In the world of web design, there are a multitude of Web design disasters and HTML horrors. Let’s look at what we believe to be the top 10 BEST if you want to annoy your visitors and drive them away from your site.
1. Specifics, Where Art Thou?
Users visit sites because there’s something they want to get done, perhaps even purchase your product. The critical letdown of a website is not being able to provide the details users are looking for.
At times, the answer is simply not there and you lose the sale because users think that your product or service doesn’t meet their needs due to lack of specifics. Other times, the particulars are buried deep under a thick layer of featureless slogans. Such hidden information may almost as well not be there since users don’t have time to read everything.
The most terrible example of not answering questions of users is to not listing the price of products and services. Price is the most particular piece of information customers need and if you don’t provide it, it diminishes their understanding of a product line.
2. Unsearchable Search
Search serves as the lifeline of the user when navigation is unsuccessful. Simple search usually works best even though advanced search can at times help. Search should be presented as a simple box since that’s what users are on the lookout for.
Search engines that are exceedingly literal diminish usability just because they’re not able to deal with typos, plurals, hyphens, and other variants of the search terms.
Another problem is when search engines prioritize results solely on the basis of the number of query terms they contain instead of the importance of each document. Much better if your search engine calls out “best bets” at the top of the list particularly for essential queries such as your product names.
3. Texts Written in a Single Block
One solid wall of text is annoying and boring for an interactive experience.
In order to draw users into reading the text, well-documented tricks should be used such as subheads, bulleted lists, highlighted keywords, short paragraphs, the inverted pyramid and a simple writing style that’s easy to scan.
4. Font Size That Can’t Be Resized
Unluckily, CSS style sheets provide websites the power to disable a Web browser’s “change font size” button and give a fixed font size. Almost 95% of the time, this fixed font size is tiny which reduces readability for most people above 40 years old. Let the users resize text according to their preference.
5. Links that Don’t Change Color
It helps you understand your current location if you have a good grasp of past navigation. It’s easier to decide where to go next if you know your past and present locations. A key factor in the navigation process is the link. Knowing which pages users already visited frees them from visiting the same pages over and over again unintentionally.
When visited links don’t change color, users become more disoriented. That’s why it’s important that users can tell the difference between visited and unvisited links by showing them in different colors.
6. PDF Files for Online Browsing. Duh?
Users don’t like encountering a PDF file while they’re browsing because it interrupts their flow and because standard browser commands don’t work, even simple stuffs such as printing or saving files are not that easy. Also, PDF layouts are often optimized for a sheet of paper, which hardly ever matches the size of the browser window of the user. Even more, PDF is difficult to navigate so it’s important to switch any information that must be browsed or read on the screen into real web pages.
7. Designs That Appear Like Ads
Web users have learned to stop paying attention to any ads that get in the way of their purpose-driven navigation. Unfortunately, they also ignore legitimate design elements that look like common forms of advertising. Thus, it is best to avoid any designs that appear like advertisements. Keep in mind the following:
Banner blindness – Users never look at anything that appears like a banner ad because of the shape or position on the page.
Animation avoidance – Users don’t pay attention to areas with blinking or flashing text and other insistent animations.
Pop-up purges- Users close pop-up windows before they are even fully delivered.
8. Low Search Engine Visibility Page Titles
Search is the most significant way for users to discover websites as well as to find their way around individual websites. The page title is your primary tool to catch the attention of new visitors from search listings and to help your existing users to find the particular pages that they need.
Also, page titles are used as the default entry in the Favorites when users bookmark a site. For the homepage, start with the company name followed by a brief description of the site. Unless you want to be alphabetized under “T” or “W,” never start with words like “The” or “Welcome to.”
For other pages, begin the title with some of the most well-known information-carrying words that describe the essentials of what users will find on that page. If all your page titles begin with similar words, you have relentlessly reduced usability for your multi-windowing users.
Taglines on homepages also must be short and promptly communicate the site’s purpose.
9. Popping New Browser Windows
Users dislike unwarranted pop-up windows. Web designers open new browser windows thinking that it keeps users on their site. But the approach is self-defeating since it disables the Back button which is the typical way users return to previous sites. Frequently, users don’t notice that a new window has opened, particularly if they are utilizing a small monitor where the windows are maximized to fill up the screen.
10. Defying Design Conventions
According to Jakob’s Law of the Web User Experience, users spend most of their time on other websites. This means that users form their expectations for your site based on what’s usually done on many other sites. If you diverge, your website will be harder to use and users will certainly leave.
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