7 deadly sins against web design

priest sin

The worldwide web is an important place for me. Just like a fanatic member of a neighborhood committee, I also want my home base to be a pleasant place to stay. Unfortunately, there are still too many websites that provide frustration and disgust instead of offering a refreshing experience. Based on my experience and motivated by a utopian vision on the internet, I note the seven deadly sins of web design.

All tips in this article can actually be traced to the general rule: KISS. Keep it Short and Simple. Always keep this in mind when you are building or maintaining a website.

Background music and videos that play automatically

Unless you want to offer an interactive horror experience to your visitors, automatically playing music is absolutely no-go. Nobody is also waiting for movies that start playing on their own when they arrive on your website. I certainly will not be the first one to panicly search for the tab that produces sound with his heart in the throat. Save your visitors the frustration and do not let anything play automatically. Just do not do it.

How it should provide
a media player or a movie, but always give visitors the choice to activate it yourself. It is also possible to let the video play, but to switch off the sound by default. However, this is not desirable for people who visit your website via their mobile device and have to hand in a lot of mobile data for a visit to your website. KISS and do not play anything automatically.

I certainly will not be the first one to panicly search for the tab that produces sound with his heart in the throat.

Pop-ups and pop-unders

Show hands, who loves pop-ups? No one? What a surprise. Yet too many websites still have pop-ups. Originally, it was an excellent technique that can improve the user-friendliness of your website, but it is the way in which it is used so that the technology has received such a negative connotation. There is nothing wrong with a pop-up that is shown when you want to perform an action and you get a confirmation in a message that jumps on your screen. Pop-ups that, however, appear on your screen at any time with an advertising message, are all wrong with that.

How it should be.
Do not use pop-ups for advertising messages, but use them as a handy technique to highlight things extra. Think especially of confirmations when users perform an action, such as clicking a button to send a form. For people who use pop-unders there is a special place in hell, so let that technique lie aside wisely.

Poor accessibility on mobile devices

It is 2018 and it should come as no surprise that most websites are visited via a mobile device such as a smartphone or a tablet. Strikingly, there are still many websites that are not optimized for the smaller screen sizes of smartphones. Visitors have to do it with an awkward desktop version on their smartphone so they constantly have to zoom in and zoom out to get the desired information on their screen. If a competitor offers the same information in a format that perfectly scales to the smartphone of the user, then it is clear which website will be preferred.

How it should be done
Make sure your website has a design that scales according to the device on which the website is viewed. In the jargon we call that a ‘responsive design’. Do it not only for your users, but also for your own gain. Google will put less value on websites that are not properly displayed on mobile devices. This means that your website will score worse in Google and may come under the website of your competitors (unless your competitor really has a very bad website, but then you have to find another competitor to show you).

Too much text

People do not read your website, they  scan . A long piece of text may contain a lot of important information, but unfortunately it will only deter visitors  . Users look for words that  stand out , between  titles ,  lists , etc.  Copywriting  for the worldwide web is a profession in itself, so do not expect to put long pieces of text on your website and score high.

How it should be done

Use short texts and indicate in those texts also the keywords, just like I did in the text above. Try to divide the text as much as possible into paragraphs with intermediate titles and processing lists, images and quotations to break the running text. The internet offers many opportunities to process new forms of media (audio, video, social media publications, etc.) in texts, so make sure to use them.

Poor color use

From some websites it looks like they were made by a color blind (I can say that because I am color blind myself). I am talking about the web designers whose color spectrum is limited to the basic colors such as yellow, blue, green and red and feel compelled to simultaneously process all these colors in their website. A blue header, a green sidebar, a red background and yellow letters (preferably in Comic Sans).

How it should be done

Find congruent colors. In other words, colors that do not ‘curse’. You can call on the website color.adobe.com for this. Here people can submit color palettes that can then be voted up. So you can easily find a color palette that is liked by many people.

adobe color

Choose a color palette with congruent colors.

Avoid background images

Novice web designers always think they have to completely fill a website, that white space is the enemy. Not at all, white space is your friend. Do not try to fill the background of your website, not with a color and certainly not with an image. There is nothing more amateur-like than a randomly chosen image of your pet as a background.

How it should be done 

If in doubt, take back to the KISS principle and do not use a background image, just leave it white. Most websites you visit undoubtedly have a white background so internet users are already used to it. An extra tip that can be extended to all aspects of web design: if you can choose between different options, choose the option that internet users are already accustomed to. If you are really convinced that a background is an added value for your website, just google ‘subtle patterns’ to find a subtle pattern as a background.

Unthoughtful navigation

Even before you start creating your website, you have to think about the information architecture of your site. This means that you will effectively determine what will be on your website and how you will build up this information hierarchically. Logically, you might think, after all, you do not build a house without a well-founded blueprint. Yet it all too often happens that someone starts to build a website without thinking in advance.

As a result, you then have a website that lacks any kind of structure. There are no logical subdivisions and the visitor does not know where to click to get the information he is looking for.

How it should be done

Even before you start building your website, you write all the pages you want on your website on separate post-it pages. A post-it for the ‘about us’ page, the contact page, product page … Then you go puzzling and grouping the post-it’s and assigning a hierarchy to it. If you have multiple pages that belong together, compile a collective term for these items. This way you can figure out the navigation for your website. The rule of thumb here is to have no more than 7 main items in your navigation bar.

post its

Just like a house, the best websites are built when there are good foundations.


Post Author: Loknath Das

I am a blogger with the main motive of writing articles at my choice of level. I do love to write articles and keep my website updated regularly , if you love my article then be sure to share with your friends as they would love to read my article...