web design

Most businesses know how important their website is to their organizational success. Depending on the product or services offered, up to 81% of consumers go online before making a buying decision and spend an average of 79 days gathering information before making a major purchase.[i] Your website is just like an extension of your sales team. The major difference is your website works day and night 24/7 around the clock. You wouldn’t send an untidy salesperson to represent your company, nor should you have an unexceptional website representing your organization’s products or services.

We selected four common Web Design Usability fails that we’ve encountered helping businesses put their best foot forward.

  1. Unclear Messaging. Content is king. It’s what attracts visitors to your site and gives them a reason to keep returning. The challenge for most organizations is presenting that content in a simple, clear and intuitive way.  When visitors arrive to the homepage of your site, they should clearly know what it is you do and whom you do it for. Don’t make visitors question whether they’ve come to the right site. It’s amazing how many websites fail to get that most basic message across, right up front.  Don’t make your visitors go on a scavenger hunt to find the information and content they’re looking for. If you think your messaging is unclear, invite folks from outside of your organization to explore your website and ask them to provide candid feedback to you about their experience.[ii]

  2. Clutter. More and more website visitors have a limited attention span. You want them to focus on only the most important elements and not have their time consumed with choosing on what they should focus on. A well designed website takes care of that problem by recognizing your visitor’s time is valuable and delivering content through intuitive experiences. Design evangelist John Maeda states: “The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction.”[iii]

  3. Too Much Design. In an ever-changing competitive environment you want your website to stand out. It can be tempting to sacrifice sound design principles with edgy, trendy designs and features. A word of caution here…you will lose your visitors if they are so taken back by the look of your site that they can’t find what they’re looking for. It’s hard to say how much design is “too much.” Finding that middle ground can ensure both form and functionality.[iv]

  4. Poor use of images. The question often comes up, “should I use stock photos or custom photography?” First, let me say that not all stock images are bad. We use them frequently but very selectively. A recent company’s About Us page I visited had a picture of a beautiful office with glass windows and several unique architectural elements. When I visited the actual organization they were located out of a shared office space with no windows and cramped cubicles. It felt a bit like a bait and switch. Everyone wants to make a great impression. Don’t sacrifice authenticity by giving the wrong impression and coming across as being fake.

An adage at A-Z Techs we believe in is: “simpler is usually better.” When your message is unclear, your site’s cluttered, over designed, or using poor images, people may look elsewhere to find what they need.

A-Z Techs specializes in web design and development, creating custom websites, and providing a site redesign, helping you stand out from the rest of the crowd. If you are interested in finding out how we can assist with your web design needs, please email [email protected] or call 866.207.7204.

[i] Retailing Today, Study: 81% research online before making big purchases, (http://www.retailingtoday.com/article/study-81-research-online-making-big-purchases)
[ii] Sam Butterworth, 4 Common Small Biz Web Design Disasters, Website Magazine, March 19, 2015, (http://www.websitemagazine.com/content/blogs/posts/archive/2015/03/19/4-common-small-biz-web-design-disasters.aspx?utm_source=websitemagazine&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter)
[iii] John Maeda, The Laws of Simplicity, (MIT Press, 2006) 120. (http://mitpress.mit.edu/books/laws-simplicity)
[iv] Subtraction.com, How much design is too much design?, 2011 (http://www.subtraction.com/2011/06/13/how-much-design-is-too-much-design/)