7 Mistakes Web Designers Make

As web designers it’s fairly standard for us to critique every site we see, especially as design is more than just a job to us. Most of the time it’s unconscious, when we surf a site and see poor design, bad navigation or other element that we don’t like it leaps out at us.

The first problem we should highlight are browser inconsistencies. If a particular site doesn’t know how to handle different browsers the average user isn’t going to know to try another. A website that doesn’t play well with all the main browsers is just poorly done as far as we’re concerned. Even more so because in these days of the CMS, it can take care of all that for you. All you have to do is provide the different templates and the system can choose which to display.

Another mistake is not communicating the message effectively. This can either be through bad copy or poor design. A good design makes an instant impression on the visitor and leaves them with no doubt what it’s about. Poorly constructed copy or convoluted design can both contribute to poor communication. If a visitor has to work out what’s going on they are going to leave. The use of a tag line or clear banner message at or near the top of the screen is the best way to achieve clarity, unless the site is for a well known brand or product.

Connected to an unclear message is the mistake of not being clear about what the client, and their user base needs in their site. Taking the time at the very beginning of the process to get to know exactly what the client wants, and ideally their vision for their company or brand will ensure you’re both on the same page.

I know we have said this before, but we design sites for the users first, then the client and then ourselves, in that order. The skill in our craft is to manage all three so they match or at least complement each other. The most important people in this equation are the users. If the client brief isn’t going to work for their user base it’s our job to tell them, and negotiate to a position where we’re all going to be happy.

While we are the least important element in that triumvirate, we still have to believe in what we’re doing.

So the fourth mistake is using Flash when you really shouldn’t. Flash is a great tool when used well but still has more negatives than positives. It still slows down browsers, uses too much CPU and crashes all too often. It should be used sparingly, and only by experts. The more Flash on a site, the less accessible it is. It pains us when we see Flash navigation on a site, a simple jQuery would do a much better job, and use less resources.

Check out the next post for the other three main mistakes web designers make.
7 Mistakes Web Designers Make Cont.