Here are 10 common web design mistakes that everyone should be aware of. While some of these rules have been broken and the result wasn’t terrible, it’s always wise to be well-informed and intentional about web design if you’re a blogger or a business owner. Visual mistakes have the potential to make your brand appear unprofessional to your audience.
Mistake #1: Comic Sans
This is the number one no-no among web designers. Comic Sans is never ever a good idea. Comic sans was originally created for use in informal documents, but many people have overused it in formal documents, warning labels, and even on grave stones. This is where the backlash against the typeface started. This is a classic case of a good font gone bad through blatant overuse, outright misuse and sheer stupidity.
Mistake #2: Comment Forms on every page
This is the number one cardinal WordPress sin in my opinion. By default, WordPress is intended to be a blogging platform so the comment box shows up on every page by default. But do people really want to leave a comment on, say, your contact form page? Think about it.
Mistake #3: Sidebar clutter
Your sidebar is a great place to feature your most popular posts, instagram timeline and call to action buttons. But what is it that you really want your site visitors to do? Subscribe to your newsletter? Follow your Pinterest board? Browse your shop? Whatever action you want your visitors to take should display prominently at the top of your sidebar.
Mistake #4: Too many typefaces
Using too many typefaces on a website can make a design appear cluttered, non-cohesive and unprofessional. Of course you can incorporate images with varying fonts, but if you want your site to look professional, you really need to reign in the number of fonts you use. Play it safe and stick to the KISS principle; settle on 2-3. And always find Google font pairs that look good together!
Mistake #5: Lack of hierarchy
Hierarchy determines which items you see first in an image. The use of several different fonts, colors and shapes have the potential to mess with hierarchy, resulting in an image that is visually displeasing and complicated.
Let your reader follow the flow of your text naturally by using your header tags from within your WordPress text editor. (Bonus: This is really good for SEO.) Make all of your lists appropriate. Bold, underline and italicize things so that there is a natural flow for your readers.
Mistake #6: Readability
Always choose fonts and font sizes that are optimal for readability. Choose colors that can be seen easily on a variety of different monitors. Be mindful of the fact that some of your users will be viewing on mobile devices as well. The key is to really test how your website looks on a variety of different platforms.
Mistake #7: No Contrast
According to Wikipedia: “Contrast is the difference in visual properties that makes an object distinguishable from other objects and the background.” According to Vincent Flanders: “Without proper contrast, visitors to your site can’t read the text and if they can’t read it, they will leave it.”
Aside from plain readability, color and contrast are important because they can be used to create visual interest and direct the attention of the reader. It can be equally effective in organizing and defining the flow and hierarchy of a page and is therefore an essential principle to pay attention to during the web design process.
Mistake #8: Lack of negative space
The negative space around an object is often just as important as the object itself; it provides a cushion and a place for the eye to rest. You can draw attention to the most important elements of a page by leaving negative space around the key content. This is especially useful with any ‘action items’ that you want your visitors to click on. Avoid cramming too many objects into your design. Be aware of the entire composition, not just the main components.
Mistake #9: Failing to align objects/no grid system
Visual elements should either clearly line up or clearly look like they are not meant to. Haphazardly placing objects on a website without rhyme or reason is never a good idea; it has the potential to make a design seem random, unorganized and unintentional. Remember to use a grid system and align objects to create order.
Mistake #10: Using flash
Flash can be interesting if appropriate and well-executed, but odds are that your website does not require the use of flash and instead it will only serve as a distraction that will slow your site loading time. Most users will wait only a few seconds for a site to load, and will not visit again if it takes too long.
So, what about you? Do you have any web design pet peeves? Cardinal sins that drive you up the wall when browsing the internet? Share them below!