7 Sure-Fire Ways to Fail at Web Design for your Business

terrible web design Yale School of Art website

Yale School of Art – One of the Worst Web Designs Ever (shield your eyes!)

Have you ever invested a lot of time or energy into something only to notice that, after you published it or made it public the final product ended up being severely flawed? After you’ve been staring at a screen for hours, days, or weeks on end it becomes difficult to “see the forest through the trees” — especially in the case of web design.

Here are seven key mistakes you’ll want to avoid in trying to develop and implement a professional website design for your company:

  1. Too much text on the homepage and sub-pages.
    Too much text and other miscellaneous content on your web page will scare away visitors. The average visitor only skims and scans over your website. Don’t waste their time or make them work (aka, think) too hard to understand what it is your company is all about.
  2. Too much color.
    Having 5 or more colors as part of your overall website design color scheme is a sure-fire way to turn off visitors. It can be both distracting and look utterly unprofessional.
  3. Improper use of gradients, texture, or depth.
    This is a common mistake in web design. Gradients should be used conservatively to show which aspects of the page might be clickable, and sparingly in all other instances.
  4. Lack of coherent navigation structure.
    To avoid this, have only one central navigation menu–not 2 or 3 or 10. Just one. It should be placed (typically) in one of three positions: horizontally across the top, or vertically on the left or right side of the page.
  5. Zero user-testing.
    This is a huge mistake because it can easily help you to avoid many of the other mistakes listed here. Preferably, you want to have a minimum of 5 users sit down to view your website for the first time. Ask them to perform basic tasks (e.g. “I want you to contact us… Now create an account… Read our blog…” etc.) . Ask them to talk out loud as they do so. Record their answers and incorporate their feedback (at your discretion) into your website’s design.
  6. Ignoring the 10-second rule.
    If a visitor to your homepage cannot understand what it is you sell or offer or  what makes you unique within ten seconds, he or she will bounce. Make sure to keep your homepage (like the rest of your design) simple, practical, and informative (but not too informative!)
  7. Your web designer / firm does everything you ask them to do.
    If you’re working with a web design firm or freelance web designer that takes in all of your feedback and incorporates it and never gives you any push-back–get out of that relationship now. They are probably more interested in pleasing you than doing what is best for your website’s design. Pleasing you is “good,” but a great design should be your priority.

What are some other common mistakes you may have experienced in your effort to execute and implement a professional website design?

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