Five website design mistakes that are easily avoided

  1.  All Bark but No Bite.
    It is important that your website looks good, first impressions and a positive brand experience are very important but forgetting your business objectives and intended audience is a big mistake. Remember to be relevant design your site for your customers not yourself or your peers. How to avoid it: Define your strategy and your objectives, review them and be confident in them before any designer even opens Photoshop.
  2. Abrupt endings.
    If you have managed to engage your customers then make sure they have something to do once they done reading, watching or clicking. Provide them with continuing paths through to an ultimate goal. Clear calls to action, relevant information, suggested products can lead your customer in the right direction. How to avoid it: Anticipate your customer’s requirements structure your content intelligently and understand your customer’s motivations with some simple user personas or sample consumer testing.
  3. Out of date content.
    Good content is very important - concise, well written and to the point. But even if you manage that there is another danger, out of date content. People are using the internet on a daily, minutely basis – their hunger for up to date, relevant content is insatiable and if your site provides content that is no longer relevant to them, is old news or has proven to be incorrect then you have lost them forever. How to avoid it: Use a content management system that allows you to update content easily without the help of a developer of a web designer. Stay current with your competitors and keep in mind the immediacy of the internet.
  4. Insufficient contact methods.
    If your business requires customer contacts then make sure you provide obvious and multiple ways of contact. Contact forms that take anything longer than a minute to fill in are a major roadblock. Hiding your phone number frustrates users and can only give them a reason to resent their experience. If they do use a form your business has to be able to respond quickly with at the very least an acknowledgement of the enquiry and then followed up by direct contact. How to avoid it: Embrace customer contact! Don’t just implement a form, think of it as a conversation rather than just some input fields. A greeting - a conversation - acknowledgement and a thank you – all followed up by action.
  5. Mystery Meat Navigation.
    An oldie but a goody. Your customer shouldn’t have to guess what your website contains or how they can find it. Solid Information Architecture or even just a simple and well defined sitemap are imperative to good user experience and a successful website. Hiding navigation behind dots or squares or making a user click on stars, plants, whatever it is might seem fun but unless you are running a kids ‘playtime’ site it is most likely just going to infuriate your customer. How to avoid it: Design your sitemap in conjunction with your strategy and objectives. Keep it to 7 labels or less to avoid overwhelming your customers and forcing yourself to consider what is really important to potential and existing customers. Don’t get trapped by flashy graphics or conceptual ideas in your navigation, save that for areas of impact on rich content pages.