Web Design has evolved into a complex discipline that extends beyond the mere distribution of content. You now need to consider more than just UX/UI design. You need to consider SEO, Google Ads, email marketing, social media services, and more. And in this interconnected ecosystem, one weak link can break the entire chain. One of the most frequently overlooked components is web design. A poorly designed website can negate all your digital marketing efforts, acting as a bottleneck that stifles brand engagement and conversion rates.
That’s why we’ve put together this ultimate cheat sheet, outlining the most common web design mistakes, their detrimental impacts, and actionable solutions to get your website back on track. By aligning your web design with your overall marketing strategy, you’ll not only improve the user experience but also enhance lead generation and conversions.
Web Design Cheat Sheet: The Do’s and Don’ts
Web Design Mistakes & Solutions: The First Impression Matters
1. Entrance/Splash Pages
- Why They’re a Problem: Irrelevant and don’t add value, acting as barriers between the visitor and the content they came for.
- Make it Right: Stick to a well-designed home/landing page. Use modals or pop-ups sparingly and only for communicating specific messages like special offers or newsletter signups.
2. Style Conflicts
- Why They’re a Problem: Confusing design elements like inconsistent fonts and color schemes can erode the strength of your brand.
- Make it Right: Collaborate with your design and marketing teams to create a comprehensive brand book or style guide that standardizes these elements, ensuring consistency and cohesiveness.
3. Inconsistent/Unclear Navigation
- Why They’re a Problem: Difficult navigation can lead to visitor frustration and, ultimately, website abandonment.
- Make it Right: A simple, clean layout with intuitive navigation can drastically improve user experience. Aim for a user to find what they need within 1-2 clicks.
4. Non-Interactive Logo
- Why It’s a Problem: A static logo that doesn’t serve as a clickable link to the homepage can make users think the site is broken.
- Make it Right: Utilize HTML to make your logo clickable, guiding users back to the homepage for seamless navigation.
5. Overuse of Media Elements
- Why They’re a Problem: Too many high-resolution images, videos, or animations can drastically slow down your site’s loading time.
- Make it Right: Balance media elements with performance. Regularly test your site’s loading speed on various devices and browsers to ensure optimal functionality.
6. Images/Graphic as Text
- Why It’s a Problem: Search engines can’t read text embedded in images, making this a significant SEO faux pas.
- Make it Right: Always use HTML/CSS for text. Not only is it SEO-friendly, but it also ensures cross-browser compatibility.
7. Fake Photos
- Why They’re a Problem: Inauthentic photos can make your brand seem insincere or generic.
- Make it Right: Invest in high-quality, authentic photos of your business, team, and products/services.
Web Design Mistakes & Solutions: Mastering the User Experience
- Why It’s a Problem: Too many elements can clutter your website, diluting the impact of your content.
- Make it Right: Embrace minimalism. Prioritize white space and focus on delivering impactful copy and images.
9. Automated Sounds/Background Music
- Why It’s a Problem: They can annoy visitors and also slow down your website.
- Make it Right: If multimedia is essential, opt for a user-controlled video that serves a specific purpose, and ensure it doesn’t loop indefinitely.
- Why They’re a Problem: Excessive use of pop-ups or interstitial pages can frustrate and deter users.
- Make it Right: Use them sparingly and strategically, offering value like exclusive content or discount codes.
11. Browser Incompatibility
- Why It’s a Problem: Not everyone uses the same web browser, and incompatibility issues can limit your reach.
- Make it Right: Invest in cross-browser compatibility testing tools and fix issues that could alienate a section of your audience.
12. Ignoring Mobile Users
- Why It’s a Problem: With mobile browsing surpassing desktop, ignoring mobile users can be fatal for any business.
- Make it Right: Make your website responsive, and work with a digital marketing team that knows how to optimize your content across devices.
Web Design Cheat Sheet
Web Design Mistakes
Make it Right!
|Entrance/Splash Pages||Irrelevant, Don’t Add Value||Keep a standard home/landing page, and use modals or pop-ups to communicate specific/unique messages along the way.|
|Style Conflicts (Different fonts, color schemes, design and layout throughout your site)||Confusing, Detracts from the overall strength of your brand||Get your marketing/design teams to create a brand book/style guide— it will keep things cohesive and consistent.|
|Inconsistent/Unclear Navigation||May prevent users from finding products, services||Create a layout where they can find what they need in 1-2 clicks, don’t overwhelm them with buttons, tabs, and sidebars.|
|Your logo isn’t interactive.||People may think your site is broken when they click on the logo, but aren’t redirected to your site.||Put an <img> tag between the opening <a> tag and the closing </a> tag to make it active/clickable.|
|Too many bells and whistles||If it takes to long to load your site, people won’t stay on it.||Make sure you have images and video, but not too many. Test your loading time across devices (mobile, computer, and tablet).|
|Using images/graphics for text||A search engine can’t read it (e.g. bad for SEO).||Don’t do it— ever!|
|Fake photos||Inauthentic, bad for your brand||Take some high-quality images of your business, product, and staff. Get rid of those cheesy stock photos once and for all.|
Web Design Mistakes
Make it Right!
|Way too much stuff: graphics, images, text, etc.||Dilutes the emphasis of your copy/content||Don’t be afraid of leaving some white space and placing some great copy/striking images front and center!|
|Automated Sounds/Background Music||Impacts loading time, annoys visitors||Don’t do it. If you must have something automated, try a video that plays when they land on your homepage. Just make sure it’s not on a never-ending loop.|
|Interstitials (Pages that appear briefly between a user’s click, and the intended landing page.)||Nobody likes to be kept waiting too long— and we all hate pop-ups!||Keep it to one or two interstitials max—like loading pages for highly-anticipated content— but be very strategic and intentional with their placement.|
|Incompatibility||Different users have different browsers, and you want them all to use your site, right?||Invest in—and use—a cross-browser compatibility testing tool.|
|Your site is only computer-friendly.||Mobile searching and mobile-web are ruling e-commerce these days. It would be crazy to ignore those lead pools.||Work with a marketing team/strategy that knows how to optimize your inbound content across devices.|
This article was updated on September 2, 2023.