Do you have an idea of how long it will take a first-time site visitor to decide if they like your website or not? Less than a second! To be precise, it only takes 50 milliseconds (0.05 seconds) for visitors to figure out if they like your website or not. Imagine that!
If your business has a website, it is safe to assume you have a lot of crucial factors to consider to ensure you provide the best user experience.
Aside from guaranteeing vital components like responsive website design are prioritized, awareness of the most prevalent web design mistakes to avoid should also get equal attention.
Most consumers online have the attention span of a goldfish. Interestingly, there has been a noticeable 88 percent drop in the attention of mobile users yearly. It is alarming news for businesses looking to convert site visitors to loyal buyers.
Here is another interesting data worth looking into: even if a site visitor decides to stay on a specific site for one reason or another, at least 40 percent of those visitors won’t engage with a website again if they find the content poor and the layout unattractive.
Web design: Getting your priorities right
Undeniably, the statistics above highlight the importance of excellent web design. So how exactly do you design a website that is functional and captivating? Start by asking yourself one crucial question: what is my priority when it comes to website design?
Many businesses go all out when it comes to website design. Others, on the other hand, opt for a straightforward design and layout. Regardless of the web design you choose, your primary goal should be to create a site that reflects your business and your brand.
It also pays to remember that website functionality and user experience are the two primary considerations when it comes to web design. While the interface of your site is crucial, functionality also carries as much weight.
The idea is simple: deliver your products, services, or ideas to visitors most cleanly and logically and with as minimal distractions as possible. It will not only make your website look professional, but it also makes your brand appear trustworthy.
Web design mistake number one: Confusing navigation
If you have encountered websites with confusing navigation, you can surely attest to how frustrating it can be.
Websites that make navigating from one page to another challenging are often sites that have so much going on all at once. Understandably, most websites with confusing navigation also have high bounce rates.
More often than not, sites with no clear menu won’t convert visitors into buying customers. While being unique and creative are essential, it is crucial not to take things too far. Don’t try to stand out at the expense of user experience.
What you can do
Don’t make navigating a guessing game for your visitors. In line with this, make the menu on your site clear and prominent. It should also be actionable, simple, and easy to spot.
Also, limit your primary menu options to 5 or 7 and make sure the dropdown menus are easy to understand and organized. Your website analytics will tell you what paths the visitors took to get to where they want to go and where they are dropping off. Use those insights and data when structuring your menu.
Web design mistake number two: Relying heavily on page sliders
Homepage sliders were a popular web design element when it first came out. However, it has become outdated this 2020, and most site visitors are no longer interested in them.
Besides, most homepage sliders convey multiple and contrasting messages to site visitors. Most home page sliders don’t convert users. Also, visitors rarely check out homepage sliders.
What you can do
What can you put instead of a slider? Consider features that allow you to create and display a unique message that can change depending on the variable you have chosen as trigger points. For example, you can have a different message for users in the United States versus those from Europe.
It won’t also hurt to have a unified message and highlight it by making it prominent in your ‘Hero Section.’ However, if you still prefer the flashiness of a slider, use ones with videos or animations.
Web design mistake number three: Too many call-to-actions
Most people have encountered websites that are loaded with call-to-action (CTA) after every few lines.
While call-to-actions serve a purpose, they only work best when they are situated strategically.
Too many call-to-actions are considered overkill and will give visitors the impression you are trying too hard.
Also, too many call-to-actions is counterproductive as it will deter users from clicking on them—exactly the opposite of what you want them to do!
It also comes across as too gimmicky and pushy, and that is something visitors don’t like.
What you can do
A CTA does not have to be flashy or with bold letterings. It is recommended that they don’t look the same as well.
Ideally, your CTAs should be at the bottom of the funnel offers. It would be best if you also have a ghost button for links that direct users to internal pages.
Web design mistake number four: Using icons without context
This is something we all probably agree on: icons are cool. No wonder they are used all the time. However, when using icons, there is one golden rule you need to remember: they should not stand alone.
Many years ago, icons were all the rave, and almost every website had its custom icons. These icons were expected to translate the details of a concept.
What you can do
Akin to images, icons can provide easily skimmed content to any copy on your website. However, it is not recommended that you use them for every menu item, infobox, or headlines on your website. When you do so, you will create a visual clutter that does nothing but ruin user experience.
Web design mistake number five: Too many chatbots and pop-up CTAs
Understandably, you want to help visitors on your site as much as possible. However, there is a thin line between being helpful and annoying.
Make no mistake about it, chatbots and pop-up CTAs can easily land in the annoying territory quickly.
This is especially true for pop-up CTAs and chatbots that are too in your face, always asking if they need help. You can compare it to the annoying salesperson that follows you around the minute you walk in, constantly asking if you need any assistance.
What you can do
Letting your site visitors know you are around and ready to lend support is an integral part of excellent customer service. However, informing them once would suffice. You don’t have to keep reminding them.
As a general rule of thumb, let your visitors do their thing and allow them to get on with their sales journey with as little interruption as possible.
Conclusion: Web design mistakes to avoid
The importance of avoiding web design mistakes cannot be overstated as it can make or break your entire business model. However, be easy on yourself if you’ve committed some (or all!) of the mistakes listed. If anything, most of them can be fixed easily.
As long as you start working on the recommended changes as soon as possible, you are a step closer to giving your online visitors an exceptional experience each time they visit!
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Gabby Klesser is the Outreach Manager for LA Website Design, a digital marketing agency that has assembled a team of expert web designers and digital marketing strategists. She often writes about web design, UX, social media, technology, marketing, and starting a non-profit.