Here are the top ten blunder and blatant mistakes committed by web designers. Some of which you may not know as an ordinary surfer gawking at the internet community and there are no laws applicable for their ‘arrest’, nevertheless errors are inaccuracy meant to be corrected.
1. Bad search designs
Search box should be the least dysfunctional area on a website. The most infuriating part when searching on a site is when a search bar is badly designed that it cannot handle simple query items, plurals, typos, hyphens and other options in inquiry. The site’s search engine should focus on the document’s importance or the name of the product on a site rather than the frequency of the query terms.
Search is the user’s link to a site especially when navigation did not succeed, work for a simple or straightforward search box that is easy to use and yields good results.
2. Unfriendly text
A wall of text presented on a site that fills-up the four corners of the page will turn a reader into the fastest X button clicker in the world. A layout full of boring and painful to read text cannot actually draw a visitor, use the good old tricks in enhancing document presentations and should encourage scanning among the readers. Use a simple writing style that is easy to comprehend and keeps Mr. Webster at bay. Use subheads, bulleted lists, short paragraphs and inverted pyramid when further detailing your articles. Remember that you are writing online and not for a thesis.
3. Permanent font size
Most of the time, websites had a default size for their fonts, which is unfortunately tiny. This would result for the people who are 40 years above to cringe the minute they think they would need a magnifying glass in order to read. Giving them the power to change or re-size the font is not just a sign of respect for those people but would earn a “user friendly” advantage. Provide the options to re-size in relative terms not in pixels.
4. Low search engine values of page titles
Your title is your gateway to your article or to your site. If you do not have good titles that cannot be search or cannot attract visitors chances are your site will sit in a dim corner of the room waiting for nothing. Titles help your visitors locate specifically what they need in the search listings. The page title holds in the HTML <title> tag and serves like a door knob, a clickable headline in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP). Arrange a catchy and concise but appropriate title in 66 characters enough for the searcher to read in full. A long-winded title would only be cut off after 66 characters or so in the SERP.
Using an inappropriate word at the start of the title is a no-no. Don’t start with the word “welcome to” or “The” lest you will be categorize in alphabetical order and fall under the listings of W and T. If you have other pages than the home page, be precise in starting out with words that best describes that page, or what users will find in that page. Do not use same starting words for different pages chances are you will just lessen the functionality of your pages for your users. Also, make sure that your taglines on your home page are short and relative. It should communicate and serve the purpose of the site.
5. Using PDF for online reading
If you know PDF very well you probably wouldn’t use it for online reading. It serves its purpose for distributing documents and printing volumes of papers, but not as a primary page to be read on a site. Users hate coming across PDF to read on a site. There are commands that don’t work when trying to read this kind of files and not everybody’s computer reads PDF. It is also hard to navigate and gives off extra effort of saving it; besides PDF size is optimized for a paper and not for a browser’s window.
6. Visited links in same color
Changing the colors of the visited links is sure a great help for any users especially if the site had tons of links in it. Getting lost in a haystack of links is a frustrating experience any site visitors would have ever experienced, and a simple task of changing the colors of the visited links eases the task. Users can easily avoid links they have already visited in search for a more fruitful query. In that way they can stay longer on the site and dig down deeper into the navigation of link searching.
The simple privilege in the part of the users to identify the visited and still non-visited links avoids disorientation and ensures that there are no time wasted browsing over the site. Users hate it when their time is wasted due to getting lost in the pile of links.
7. Pages that appear like an advertisement
Web users over the years learned how to ignore advertisements obviously presented to them in any given websites. They have developed this so-called selective attention especially when they are looking for something from a site and don’t want any adverts to get in their way. It is an unfortunate thing if your site and its content looks like an advertisement. A legitimate design element that resembles an ad is a candidate to be ignored and passed by.
By all means, avoid designs that are similar to advertising. On the other hand you will notice how advertising campaigns employ the art of having their ads similar to those of legitimate designs in order to pose as a valid content. As much as possible stay away from these traditional ad tactics in your design: banners, animations and pop-ups.
8. Design convention violations
Consistency is the key; it is the most powerful usability principle. Web users over the past decades have known the browsing behavior based on their experiences on the other sites they have already visited. If you try to move away from what the users have known you will only give them a hard time navigating and will eventually find your site awkward and a burden. If a user feels like he is in control over the usability of a site, the more he will be at home and will be able to progress more through navigation.
9. New Browser window opening
Keep in mind that not all web users use the same browser that has good window management. If the site keeps opening up a new window, a cluttered navigation and messy computer screen will infuriate any web user. Opening a new window normally disables the back button, and ever since the back button had been a friend to many web users. It is their way of getting back easily to where they came from.
Designers have it that when they design to open a new window, users will probably stay longer on the site. This tactic is self-defeating since most of the time users don’t notice that there’s a new window that have opened especially if they are using small screen computers where they have maximized the windows and fills the screen. Confusion by the sudden changes on the screen annoys the user and suddenly finds out that there is no back button to click.
Keep in mind that if the users want the window to appear on another page, they will use the right click and choose “open in a new window” command to do so. Users hate pop-up windows that suddenly block everything as they hit the hyperlink.
10. Insufficient information for the users
The ultimate blunder of a website is to fail to provide the information any users are looking for. Users are driven to meet their goal when they are looking for something on a website, especially if they think that they have found the site they are looking for. Sometimes the difference between a sale and a loss is sufficient information. People would think that you don’t have what they are looking for if your site lacks information, or information that is buried under the thick slogans.