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How to avoid web design suicide?

Jul28

Written by:
2010/07/28 08:57 PM RssIcon

Whether you have a personal page, a corporate website or a blog, web design is an essential part of your site. In fact it is an important part.

Many times the overall design of your site is what can make or break a visitors decision to stay more than 5 seconds on your site.

Here are some tips on things to avoid that will kill any website.

  • Bad use of colour. Just because there are 16.7 million colours it does not mean you must use them all.
  • Use contrast. Along with the point above. So many websites have light text on light backgrounds or dark text on dark backgrounds. Make the text easy to read with high contrast. Don’t use Yellow on Cyan
  • Blinking Text. Noooooooo! Unless your visitors are stuck in a time warp from the 1980’s
  • Consistency. Be consistent across your whole site. Use the same colour theme, same font sizes and font family. Use similar layouts, etc.
  • Slow loading sites. Broad band has come a long way in recent years, but there are still places that have very low bandwidth and bad connectivity. There are so many great things one can put on a site. But be careful it does not take too long to download.
  • Back ground music. Oh this is so 80’s. One thing that is so annoying are sites that have continuous background music. If you must have audio on your site. Leave it up to the user to start and stop the audio.
  • What is the site about? The visiting user should be able to tell what the sites is about in just a few seconds. With the colour scheme, the theme, tag lines, graphics, one should easily tell what the site is all about.  If a visitor cannot figure what your site is about in a couple of seconds, he will probably just go somewhere else. Your site must communicate why I should spend my time there, and FAST!
  • Make your text legible. Don’t use tiny font sizes. Don’t over use large font sizes. Don’t over use CAPS, don’t over use BOLD, etc.
  • Flash. Don’t over use flash. It might just irritate the users. It also slows the loading time of your site. Use it only if you must offer features that are not supported by static pages.
  • Navigation. Make sure navigation is easy to find, easy to use and intuitive. Stick to standards.
  • Graphics. Used well they can enhance a site tremendously. Used badly they will kill a site faster than you can say Cheese. Watch the picture sizes. Make sure your graphics are relevant.
  • Animated graphics. Unless you have some really, really good reason to use animated graphics, stay well clear. It’s so last century.
  • Scroll bars. It is quite acceptable to have vertical scroll bars. But horizontal scroll bars, yuk. Make sure your site fits the average screen size, and I think that is 1024. Used to be 800.
  • Advertising. Be careful on how many adverts you have on your site. Another thing that irritates me is adverts in the middle of content. How irritated will you be when you go to the cinema to watch a long awaited movie, but keep getting interrupted by advertising.
  • Scanable text. Don’t cram every bit of information into the page. Break it up with paragraphs, headlines, bullets, pictures, etc. Make sure that readers can understand what each section is all about.
  • Avoid Clutter. Introduce more white space. Don’t cram everything onto one page. It’s easier on the eyes and brain.
  • Write quality Content. Content is King. That's all I need to say.

For a look at some really bad website designs go to Websites that suck. Hopefully you don’t find your site listed there.

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