Outdated. Cluttered. Intrusive. Tacky. Hard-to-read. Confusing. Questionable. Unreliable.
These are all words that could be used to describe a bad web design. While effective design is based on different factors that are “objectionable”, there are some fundamental things to consider before creating your masterpiece.
Here are some of my top pet peeves when it comes to bad seo web design:
Auto-play anything: Auto-play videos suck. Auto-play music is annoying. The worst offenders are sites that have a little person that walks out onto your screen and starts talking! I’m not sure who started this trend, but it’s 2012 and it should die already. A small but prominent call to action box is necessary sometimes, but this is just too much. (I’ve seen my fair share working on different websites, but what do you as a consumer think? Are these ever really helpful?)
Long, ugly contact forms: When a customer wants to contact you, they want to fill out as little important information as possible and hear back from you as soon as possible. Requiring a lot of personal information is aesthetically unappealing and can make potential customers question your ulterior motives. For example, are you giving away something for free in exchange for some contact information? Or are you asking potential customers to leave their information behind to be contacted. Either way, requiring too much info will kill your design and make your business seem not as trustworthy (all dependent on your industry, of course). Remember, this is an online contact form… not a tax return!
No clear call to action: Umm… where am I supposed to click and what am I supposed to do? Your home page and important landing pages should have an easy to find call to action. Contact, newsletter signups, click to call, buy now, download now – these are all easy to follow call to actions that your website needs in order to be useful. Don’t go overboard by displaying too many at the same time. Your customers don’t want clutter and too many CTA buttons can make your site look spammy.
Unconventional design that doesn’t make sense: Nowadays, every small business wants their site too look unique and capture the attention of their visitors. But going too abstract can make you lose site of basic website structure that is necessary for any website. I’m talking about: not having a home button, no contact information available, utilizing too much white space, using contrasting background and text colors. There are basic practices when it comes to effective web design and they exist for a reason!
Having a creative and effective website design doesn’t mean that you have to confine yourself inside a box but there are some things that you have to keep your eye on. Any design annoyances that you care to share?
Matt Ramage is founder of Emarketed a web marketing agency located in Los Angeles. He loves coffee, good design, and helping businesses improve their look and getting found on the Internet.