Great website design is not beautiful aesthetic. It is about helping your audience effectively navigate your website. When done right, intuitive layouts tend to be more visually appealing, though this aesthetic can sometimes merely be a side effect.
Here are some common mistakes to avoid:Lack of Visual Hierarchy
Titles should be the largest text on the page. The next largest should be subtitles. Both should be noticeably larger than the main text. It helps people to keep things mentally organized so they can find their way around.
Too many colors, too many navigation options, too many social media buttons and extraneous “bling” that is intended to look good yet has no real purpose all make it hard to figure out how to navigate. It makes it hard to find what is needed and it makes it hard to focus on anything.
If your audience cannot read what it is on the page, you have a very big problem. Some things that make it hard to read include poor color selection, poor color contrast, text over a busy background or text poorly positioned on a photograph.
Poor Use of White Space
White space is not merely empty space on the page. It has an important purpose. It helps divide the space up elegantly, without adding visual clutter. Not enough white space or poorly arranged white space interferes with site navigation.
Overuse of Accents
Overuse of design accents, such as italicizing or bolding text, also introduces visual clutter and undermines the purpose of the design accents. Think of it this way: If everything is bolded, then nothing is emphasized. Additionally, when used in large blocks, design accents actually make things harder to read, not easier.