Excellent website design has become a rule of thumb for most e-tailers lately. Making it usable can enhance the experience of your website visitors and entice them to return for more. If you want to deliver great user experiences itís important to avoid some of the basic mistakes in web design which can alienate users from visiting your website.
1. Bad copy
Good website design means not only usability but also good copy. Copy is all the text content you have on your website so you need it to be unique and well-structured if you donít want to lose your potential customers. Often website visitors donít read everything from top to bottom but rather start reading whatever pops out at them first and then move to the next thing that captures their interest.
If your web design is intuitive enough your visitors are easily guided around the website, if not, theyíre likely to get lost in the abundance of information. You can improve your copy by adding stronger, higher-contrast colours and larger fonts or by using images next to the text to give it even more visual pull.
2. Poor navigation
Poor navigation was the biggest complaint about retail website design in a recent survey, cited by 40% of those who experienced problems shopping online. Almost half of those who reported problems said they abandoned the transaction or went to a competitor. Today consumers have become increasingly savvy and are no longer willing to put up with experiences that do not live up to their expectations. Thatís why companies doing business online must pay attention to their web design and make sure it enhances their customersí experiences.
Common navigation mistakes include poorly worded links so the visitor doesn't know where they'll go if they click, no links back or confusing links to the home page, etc. Effective website design and navigation must help the visitor answer the following questions: where you are, where you can go next, whereís the home page. It needs to be simple and consistent if you want to succeed and attract more visitors to your website.
Users are highly goal-driven on the web. They visit sites because there's something they want to accomplish, maybe even buy your product. The ultimate failure of web design is when the website fails to provide the information users are looking for.
Sometimes the answer is simply not there and you lose sales because your website design doesn't meet their needs if you don't tell them the specifics. Sometimes the specifics are buried under a thick layer of advertisements and bland slogans. Since users don't have time to read everything, such hidden information might also make them leave your site.
4. Lack of colours and contrast
Colours and contrast arenít usually high up on the list of priorities when it comes to creating a website. But it should be because if your web design doesnít have sufficient contrast (text compared to its background), people may have difficulty reading your content. Apart from plain readability, colours and contrast are important because they can be used to create visual interest and grab the attention of the user. It can equally be effective to organise the flow and hierarchy of a web page.
5. Inappropriate graphics
Using graphics in your web design can visually enhance the appearance of your site as well as support and substantiate your copy. But using load-intensive graphics or photos in web design can drive your visitors away because no one wants to wait for a web page which takes long to load. If large resolution images are needed, you can optimise them to reduce the file size without sacrificing the quality too much.
Too many ads and images on a page can make your website design distracting and unattractive. You shouldnít fill every empty space because scanning a webpage is harder if every paragraph is interrupted with ads and images. Empty areas between navigation, photos or text are visually important for effective web design whereas using too much graphics is also a sure way to discourage users: if their system crashes while visiting your site, you can bet that many of them are not going to be back.
Anytime you feel tempted to add a new feature or advanced technological gadget to your site, first consider whether you may get a higher ROI by spending money on polishing the quality of what you already have. Most online companies contribute more to their website's efficiency with better layout and content than with any new technology.