Web design is a lot like interior design. You have a lot of leeway and options. Your definition of beauty is central, and you should always add elements that reflect your personality and sense of style. But there are also some rules that are definitely not made to be broken. Not crowding a very small room with big, heavy furniture, for instance, is a rule that we should all live by. When it comes to web design, you want your space to be unique, elegant, and you. Like the best homes, it should be aesthetically pleasing and “livable.” Here are some “don’ts” to avoid when designing your website.
Don’t overdesign. This is the virtual equivalent of piling those clunky bureaus, beds, dressers, wardrobes, and tables into an 8x10 room. Adding every new trick for graphics and music, and the like, can crowd a site and overwhelm the viewer. For most businesses, that is not suitable for the intended audience and can get in the way of navigation. Further, if you do not have a separate mobile-ready site, chances are your heavy website won’t load up quickly enough to suit mobile users.
Don’t forget about what your site is supposed to do. This is like forgetting you have children and then getting all-white furniture and carpets. Ezra Silverton, president of 9th Sphere, says, “It doesn’t matter how beautiful yours site is. You’re better off having great navigation and content and poor design than the other way around.” Not that you want poor design, but you – and your audience – certainly don’t want to provide a poor experience in terms of content. “Most companies believe SEO comes after site development, but then you’ll have to go back and make a lot of changes,” says Silverton.
Don’t bury essential information. How many websites have you visited where it is difficult to find contact information? Or About Us content? Visitors get frustrated when they cannot find what they want immediately, whether it is shipping policies or a specific product. Think about what your visitors want and need most, and make that the easiest content to access.
Web design is crucial to business success; balancing appearance and functionality is key. Think about it like your home: how can you create the most comfortable, welcoming, and functional home possible for yourself, your family, and visitors? In this case, visitors are the most important element – cater to them!