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10 Web Design Don’ts That You Should Know About


Poor design can easily ruin a website with great content. And it’s not only major navigation flaws or bad graphical elements that can cause trouble, but frames, ads, page formatting and other things that at first might seem insignificant.

Don’t use a splash page. Although visually appealing, splash pages are mostly built with Flash, making them hard to load, difficult to navigate, and often impossible to index by search engine crawlers. Using a splash page before your homepage will annoy regular visitors.

Don’t make your About and Contact pages hard to access. These two pages are the most popular on your website, and they need to be only one click away from your homepage.You also want to add a clearly visible search box for both posts and pages.

Don’t let your paragraphs become lengthy. A 150-word paragraph that looks mighty fine in a paperback might seem a wall of text when posted on a website, especially if the font is large. And a wall of text often sends visitors away. Break your content into small paragraphs, of not more than four to five short sentences, and when appropriate, use indentation and bullets.

Don’t play music, video, or animations by default on your homepage. These all are terribly annoying for visitors, especially for those who are not at their first visit. If you really want to add background music or a welcome video to your homepage, make sure they are paused by default; create a conspicuous play button and let visitors chose whether to enjoy them or not.

Don’t have more ads on your webpage than you have content. And don’t place ads where they annoy visitors, in the middle of the body text. Pop-up ads, cheesy banners, and flashy videos that open in a new window are the worst and they should be avoided. If you have to place ads, blend them into your web design, but without making them indistinguishable from the content.

Don’t open new browser windows. Dubious websites that try to get visitors to click their ads often open those ads in a new browser window, cluttering the screen. Although it might seem that opening new windows keeps users on your website, that’s not really the case, because the function of the useful ‘back’ button is disabled for the new window.

Don’t use frames for widgets or badges. Frames prevent search engines from indexing content, are not universally supported by web browsers, especially by mobile ones, and often cause all manner of graphical problems when the browser window is resized. Frames in website design are really a thing of the past, and there is no good reason why you should use them.

Don’t let the visited link color stay the same after the user clicks the link. It’s an unspoken rule of web design to keep unvisited links blue, and make visited ones dark blue. You can change the link colors if you want to, but you have to differentiate visited links from unvisited ones, otherwise users will be disoriented.

Don’t use CSS style sheets to disable the ‘change font size’ option of web browsers. If you choose a fixed font size, you can reduce readability, especially for users who access your website through a mobile device with a small screen. It’s safer to let users resize the font from their web browsers when they need it.

Don’t use to many colors.  Using to many colors will not only look bad, but it will annoy your readers and drive them away. Your colors should blend well together, not clash. Use  Colour Lovers to choose the best color scheme. Find the right color scheme (at most, 5 colors) and see how much better your designs turn out.

Web design annoyances make visitors leave your website, doing much more harm to your image than a few typos in your content or a product picture that won’t load. Avoid them and your visitors will spend more time on your site.

This article has been written by Aishwarya Vohra, a writer an an animator. Visit her sites for great web design tutorials, web design templates articles and more.


Bogdan is the founder of Top Design Magazine. You can find him in Bucharest-Romania so next time you want to drink a beer there and talk about web and stuff, give him a message.