It would be safe to say that a person who’s afraid of making a mistake is never going to taste success. Mistakes are an inevitable side-effect of effort, experimentation, and curiosity, all of which are traits that are necessary for climbing to the top in virtually any field. No matter how much safer it is to learn on mistakes of others, trial and error is still the most efficient didactic method in the world.
This is a theory that holds true in any aspect of business and web design is just one more example that can prove this point. Nonetheless, not fearing mistakes may make you reckless and put you in an unnecessary danger. Moreover, not all mistakes are the same and consequences of some of them are far more serious than others.
There are some that damage your reputation or your ability to attract more traffic to your site, others prevent you from generating return customers. Either way, if left unchecked, they can spell a disaster for your business, both online and offline. With that in mind, here are seven web design mistakes that you should avoid at all costs.
1. Ignoring speed and responsiveness
The design of your website is not an end goal but merely a tool for achieving what really matters the most – the optimal user experience. Needless to say, one of the things that can ruin this experience the fastest is the lack of responsiveness and long loading time. Sadly, some of the latest studies are claiming that an average human attention span tends to be shorter than that of a goldfish, which is a horrifying notion that may cause you to reconsider your stance on this topic.
To further support this fact, there’s a statistic that about one-quarter of all your audience may leave if your website fails to load within the first four seconds. Naturally, the longer the waiting time the greater the bounce rate. In other words, there’s a direct correlation between the loading time on your website and your bottom line. For this reason, as well, it’s important that you invest in speed.
One of the ways to achieve this is to keep your website well-optimized and minimalistic. First of all, pick a theme that puts an emphasis on performance! Second, make sure not to introduce too many interactive elements! Finally, make sure to regularly test and update your site, in order to discover a major problem as soon as it spawns!
2. Ignoring on-site optimization
The next thing you need to understand is the fact that the design of your website affects much more than meets the eye. During the process of website optimization for SEO, you’re also supposed to deal with the metadata of your domain. While this is not a complex process, it’s something that can become quite intimidating and overwhelming when postponed. On the other hand, if this is something that you’re dealing with gradually, slowly scaling and expanding your domain, you can turn this optimization into a part of your weekly routine.
The easiest route, nonetheless, is to entrust this to a professional SEO agency, due to the fact that it falls under their responsibilities and expertise, either way. Keep in mind, nonetheless, that the issue of outsourcing is something incredibly serious, which is why you need to have a strong communication with the company that you’re outsourcing to. For this very reason, it is incredibly smart to look for a local SEO business or at least one situated in your state. For instance, as an Australian startup or small business based out of Queensland, it would be smart to look for an SEO Brisbane partner.
3. Overwhelming your audience with too much choice
Too much choice can be bad for your audience, seeing as how it may prevent them from actually making their mind. One study went in-depth on this topic by creating two test groups and putting them in a different set of circumstances. Each test participant was presented with a $1 coupon for jam of their choosing. The first group was presented with 6 different varieties of jam, while the latter was presented with 24 different varieties. The results were shocking, seeing as how test participants from the first group were 10 times more likely to actually make up their mind.
The same applies to the world of web design, due to the fact that some online businesses give their best to show as much content to their audience before they leave in hopes of showing them something they’ll like. This is a problematic strategy that can be avoided by making user-friendly and intuitive navigation. By organizing these items into catalog-like categories, you’ll give your audience a much simpler choice, which is definitely going to improve your sales in the long-run.
4. Emulating someone else’s experience
Imagine yourself as an average e-commerce buyer that shops from various vendors and on various marketplaces. Chances are that you don’t even have to imagine it, seeing as how you probably already have a first-hand experience in such a situation. Now, fast-forward to several months later and try to see if you can remember where one of the random items you’ve bought online came from. Chances are that you would be unable to do so.
This is due to the fact that a lot of these online retailers tend to copy each other and, thus, end up making a similar (or same) e-commerce experience. This is why trying to personalize this experience, by studying your audience and giving them exactly what they want, is the most reliable way to differentiate your shop from those of your competitors. Such a thing is especially true when you’re selling the exact same products as them. Remember, even if you can’t offer a better price or shipment, you can still win them over by presenting them with a more personalized shopping experience.
5. Ignoring the power of psychology
The next important thing you need to understand is that the visual stimulus plays one of the most important roles in one’s decision-making process. This means that if they like what they see on your website, they’re more likely to buy. By using this fact to your own benefit, you can drastically reduce your shopping cart abandonment.
First of all, you can use color to your advantage, by evoking positive emotions, thus, forcing your customers to take an action. Second, you can use your design to increase transparency and, in this way, increase trust with your audience. Lastly, and we’ve stressed this out several times before, by making your website intuitive, you can eliminate choice paralysis and makes this shopping experience easy for your audience. The perfect example of a method that can achieve this is by allowing purchases without registration or one-click purchases for return customers.
6. Not involving users in the design process
Out of all design mistakes that an aspiring brand could possibly make, this one is probably the most serious one. No matter how passionate or proud you feel about your project, as soon as you launch your business, it is no longer yours and yours alone. Instead, it belongs to your users and buyers, as well. Remember that it’s their predisposition towards your business and your website that will determine your future and that of your business, which is why their opinions need to carry a lot of weight in your decision-making process.
Make sure to read comments and gather feedback at all times, yet, don’t hoard this information or keep it for your eyes only. Try sharing some of it with your team, your partners and even your shareholders. Even if the feedback is somewhat negative, you need to encourage everyone to invest some additional effort in order to make things right. Moreover, by showing everyone that you’re not burying your head into the sand at the sight of problems, you’ll make all of these vital, afore-mentioned groups to trust you substantially more than they did before. In the business world, trust is a resource like no other.
7. Aiming for perfection early on
While this may seem somewhat absurd, you need to understand that there’s no such thing as perfection. One popular business world proverb states that if the product is flawless at its launch, this only means that you’ve launched it too late. In other words, don’t skip the prototype phase and give your audience an opportunity to grow and develop with your brand. While this may seem somewhat counter-intuitive, this is a loyalty metric that can intertwine their fate with that of your brand.
As you can see, all of these mistakes are quite simple to memorize and steer clear of, which makes your job of not making them much easier. The greatest problem with them is the fact that the result of making one of these mistakes may take some time to manifest itself. This is a problem, due to the fact that if you’re not careful, you may allow these problems to grow and accumulate over the course of time. Luckily, now you know better.