When it comes to designing a website, there is a lot of different things to think about. If you are designing a website yourself, then you are probably going to need to read quite a lot of different things in order to do a good job. This is often why people will hire website designers to design their websites for them. However, the truth of the matter is that a lot of website designers are far from perfect and they make mistakes too. There are a few mistakes that you see a lot of on the internet and here are some of the most common ones that you need to make sure to avoid.
Design over usability
A lot of the time, website designers will get carried away with the way a website looks. After all, these people are designers and this is what they do. However, a goo website design doesn’t just revolve around looking pretty, but it also revolves around how easily it is to use and how well it does what it needs to do. There are a lot of different things to think about in website designs and usability often gets missed out or receives a low priority.
The important thing to remember is that if your website looks pretty but doesn’t do its job well enough, visitors will not come back. Having said that however, if your website is very poorly designed, visitors will also probably stay away from your website. This is where the question comes in, which is most important? Design or usability?
It is my belief that usability is a little bit more important than the design as this is what people are visiting your website for. They are not visiting your website to see pretty images, they are visiting it to find information. If they have a hard time doing this, it is a problem.
One of the websites that I believe is a good example of usability put before design is eBay. If you have visited eBay in the past 10 years, you will probably have seen very little changes in terms of the design of the website and in fact, I would consider the website to be looking pretty outdated. However, the website works extremely well in terms of usability. There are a number of different search options and all of the information on the website is displayed in a readable way. Everyone knows how to use eBay and perhaps the reason the design has stayed the same is that people are familiar with it.
So, in conclusion, it is more important that visitors know where to click and how to quickly find information than it is to be stunned by a wonderful design. Obviously, having both is best if at all possible.
Here is another big mistake in website design that can really harm your website in terms of how visitors see your website. Every person around the world is probably using a slightly different configuration when it comes to their internet browser and operating system. There are tonnes of different browsers out there including the big names like Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Safari. This presents website designers with a big issue as things are often displayed slightly differently across all of these browsers.
In order to make sure that the vast amount of people see your website how it is supposed to be displayed, you need to do some cross browser testing. You can use websites like Browsershots.org in order to do this. Browsershots will show you how your website looks on different browsers and on different operating systems. This will allow you to fix issues if there are any and you won’t need hundreds of computers to test everything either.
Now, the browsers that you need to focus the most on are Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Apple Safari as these are the most popular. You should check other browsers as well if possible such as Opera but these are slightly less important. It is also important to check how your website looks on tablet computers and Smartphone’s these days too as these can often display things quite differently.
Poor Internal Linking Structure
A website is only as good as the visitors that it gets. If a website doesn’t get visitors, then it is pretty much useless. As you will probably know, it is important for ‘link juice’ to be able to flow around your website and get to all of the pages it needs to in order for them to rank and not be lost. This is where your internal linking structure comes in and believe it or not, there are still hundreds and thousands of websites that have a poor internal linking structure.
The internal linking structure of small websites is pretty straightforward, but if you have a larger site, it might become and issue. Internal linking structure is not only important for SEO, but it is important from your visitors point of view as well as they like to have a clear and defined path on your website. If they click a link, they want an option to go back to the previous page. They also want a standard menu that is consistent across every page of the site.
The internal linking structure of a website is not that hard to figure out; it can easily be laid out on paper or in a chart of some kind. If you have a large website however (we’re talking thousands of pages), then you might want to consider getting in an SEO expert.
So, these are some of the most common mistakes in website design that really need to be addressed by everyone. Getting one of these things wrong can make or break a website so they are of upmost importance. Any good, well know website design/development company will take all of these things into account when designing your website, but be wary as some won’t.