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Web Design Mistakes You Should Avoid On Business Sites

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Top 10 Deadly Web Site Design Mistakes

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Web Site Design Mistakes #5: Inconsistent Layout

On a business site, the design, layout, navigation system, look and feel, should be kept consistent throughout the whole site.

Have you ever visited a site and clicked a link and then wondered if you were still at the same site or if you had moved on to a different one?

I would recommend using the same layout, color scheme and navigation system (in the same location too) on every page throughout the site.

It may sound boring, but it should make it much easier for your visitors to find their way around.

Web Site Design Mistakes #6: Blinking Text Or Animated Images

I used to love them. They look interesting sometimes. I've to resist the temptation to put a lovely animated gif from time to time. I mean, some of them are pretty cool, but you have to dump them.

Believe me, those flashing stuffs hurt your business and people just don't like them.

Think about it. There is nothing more distracting than trying to read material and having that incessant blinking going on. You don't want to look, but your eyes keep getting drawn to the horrible spectacle.

Don't get me wrong, it's OK to sprinkle a few good animations here and there throughout your site. You run into problems when you've got 10 or so animated images on one page.

In fact, the only place I think is appropriate for a blinking text is where you attract visitors to click and go to your order page. That's the purpose of your web site, isn't it?

The same applies to those small floating ads. Just when you start to concentrate, they jump out and shout at you "Look at me! Look at me!"

Web Site Design Mistakes #7: Poor Navigation System

I've come across many sites not knowing where to go to find out the information I need. This pain may come from too many choices - or too few.

Sometimes site structure is more related to a business's internal organization than it is to fulfilling customer needs. Instead of asking, "How can I present all the information I want to?" ask "What does my average customer want to know when she first comes to my site?" Navigation should be designed from the customer's perspective.

If the average visitor comes to shop, don't hide the entrance to your store. If she comes for technical information, make your FAQ and knowledge base easily accessible.

Provide clear ways to navigate your site on every page. Keep the navigation system consistent throughout the whole web site. Put navigation menus on top and on the left side. Provide a link back to home page on every page in case visitors get lost somewhere.

You'd better get navigation system right before starting coding any page. It's frustrating to realize that you have to update navigation links on every page after the whole web site is done, especially if you have a large site.

Web Site Design Mistakes #8: Background Music

This is simply annoying. It hurts your professional image.

Background music is more appropriate for a personal site, don't you think so? It's important that you present a professional image for your business site.

If you feel absolutely necessary to make your visitors take this unusual punishment, please don't make it loop indefinitely.

If you are selling music CDs, ask your visitors to press the play button to listen to a sample clip.

Web Site Design Mistakes #9: Best Viewed By IE5 Or Above

You've seen that. "This site is best viewed with Internet Explorer 5 or Netscape 5 and above. Click the logos to download."

Are you paid to be advertiser of Microsoft and Netscape or what?

Most webmasters doing this may argue "This is for those who may not be able to view our site properly".

But this is your fault, not your visitors'. If your site really cannot be viewed with IE4, redesign it instead of troubling your potential customers to install 20MB application just to view your site. No one will unless your site is extremely important to them. You are not Yahoo, why do you think anyone would do that for you?

The truth is, few people are still using anything prior than IE5. Your "Best Viewed With..." statement well indicates your unawareness of the latest situation on the Internet. Nothing else.

Another mistake goes hand in hand with this - "Best Viewed Under 800x600 Resolution."

Most designers work in front of a 19-inch or larger monitor to make life easier. They configure their monitors to at least 800x600 resolution and are as happy as clams. But some of the average users, not a lot though, still run 640x480.

Again, it's your job to make sure your site works under any resolution with any browser.

Web Site Design Mistakes #10: Hit Counter

To be honest, I can't understand why so many web sites have hit counters at the bottom. Even some corporate sites are doing that. Just because your hosting service company provides a free counter script?

It will not do any good to your business if your counter tells a visitor she's 26th guest since 2001. Sure you can preset the counter to start from any number, say 1,000,000. Nobody will believe that. And the fact is, nobody cares.

Go to Yahoo, or Amazon, or any well established online business, I bet $100 you can never find a counter there.

By showing that little green box, your web site will look amateur, at the best.

Ok, I hope this article is of help to you. But I've to include a small note here. If you are a die hard advocate of some of these techniques, please don't take offense. These are only my opinions. Most experienced web developers and marketers will agree with me though.

Back to part 1

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Article by Zac Hewlett at SingaporeWebHosting.com
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