friendly if actual heading tags are used (instead of images as headings).
Web page graphics are all the images on the page. Photos, logos, animated gifs, banner ads and Flash movies are all web page graphics.
Having too many web graphics on a web page can make the page slow to load if there are too many or if they have not been optimized properly.
Too many graphics can also make the page too busy and cluttered also. You want to have a great looking site without going overboard with the graphics.
Special graphics like Flash would require the visitor to have Flash on their machine or download it to view the image. Some people are very wary about downloading and installing things on demand (especially if they don’t really understand why).
Most people learn from repetition. If your navigation system is consistent throughout the website then they will “learn” where to look for the navigation links and how they work.
The website navigation system needs to clear and easy to understand. Having the visitor guess where you have stored information is not going to get them to stay on the site or bookmark it for a return visit.
That’s it for today.
Check the categories to the left for different areas of web page and website mistakes and how to fix them.
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