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Have you ever visited a webpage and immediately clicked the back button because it looked horrendous?
Nothing kills the e-commerce mood faster than a poorly designed web page. Remember, in most cases, your website is your first impression to your prospects, so dress your website as you would dress yourself.
Most businesses are smart enough to cover the very basics and avoid poor layouts or color schemes. Messing up these areas is like leaving your house without pants. Everyone is going to notice, and you will be getting attention for all of the wrong reasons. The only major difference is that, unlike forgetting your pants, you won’t be remembered by anybody since they will all go elsewhere.
Covering your basics is essential in any web design process, but some less noticeable areas could still be cramping your website’s style. Below we will discuss four areas that could be making your site’s first impression a bad one.
4 Design Mistakes that Will Make You Look Bad
1. Poor Navigation
Imagine if you went out without wearing shoes. Odds are, you would get where you are going, but it would probably be quite painful. That’s exactly how users feel about poor navigation. If your navigation bar is difficult to find, slow loading, or confusing you are going to have a lot of visitors leaving for a another website in a hurry.
When designing your website navigation make sure that it is…
- Clear-Use language that is easy to understand and tells your viewer exactly where the link will be taking them.
- Easy to find-Place the navigation bar somewhere that it is easy to access. The top of the page is usually a safe bet, but avoid making the users scroll down the page to find your navigation.
- Consistent-Locate your navigation bar in the same place on every page.
- Simple-Include only what is necessary. Avoid using fancy styles that will take a long time to load.
- Concise-Avoid having a navigation menu that includes twenty options under each heading.
2. Missing Contact Information on Your Homepage
Ever forget your sunglasses on a sunny day? Maybe it was cloudy when you left the house, or maybe you were in a rush. Either way you will spend the rest of your day squinting and, if you are desperate enough, looking for another pair. Excluding contact information on your homepage (or even worse, your entire site!) sends your customers into the sun without sunglasses. If they really want your contact information they will dig through your site to find it, but in most cases they will just get out of the sun and leave your site. To avoid this, place your contact information neatly at the bottom of your website so that your customers feel that you are open to communication.
Be sure to include at least one of each of the following in your contact information:
- Phone number
3. Slow Loading Pages/Graphics
Do you enjoy getting dressed in the dark? We've all had those mornings where it happens, but it is generally a miserable process. You lose precious time trying to find enough light to see what you are holding, and before you know it you are running out the door as a frustrated mess. If your webpage takes a long time to load, your users are experiencing a similar frustration. In the digital age, users do not have the patience to wait more than a couple seconds for a page to fully load, so test your website to ensure it is running smoothly.
In order to make sure your webpage loads quickly, be sure that your site has…
- Images with a minimal file size that retains resolution
- Minimal HTTP requests
- Housed CSS files externally if possible
- Compressed page content
4. Not Mobile Device Compatible
How would you feel if you bought a pair of shoes and one fit but the other didn't Sure, you’d be happy with the one that fit, but the fact that the other didn't would cause you not to wear those shoes. That’s exactly how your website will appear if it is not compatible with tablets or mobile phones. Experts predict that by 2015, more internet users will access the internet via mobile device than via PC’s or other wired devices. So while your standard website may be perfect for computer viewing, if you are not mobile friendly you are that pair of shoes that does not fully fit. Don’t get tossed aside for something as simple as creating a mobile-friendly website.
The concept is easy. Your website is a presentation of yourself, and it projects onto you customers. Spend the necessary time to make sure that your website is clean and presentable, so that your users’ experiences will be enjoyable.