5 Website Design No Nos
1 – Use lots of colors
Using lots of colors is a sure way to get carried away and take the stylish look from the site. Too much is just that. You only need a handful of colors that compliment each other. Yes, using 30 different colors on different flashing backgrounds may make the links stand out, but at what cost?
Also, be very aware of the color palette you settle on. I was recently asked to use a theme on a website, with part of it red text on green and the rest green text on red. An interesting combination, especially as the website was for an opticians, who could be dealing with red-green color blind customers …
2 – Hide the navigation
Unbelievably, a lot of people design websites and miss elements of the navigation from the screen. I've had graphic designers pass be final proofs to work from, that the customer has signed off, that straight away I look at and spot an essential part of the navigation is missing.
It does sound impossible, but on shopping websites I have seen designs that are missing simple bit such as a link to the shopping basket or checkout. If a customer adds a product and then goes back to view more, but then wants to checkout, they can not buy from you.
3 – Design for paper
Not having a dig at graphic designers (as some work very well on websites), but there are also plenty that do not get their head around the fact that a piece of paper is totally different to a website. Several times I have been passing layouts that work on a widescreen, but would involve horizontal and vertical scrolling on a normal sized screen. Or the layout calls for a variable screen width, but all of the components are fixed width.
You have to allow for the fact that there are a myriad of browsers, operating systems and screens in use and they will all show your website in a different way.
4 – Only test your website in one browser
Different browsers will display your website in different ways. The formatting for, for example, Internet Explorer and Firefox can be slightly different when using certain techniques. A website that works in one browser does not always look its best in another. It is a difficult and frustrating process, but you have to check your site in different browsers, different operating systems and different screen sizes.
5 – Build a website and sit back
I am always amazed at the number of people that think that building a website is the lifeline their business needs. Pay a few hundred for a website and then they will be run off their fee fulfilling orders.
This is not the case. Just because you pay for a website, this does not mean that it will be an overnight runaway success. With every new website you need to market it. That means promoting it to customers and local marketing, promoting it through social media and article writing, pay per click schemes, optimization and a whole lot more.
Without marketing, your website is as good as non existent.