There are two ways to go about web design; the long right way and the short bad way. It is obvious which one designer’s should go for however often times while working in the field designers end up developing bad programming and design habits. These bad practices albeit careless at the first glance can be extremely costly to a designer in the long run.
Today’s post will shed some light on some of these practices. The main idea is to educate new and upcoming web designers so that they don’t make these mistakes out in the field. Avoiding them will save the designers time, and could very well even boost their careers in some cases.
1. Using Upper Case Too Much
It’s a harmless mistake but it can turn out to be a costly one. Too much of anything in web design is bad. This can’t be truer for content. Using upper case and bold font is recommended when it comes to H1 headings and sub headings. However overusing the upper case too much will make the page look ugly and unappealing, not to mention that search engines don’t like it either.
2. Not Spotting Irrelevant Content
This is a tough one because it brings out the ‘it’s not my job’ drama. True that content developers are responsible for the content part of the website however web designers give the overall site its true shape and form and they should pay attention to the content as well especially when it comes to content that is completely unrelated to the website, its product or services. Irrelevant content can reduce the rankings of a website because Search Engine crawlers have gotten pretty good at spotting them out. Also the target audience will not be impressed if they see unrelated content on a web page.
3. It’s Not Ok To Flash
Flash intros to be precise. This used to be a common practice amongst many websites back in the day; having a super cool flash based main web page. In point of fact, today it is a big no-no unless your brand is world famous already. Search engines are not Flash friendly and can’t crawl Flash based sites, which makes it difficult for the website to rank. Companies like Pepsi or Apple can afford to have a Flash intro to their website because they are world famous organizations with hundreds of millions of followers. But a local start up using Flash as part of its web design will essentially set itself up for failure from the start. Even if you do wish to place a Flash intro, make sure that the main links of your web site are visible on the page so visitors can easily navigate to inner pages.
4. Using Default Photoshop Effects
Just like many other graphic design software, Photoshop comes with its share of image and effects library. While they make for great building blocks for web design, they are just that, building block, not actual designs and should not be used in design drafts. The end result of opting for this approach is that you create a design that people have already seen a thousand times.
5. Redundant CSS is Redundant
Redundant CSS makes the code look all sloppy and unreadable. In fact it can be extremely frustrating when it’s clearly not needed. For example, a nested <div> within a parent <div> does not need the color declaration if it has already been specified in the parent <div>. By virtue of inheritance, the child <div> takes the same properties as of the parent <div> and declaring background color again is useless and uneventful.
6. Similar Text & Background Colors
An appealing website design is all about contrast when it comes to color. The design patterns need to be similar but the color scheme have to be carefully thought of and it can’t be similar. All websites are built with one common goal – to ensure that the viewer can easily view the entire contents of any web page. Similar text and background colors affect readability and can also incur penalties from Google.
7. Same Fonts Over & Over
The internet has been around for a while now and chances are that people can quickly recognize fonts just by looking at them. With that in mind, web designer should try to use new stylish fonts to match the website theme instead of the traditional ones that are now a household name. Time New Roman, Ariel, Book Antique are just a few that comes to mind.
8. Not using <div> Tags
There was a time when using tables in web design with <tr> and <td> tags could turn the tables in your favor. Now it will only turn heads especially when you are dealing with multiple nested tables. Sticking with the traditional <tr> and <td> tags for nested tables can be an exceedingly complex and complicated task which will not only make the code unreadable but also come in the way of debugging and finding syntax errors. Designers should use <div> tags instead.
9. Not Utilizing CSS Shorthand
The more lines of codes, the longer it will take the web page to load. With CSS shorthand, web designers can get the same end result but with fewer lines of code which improves page load time, a significant factor in website rankings according to search engines.
10. Going Way Too Many Steps Further
Going a step further is often viewed with praise and appreciation. Taking too many steps can backfire, case in point; experimental markups. They have to be versatile and backward compatible for the older browsers to understand. A good move is to register them as elements.
These are 10 fairly common mistakes that designers tend to make. One should always remember that even though designers make a website, it’s the website that makes a designer. Stay clear of these mistakes. Plan your designs accordingly. Follow the conventional rules and stay up-to-date on the latest design trends. You will manage just fine.
Jennifer Mathews is a creative logo design consultant for LogoSnap.com who helps small businesses create a brand image and grow their online presence. She likes to stay ahead of trends, explore new mediums and blog about her experiences.