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Website Design Mistakes to Avoid When Building Your Site

Were you aware that the design of your website plays a significant role, accounting for 75% of its credibility? When your website contains numerous design errors, visitors may view your company as less trustworthy. Whether you are creating a new site or giving your current one a makeover, steering clear of these mistakes will help your business establish a positive online presence and stand out for all the right reasons.

In this post, you’ll learn actionable ways to fix or avoid these errors altogether.

1. Neglecting the importance of accessibility.

The most significant website design mistake you can commit is treating accessibility as an afterthought. The four primary errors related to accessibility:

1. Insufficient color contrast
2. Missing or inappropriate alternative text for images or graphics
3. Inadequate or missing visual focus indicators
4. Overlooking accessible names or labels

Let’s dive deeper into each of these.

dog working on laptop


Insufficient Color Contrast

Color contrast is a frequently disregarded accessibility issue. This error commonly arises when companies design websites using their brand color palette, which may not prioritize accessible design.

When the color combination used on a website lacks adequate contrast between the background and foreground colors, it can make text and icons hard to discern, particularly for individuals with visual impairments such as color blindness.

Missing or Inappropriate Alt Text

Visitors using screen readers depend on image alt text to understand the content conveyed by images or graphics. When this alt text is missing or inadequately descriptive, it alienates readers who rely on it to navigate through your website.

Considering that images are an integral part of your website’s content, it is crucial to treat them with the same consideration as you would traditional website copy. When including images on your page, think about the information they convey, and ensure that the alt text you use effectively conveys the same meaning.


Insufficient or Missing Visual Focus Indicators

The absence of visual focus indicators hinders visitors from fully experiencing your website’s potential. Focus indicators typically manifest as outlines around interactive elements like links and buttons. Ensuring a clear visual indication of the element with current focus is crucial for users navigating with a keyboard and who can see the screen. This way, they precisely know their location on the page and what to expect when interacting with the active element.


Overlooking Accessible Names or Labels

When your website presents information visually, it is essential to consider users relying on assistive technologies. When designing pages and components that convey information visually, make sure to provide accessible labels that convey the same information for assistive technology users.

It’s crucial to be mindful of users who rely on assistive technologies when your website conveys information visually. Therefore, when designing pages and components that present information visually, ensure you provide accessible labels that convey the same information for assistive technology users.

2. Forgetting the importance of responsive design.

During the second quarter of 2022, mobile devices accounted for more than 58% of global website traffic, and this doesn’t even include tablets. If your website is not equally easy to navigate on mobile devices as it is on desktop, you run the risk of frustrating visitors and experiencing an increase in your bounce rate.

In the current landscape, users are accessing websites from various devices, including phones, tablets, laptops, and even TVs. If your content appears poorly on any of these devices, visitors may lose trust and quickly click or tap away from the site.

Frequently, websites are constructed using tools within a desktop web browser. A common mistake is to assume that your customers will primarily view your site in desktop format and, as a result, overlook the needs of mobile users.

3. Compromising user experience for aesthetics.

In recent years, a website design mistake that has become increasingly common is favoring aesthetics over function. As the internet has become saturated with more content and design, there is a strong drive to excel and stand out. However, this has led to an excessive use of design and graphic elements that may captivate users’ senses but often fail to align with the true purpose of a website.

Design trends that diminish the brands’ value proposition and the overuse of animation, content, and heavy graphics may enhance aesthetics but end up being ineffective. Striking the right balance between form and function is crucial, without necessarily adopting a minimalist style. It’s about ensuring that the design complements and supports the website’s purpose effectively.


4. Not investing in customization.

While walking downtown, you notice a clothing store with a captivating and imaginative window display showcasing a variety of clothes on sale, telling a story with catchy copy and a captivating backdrop. On the other hand, you pass by another shop with a minimalist window presentation featuring only a few pieces of clothing on mannequins, failing to capture your interest.

Your website should be treated as the online storefront for your business, reflecting your branding and uniqueness. One of the biggest website design mistakes is using a cookie-cutter template without customization to match your brand’s identity.

An example of a counterproductive design choice is the standard hero banner, which is a full-width image placed below the navigation, often with white or black text and a button on top.


5. Using features that don’t convert.


Another prevalent mistake is employing ineffective features. Regardless of how visually appealing an element may seem, it is crucial to prioritize your website’s overall effectiveness. For instance, relying on rotating carousels to showcase multiple pieces of content at the same level is another common error.

Extensive research indicates that users frequently avoid interacting with carousels, especially on mobile devices where the interaction cost is high.


6. A lack of hierarchy.


Have you ever encountered a website where you felt unsure about where to focus your attention? If so, it’s likely that you came across a site lacking proper hierarchy. Similar to how a newspaper utilizes headlines and subheads to indicate importance, your website’s typography should do the same.

Ensuring order on your website not only adds to its aesthetic appeal but also enhances functionality. The organization of website elements provides a cohesive structure that guides users towards clear actions, achieves the primary goal, and consequently, creates a seamless user experience.

The absence of hierarchy misguides users and hinders them from accomplishing their objectives.


7. Having unclear navigation.

Having clear navigation on your website can minimize the friction visitors encounter when they land on your site. On the contrary, unclear navigation becomes a predicament. As businesses expand into the digital world, website content tends to become more crowded and complex. To ensure a seamless transition from first-time visitors to advocates, maintaining clear navigation and consistency across multiple touch points and user journeys is essential.


8. Not effectively communicating your business purpose.


Upon landing on your website, visitors should obtain a clear understanding of what your company does. If that picture is even slightly blurry, you guessed it right – visitors may abandon your site.

When a website visitor loads your site, the first thing they do is ascertain if they have reached the right destination. Does your site clearly state above the fold what product or service it offers? Your website should bolster the credibility of your business. If it fails to communicate your business purpose and reassure visitors that they are in the right place, a website redesign is likely necessary.