Think about it: Are you more likely to trust a company with a well-designed website or one that’s poorly constructed?
Visitors may view a company as less than reputable if its website has design issues. Whether building a site from scratch or refreshing an existing one, avoiding the common errors in this checklist will help you create a digital experience that conveys credibility.
Mistake 1: Not Making Accessibility a Top Priority
Treating accessibility as an afterthought is a typical website design error. Common accessibility issues include:
Inadequate color contrast, which makes it challenging to see different website elements
Missing or incorrect alternative text for images or graphics, which makes it challenging or impossible for people with visual issues to comprehend them
Inadequate or missing visual focus indicators, which makes it hard to navigate a site or scan a page
Overlooking accessible names or labels, which reduces the effectiveness of a site for people experiencing it through assistive technology
Instead of retrofitting your site to make it accessible, ensure accessibility is a central part of the original design process so it delivers a great experience to everyone.
Mistake 2: Not Making Responsiveness Central to Website Design
Most website traffic — almost 60 percent, by some estimates — comes through a smartphone or other mobile device. If a website isn’t as easy to navigate on mobile as on desktop, it frustrates most visitors, increasing its bounce rate and tarnishing the company’s brand reputation.
One reason this happens is because websites are typically built using a desktop web browser. When you develop a new site or update an old one, constantly test the design on all devices to ensure it’s intuitive and effective.
Mistake 3: Compromising User Experience for Visual Design
Many websites prioritize design over function. Unfortunately, this has resulted in an excessive use of bold design and graphic elements that excite visitors but oftentimes confuse them.
Some things to look out for when reviewing a site design include elements that run counter to your brand or excessive use of animation, content, and dynamic graphics that are attractive but hinder functionality. This doesn’t mean your website should be bland or unappealing. It’s about balancing form and function to deliver an optimal online experience.
Mistake 4: Not Allowing for Customization
Is your current website one-size — or one-experience — fits-all? If it is, it’s probably not ideal for everyone.
Review your current customer personas — or create them if you haven’t already done so. Make sure you have personalized digital paths for each of them. Ensure all their informational and purchase needs are met, and the layout, imagery, and messaging appeal to them. If you have any doubts, user experience testing might be in order. Have people representative of your personas navigate your site to see if it delivers an optimal experience.
Mistake 5: Including Features That Don’t Drive Desired Actions
Another standard website issue is including elements that don’t support the actions you want users to take. They may look great, but visitors don’t interact with them as you intend. No matter how attractive an element is, the top priority is a website’s effectiveness. For instance, carousels are a popular website design element, but people rarely interact with them, especially on tiny smartphone screens.
Leverage website tracking software like Hotjar or Mouseflow to watch what people do on your site. If you find they’re ignoring critical features, it’s time to get rid of them or change them for something more effective.
Mistake 6: Lacking a Digital Hierarchy
When people visit your website, is it clear what you want them to pay attention to and the action you want them to take next? If not, your site could suffer from a lack of hierarchy. Website hierarchy is similar to how a newspaper uses headlines, subheads, color, images, different type styles, and other elements to denote significance and guide the eye. Leverage these elements to guide people on the path through your website you want them to take.
Having a website hierarchy delivers an appealing aesthetic and helps with functionality. Organizing website elements gives a site a cohesive structure that encourages visitors to do what you want them to do, achieves your website goals, and drives sales.
Mistake 7: Creating Counterintuitive Navigation
Straightforward and intuitive navigation reduces the friction visitors experience as they navigate your site. Confusing navigation gives people a reason to leave it and check out a competitor. Having clear and consistent navigation across your digital experiences and user journeys will ensure that more people move from being prospects to customers to advocates.
Mistake 8: Not Explaining What Makes Your Business Unique
When people visit your website, they should be able to quickly understand what your company does, what makes it different, and why they should do business with you instead of your competitors. If that doesn’t happen fast, they will likely abandon your site.
The first thing website visitors do when they arrive at a site is to determine if they’re in the right place. Ask yourself: Does your site clearly state what your company could do to improve visitors' lives?
If your site doesn’t communicate the purpose of your business and affirm to visitors that they’re in the correct place, it’s time to rethink your website messaging.
Do These Mistakes Look Familiar?
How many of these mistakes are on your website? If you’re not sure, now’s the time to check. Once you know the errors on your site, you have the power to fix them and deliver a better digital experience.