Four Huge Web Design Errors That Are Costing You Business Online is an article that I ran across this morning. And I believe it to be excellent in determining four of the most common pitfalls that web designers make in designing. Now, I wanted to extend the list to 8 common website mistakes: So the first four covered by the article are:
1. Your website must focus on capturing email addresses
2. Stuffing your home page with way too much information
3. Loading the site with slow-loading graphics (more about this can be read at Mr. Nielsen’s usability website)
4. No attempt to discern what the prospect wants
And the next four common web design mistakes related to online business are:
5. No invitation to converting. Many websites have everything in place, good design, good colors, amazing corporate image and great content. But when it comes to inviting their visitors to perform an action they fail miserably. Often I see multitudes of designs out there without contact information in every page and sometimes after reading all the content you believe that you were being informed of their products and services and not being invited to purchase from them. Determine if your website is informational, interactional or transactional. If you are after lead generation then make sure that you prepare the channels and the design to capture leads.
6. Follow trends because they are trends and not because they are useful. With Web 2.0 we are starting to see how many websites have a clean look, better navigation and better inter-browser support. Sometimes though, website owners include elements just because they are being used in their competitors website or because they thought they were cool.
Examples of this awful practice is the use of blinking text to attract attention, or the use of sound and music in Flash without the possibility of stopping it! Be careful to include only elements of design that would improve your audience experience. Also, never use sound in your site unless it is user-initiated.
7. “Let’s make some space”. The mistake of pushing the limits of the home page because we have new products and we have new banners and we have new… STOP! Instead of including new elements in your home page remove something in order to add something and always plan ahead your space.
Many websites decide that they want to include advertising banners, flash images, extra links, new headings and many other things that don’t fit into their initial conception. The recommendation is that if you find that you need new elements then redesign your site. If redesigning sounds unnecessary then those elements are probably not crucial. Adding some things here and there is ok, the problem is when your next big idea of the day ends up in the footer of your homepage.
8. The “I don’t like it mistake”. This mistake is the biggest and most often mistake in my opinion. If you don’t like your design that doesn’t necessarily mean that your web site will not appeal to your audience. When you are tempted to say to your web designer: “I don’t like it”, think for a second who is going to buy from this website? and think if they would like it.
This is specially important for “generation X business owners”. Generation X kids like video games, skateboarding, X Games, surfing and what not, but the owners of the business that sell products for this audience have difficulty to separate their own preferences with their audience preferences. The best way to avoid this mistake is to proof read your design with members of your intended audience.