Top Ten Web Design Mistakes E-mail

By Colleen Happ
This is our top 10 list of things you shouldn’t do on your website:

  • Do not underline words unless they are a link. It is a design standard to underline links.  If you underline other words on your web page that are not links, viewers will click them.  When they don’t go anywhere, it will lead to confusion. Make it obvious what is a link and what isn’t.

  • Use a font without serifs.  Serifs are the little lines at the end of letters that make them easier to read in print. On a computer screen, however, sans serif fonts like Arial and Verdana are actually easier to read and lead to greater comprehension of your message.  For example, this is serif and this is sans serif.

  • Optimize your graphics for the web.  If the file size of your pictures is too large, they will take too long to load and most users won’t stick around to see them.  Pictures can be optimized with only slight changes in overall quality.

  • Put the navigation for your web pages on the top or left hand side.  This is where most users automatically look to find them.  Don’t stick it on the right just to be different.  This is not where people’s eyes go to look for navigation.  Be consistent with your navigation placement; it should be in the same spot on every page.

  • Don’t use more than three or four colors on your web page.  Any more, and the user will be overwhelmed and not know where to look first.  If your message is competing for attention with color, your site will not be as effective as it could be.If you are selling on-line, put the prices of your products or services where people can easily find them.  Don’t make them look too long, or else they will give up, leave your site, and spend their money elsewhere.

  • Avoid horizontal scrolling on your web pages.  Ensure your site fits on a screen resolution of 800 by 600 so that viewers don’t have to scroll left to right.  Vertical scrolling is okay, but horizontal scrolling is annoying and unnecessary.

  • Do not collect email addresses without a privacy policy.  In Canada, there is a privacy law that states that every site should have a privacy policy, even if they don’t collect any information. Read more at the government of Canada web site.

  • Avoid unnecessary animated images.  The flashing and movement on the screen will distract the eye from the main message.  Don’t get me wrong, flash and animation is cool, but only when they support the main message.

Remember to give each of your pages a unique title.  Search engines use titles to help rank your pages.  Bookmarks use page titles, too.

When designing your site remember what visitors to your site want;

- Text they can read

- Text that answers their questions

- Simple navigation

- Fresh, up-to-date content

  Happy Designing!

 Colleen Happ designs effective and affordable websites. View her portfolio at Colleen offers free one hour consultations to show how an effective website can benefit your business. She can be reached at 403-807-8225.

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