By Steven Titchener
Web design is a specialised area, much like accounting. While yes, you can do your own accounts and they might be fine, you don’t have the knowledge or experience to really make tax reductions or efficient spending like a full-time and trained accountant would.
So when building your website there are areas that you might have missed or not done quite as well as you could have. Here are the top 10 web design mistakes we see, and how to remedy them.
It happens to the best of us, you have so many amazing products that you want the user to know about, as well as your newsletter and a current sale that you put all of these CTAs on the homepage of your website.
The problem with this is that people get choice paralysis, when presented with too many choices, they end up not making any choices at all. You can read more about website psychology in this blog.
To alleviate this, you need to choose 1 appropriate call to action for each web page. It doesn’t have to be universal across the whole website, just something relevant to each page. For instance on a vegan food page, you wouldn’t want to put a CTA to meat based products.
We all know that websites need to work across all devices, making them responsive websites, the problem is that most places still think about desktop design first.
This isn’t always an issue and you need to look at your users to see which device they use most, if 90% of them look at your website on a desktop, then obviously design for desktop, but if it’s the other way around, you need to think mobile first.
It’s because mobile is generally at least 50% of your website traffic and it is also one of the most restrictive devices to design for. There are many more considerations when going from desktop to mobile than just adding a hamburger menu.
You can even start to look at placement of items and how easy they are to reach for people, considering most people are right handed, bottom right placement of key buttons and menus would make the most sense, but you don’t often see menus at the bottom of the screen. Most of the time menus are at the top of page where they are hard to reach, not thinking mobile first.
Forms are great, they help us capture information about our audience and users in return for them getting something, whether that’s an eGuide download or going onto your mailing list.
And with these forms you want to get as much information as possible from your audience, so you can make sure your sales and marketing team can learn about them. But that can make them incredibly long and daunting to even fill in, imagine you are downloading an eGuide and have to fill in 15 fields, it starts to become more effort than the content is worth.
There are 2 tricks to getting around this however. The first is personalisation, with some clever coding you can start to show 5 fields at a time, and depending if that user is visiting your website to download a first or second eGuide, it will show them different questions. Meaning you gradually get all of your answers and don’t scare away any potential downloadees.
The second way is through stepped forms. While 15 fields is still too much, separating your form into 2 or 3 steps can make it seem less effort to fill in for a user, meaning more people will enter their details for you.
We aren’t talking about SEO when we say this, what we mean here is about the structure of the data on your website. You want to make it easy for users to find what they are looking for, however that shouldn’t come at the cost of a million pages.
No one likes dropdown menus with 50 options, no one likes reading a page with only 50 words on because you thought it needed it.
You want to find a good mix of combining relevant information and pages together, whilst creating pages to help people find the information they are looking for, as fast and easily as possible.
Carousels sound like a good idea but are ultimately bad for UX and loading speeds.
They sound great because you can add more information to them, however people rarely interact with a carousel and so don’t end up seeing the content you put there.
Instead, you should be thinking about what is the most important piece of information you were going to present on that carousel, and use just that one piece. You can always change it around every few months, that’s the beauty of websites, they aren’t set in stone. In fact, we suggest you look at making changes to your website at least every month.
Broken links are a major issue we see come up a lot on medium and large websites, and we get it, you delete pages or change their URLs to something more relevant, maybe deleting products even. These things can happen.
But it’s something that needs to be fixed for your users sanity, they need to be able to visit your website and actually get to content they were looking for. You can do this by setting up redirects to the new URLs or pages, or to things that are close.
A 404 page is a good idea to have in place, but it isn’t the ideal user experience.
A landing pages main purpose is to be a highly effective sales tool that is dedicated to a certain group of users. Having one landing page (or even worse, just your homepage) that you are directing all traffic to is going to lose you a lot of time and money.
Instead, when setting up a campaign, whether that’s paid or organic, look to setup specific landing pages for the target audience that hs messaging directly for them. After all, when looking at a marketing tool, a sales person will be looking for different things than a marketer would. That’s how you need to think.
Luckily, you don’t see this too often, but when you do it is bad. We’re of course talking about multiple navigation menus on mobile that all have a similar icon and don’t tell you which does what.
This is an obvious issue because a user doesn’t know which is a menu for the website, which is for their account or activity they are doing. If you need multiple navigation options, use icons that represent what they are for, and again, don’t worry about spreading them a little further if it makes sense to group navigation options together.
Pop-ups are the bane of any internet goer’s existence, but for some reason they do actually drive conversions. So what gets them included in this list?
Pop-ups without a strong purpose and a million pop-ups. The problem right now is that every website has to have a cookie pop-up, so we have 1 essential already. Then they have messaging boxes that pop-up a message, pop-up 2. Then you have your mailing list pop-up, pop-up 3. You see how this can get annoying?
The best thing to do if you absolutely need a pop-up is to make it really worth it. Imagine if you were shopping on your favourite site and a pop-up that just said, ‘hey, why not join our mailing list to never miss out on sales’. You’d be hesitant at best, because you know what that comes with, 1000 emails everyday in your inbox that aren’t worth you even opening.
But what if on that same site they had a pop-up that said, ‘Get a 30% coupon to your inbox now and never miss out on a sale again’. Now you’re interested, because you’ve got a great trade there, 30% for your email address.
So if you use pop-ups, make them worth the users time.
It’s on every website mistake list for a reason, that’s right, slow loading times. You know it’s bad, we know it’s bad and the users know it’s bad.
The reason it is one of the worst mistakes you can make is because it is mostly easy to fix.
You need to reduce your image sizes, by cropping them to the right size and compressing them using something like TinyPNG or even better, Web3. Once you’ve done that, then you can start looking at any plugins you might have that maybe aren’t worth having anymore *cough* carousel plugins *cough*.
After all that, if your website isn’t lightning fast, you can always start looking at the size of the pages, maybe trim some content down and lighten up those pages.
Now you know the top 10 web design mistakes you need to correct and avoid in 2022. How many are you going to work on?
Part of The Digital Maze Group