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Web Design Creativity Bloopers

We all have a common expectation in our hearts while our website is still concealed; majority of them is to score in terms of User Experience. Sadly, after heaps of encoding trouble, we still fail when it comes to offering a desired experience to a user, reason being some common design mistakes. Over the years, after analyzing expectations of my clients and fulfilling their every requirement, the definition of a perfect design I believe is a combination of usability, creativity and practicality. While paying importance to creativity and creativity only, web designers end up with common bloopers. Through this article, I would like to highlight those common mistakes and why these should be avoided to craft a perfect web design.

Here are certain common bloopers that can make a designer’s life a living nightmare:

Can’t See Anything (Readability Issues)

One of the most critical elements that we have in a perfect website design is ‘readability’. Grabbing a user’s attention is a different thing, but retaining the same user so that he or she can grasp the information you wish to cater is something different altogether. I have seen many websites that score a lot in terms of creativity, however when it comes to reading, they are the ones with the most bizarre fonts and text sizes. Aspects like these make reading a painful experience to deal with.

To give you a nice suggestion, let me share a secret with you all! Font sizes are actually a great difference maker, as you can differentiate a basic content from an important one quite easily with different font sizes. Font should be readable and all of a sudden large font in between acts like a banner that reads “THIS IS IMPORTANT FOR YOU”. Headlines in bold assist in informing the reader about the major topic of discussion, meanwhile the comparatively smaller texts will be the detailed explanation of the topic in bold or the larger case. This is something that I call as ‘Visual Differentiation’ that works well for websites with different variety of content.

I would recommend web designers to divide the total content in three font sizes, so that readers can easily differentiate the content (i.e. into main head, sub-head and body). However, there can be slight variations in case of other screen elements, which is why things should be worked accordingly. Aspects such as underlining, bold and italics can be used to draw attention, given the condition they are used sensibly. For instance, emboldening of a sentence or a word will increase contrast, given the condition it has something to contrast against itself. ‘Italics’ have much softer impact than ‘bold’ and works well when you have to lay emphasis on short phrases or words. Similarly, underlining phrases or words in moderation can work wonders to increase the user experience on your website design.

Contrast between the text and its background is something that assists in increasing the readability of the website content. For instance, using a dark background with lighter texts is a good idea and also a common trend.

I Can’t Search (Search Box Issue)

Imagine visiting a very impressive website and to your surprise, there is no search bar! To me it is a huge let down caused by a simple blunder of a designer. We all know that internet is one huge repository of information and websites are like small encyclopedias. Be it a small blog or a massive website, a visitor can go nuts if he is not able to find the content he needs. Therefore, one of the best ways to get started will be a ‘Google Custom Search’ that can enable your visitor to make searches on your website in an effective manner.

All a designer needs to do is copy the HTML code from the control panel and paste the same on the website. As a result, you have your search bar.

I Can’t Travel Within (Bad Navigation)

Navigation within a website should be as ‘water’ that is flawless! Regardless the part of website you are in, you should be able to find your way out or to any other part of the website quite easily. We do not have any standard navigation pattern to follow today as the web is growing at a tremendous rate, with new development technologies out every now n’ then. Therefore, I believe we should be keeping website navigation as intuitive as possible.

Here are some suggestions regarding navigation from my side:
– Navigational texts should be to the point
– Visual signs should not be something out-of-trend
– Hyperlinks should be a stand-apart from rest of the texts
– No dead links
– Easy location of Homepage link
– Offer alt text for images
– Textual descriptions for JavaScript links
– Website structure should be in tandem with website theme
– Website navigation should be such that a visitor is able to find his desired way within three clicks.

Excess Of Creativity (Inconsistency In Design)

Even creativity if done in excess can result in a website not less than a nightmare for a visitor. Web designers in a bid to highlight their creativity, often end up stuffing a web page with several designs, thereby putting end to the consistency it once had.

My advice in such case would be to keep it simple with a standard template for every web page.

Screen Resolution Is Not Friendly With My System

I have visited several websites wherein I had to scroll horizontally and to be true it was a huge turn-off for me to deal with. A web designer should keep in mind the fact that a common person has now moved ahead from the likes of desktops only, which is why now we should have websites that fit multiple screen sizes quite easily.

I know it is nearly impractical to adjust your website design according to all the devices that we have in the market right now, but we can get a rough idea using tools like ‘Google Analytics’ and W3 School Browser Stats. Google Analytics can offer you valuable information on the monitor resolution that your visitors are using. W3 Schools offer you listings of web browser according to the popularity.

No Balance Between Images And Content (Excessive Flash)

Images are here just to grab the attention of a visitor, whereas it is upto the content present on a website to retain the visitors. Browsing a website full of images is definitely a huge distraction from the soul (service message) of your website, which is why the images should be aptly supported with brilliant content. Use of Flash can be a bit creative but should be kept to a minimum level for benefit of users.

White Space Utilization

Professionalism + Legitimacy= Perfect website design

White space within a website is something that is ignored by many web designers today. They are so much indulged in creative world of their own that they almost neglect the proper utilization of white space and as a result, you have an unreadable and a cluttered web page. Proper utilization of white space not only offers a much professional look to a website but makes it legible for the visitors too! I must agree that creating a balance between white space and content of the website is never easy as too much white space may give an impression of incompleteness to a visitor, whereas little white space may leave the visitor feeling uncomfortable.

Discussing about space utilization reminds me of proper ‘above the fold’ web page use. For your information, I would like to remind you that ‘above the fold’ place is what a visitor sees without the need for scrolling or the space he sees upon landing on a website. The same place is regarded as one of the most imperative portions of a website, where an entrepreneur needs to score. A web designer must try to present ‘above the fold’ navigation in a much elegant manner.

Why Am I Hearing Sounds?

Don’t worry, the visitor might be talking about the background music that many websites have today! To be true, all the visitor seeks is an effective website that offers him the information he needs and that’s it…he doesn’t care whether you are a ‘Nirvana or a Beetles’ fan.

Even worse is the case wherein a designer puts different music on different web pages. The best way to deal with it is to create frame for the code and as well as the user controls. Let the user decide whether he wants to listen to your music or not.

No Testing

Many a times we end up designing a fully functional website that seems the best on a specific web browser, which is why I suggest web designers to prepare a ‘to-be-tested’ list that avoids embarrassing situations like these. Moreover, W3C is offering some useful testing tools that can make designers work much easier and effective.

Here are some useful questions that can make testing easier:

– Is the website working well in different browsers?
– Consistency of design layout in multiple browsers?
– Visibility and performance of website in different settings like Images on/off, JavaScript on/off and many more

Conclusion

Web designing is not always about creativity but blending creativity and design effectiveness with intelligence to create a perfect website. I hope you find these tips useful and avoid such bloopers in your respective design careers. Feel free to share your feedback and spread the knowledge, as sharing is caring:).

Author Profile

Maneet Puri is a web specialist and the Managing Director of Lexolution IT Services, a professional web design company in India that offers custom web design services. He also carries a special curiosity towards web design technology and ways to make them better. Maneet imparts his vast knowledge through his articles and blogs. As a web consultant, he has been offering valuable advice and suggestions to his clients located in varied regions round the globe.

Maneet Puri

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