The Internet is a massive place. So massive, in fact, that—according to research conducted by Netcraft in March of 2012—there are over 644 million active websites. Considering how large the Internet is, however, that number is relatively small. Case in point, there’s plenty of territory left to be claimed out on the endless frontier that is the World Wide Web.
Regardless of whether you consider yourself an expert of website design or not, in order to build and maintain virtual audiences, there are a handful of website design errors which must be avoided at all costs. Simply put, digital audiences consider them completely and utterly inexcusable.
1) An Absent Search Box
In theory, any given website should be an archive of valuable information. Whether you’re dealing with a Fortune 500 website or simple blog, a visible search box couldn’t be more important. More often than not, visitors already have a general idea of what it is that they’re looking before your page has even loaded.
With a search box properly in place, site frustration is greatly minimized as users are quickly directed to what it was that they were originally hoping to find. In order to make certain that site searches take place in a neat, effective manner, consider using Google Custom Search or similar programs.
2) Subpar Navigation
Poor website navigation is one of the biggest turnoffs for users. Like any well-designed community, navigability shouldn’t be much of an issue. Though there aren’t many website design norms for seamless navigation within a site, it’s key that transfers from page to page occur in an intuitive and consistent manner.
Says Hongkiat.com in the ways of navigational advise, “If text is used as navigation, it should be concise. Visual metaphors should not be re-invented. If hyperlinks are used, then they should stand out from the body of the text. Dead links should have no place on any web page whatsoever.” As a canopying rule of thumb, structure navigation so that it works closely with the widespread theme of the website. By so doing, prevailing confusion is avoided in its entirety.
3) Cumbersome Registration Forms
This is by far one of the most annoying of unforgivable website design mistakes. Before a site’s design is completed, it can be helpful to take a figurative step back to see how much information you’re requiring of your guests. How many fields are present? How many mandatory fields are required? Could what’s being solicited be interpreted as intrusive or overbearing in any way?
Furthermore, it’s important to keep automated validation filters in check. If users are unable to comply with your registration standards after a few tries, they’ll most likely opt for one of your competitors instead. Registration for a site should require little to no information and encourage the consumption of information, not the giving of it. Needless to say, as proper website design tactics are put into practice, real results can be expected.