Here is a list of top 10 mistakes in Web Design as compiled by Jakob Nielsen, a User Advocate and principal of the Nielsen Norman Group.
1. Bad Search
On top of a great design, user functionality and effectiveness is key to the success of a website. Straightforward navigation is necessary, and often times a simple Search box is a great friend for users. When navigation fails, this is what users look for. A bad search is one where overly literal search engines are unable to handle typos, plurals, hyphens, and other variants of the query terms.
2. PDF Files for Online Reading
A PDF file is bad for online reading. It breaks users' flow while browsing if they have to come across a PDF File. Besides disrupting the web's design, the layouts of PDF does not match the standard user's browser window.
3. Not Changing the Color of Visited Links
Users want to avoid revisiting the same pages unintentionally. A good web design prevents this from happening by changing the color of visited links. Therefore, it is apparent which pages they've seen and either wish to avoid or reopen.
4. Non-Scannable Text
Reading information from a website is not like sitting down and reading a whole book. Text should not be heavy, loaded, and boring. An online text differs from a printed text. Users need to be able to scan through what they are viewing on their monitor screen and grasp the information they need relatively quickly. A good design entails a neat and attractive placement for text and images.
5. Font Size
Allowing user's personal preference to resize text as needed avoids the problem of text readability. Users should never have to find difficulty reading what your website intends to show.
6. Page Titles with Low Search Engine Visibility
For the homepage, always begin the page title with the company name, followed by a brief description of the site. For the rest of the pages, also remember to use keywords that demonstrates the key content of the particular page. When page titles are not done properly, the level of discovery and usability of the website is reduced significantly.
7. Anything that Looks Like an Advertisement
In this modern era, users are familiar with the concept of advertisements taking the most common forms of Banners, blinking or flashing Animations, and Pop-ups. Users subconsciously ignore, avoid or even close these immediately upon spotting them. Hence, always avoid any design that looks like an advertisement because users will navigate away from it.
8. Violating Design Conventions
There are common laws and structures that every user expects upon visiting a website. People feel comfortable in a setting that they are familiar with and know what to expect. If a web design deviates the standard functionality that the general online population understands, they will most likely feel the urge to leave.
9. Opening New Browser Windows
Having unwarranted pop-up or multiple windows are confusing and bad for the user's web experience. A link should be a simple hypertext reference that replaces the current page with new content.
10. Not Answering User's Questions
Be informative and straightforward. When users visit your site, they usually have a goal to accomplish and they have no time to dig up the entire site to find what they need. If a website fails to provide the information and answers that users are looking for in a non-frustrating manner, the website is a failure no matter how great the design is.
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