The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
The difference between a good website and a bad one is often amateurish designer mistakes. Eliminating bad and ugly design mistakes won’t guarantee pages will be more attractive, but it generally enables more effective communication. Features of web design can be divided into categories: the good, the bad and the ugly. Bad design missteps aren’t the end of the world, but can make pages look unprofessional and awkward. Ugly mistakes can often render a website ineffective and sometimes harmful to the reputation of a person, business or brand. After all, every website is a direct reflection of a brand’s professional digital image.
A good web experience puts users in control and empowers them to be engaged. Utilizing Content Management Systems (CMS), clients update content themselves without assistance. CMS empowers the client to communicate quickly on their website, generally without needing help.
In a solid design, consistency is crucial. From colors to messaging, branding should be clear and consistent with the offline presence. Every website should accomplish a clear goal. Users should easily understand the call to action. Good designs are organized in a way that engages visitors. Text should be easily readable and links will stand out. Links are often considered a website’s call to action. Using different colors or underlines for links will help them stand out.
It’s important to remember that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. There are design qualities that distinguish a designer’s competency to execute a good website. Starting with a basic principle, images on the website should be crisp and clear. Using a grainy image smaller than the standard browser size (1024x768) as a page background is an amateur designer’s first giveaway. Poor color scheme choices and a lack of contrasting colors are other amateur mistakes.
Most designers agree, the most crucial component of web design is typography. Typography and font choice impact a lot of website components. For example, overused, plain fonts like Times New Roman aren’t distinctive and can be hard to read. Typography is important because it’s the messenger carrying the main message. Don’t overlook its importance.
Inferior web design is a curse. As we tell our clients, your website is often your first impression in an age where we are dependent on Internet information. A bad website can be very damaging to branding and reputation. One of the worst things a designer can do is prioritize style over substance. Users are impatient and expect pages to load quick. With this attitude, designers must stop incorporating elaborate animation and visuals that delay pages from loading. An extensive use of flash will slow down pages for web users and completely exclude mobile users from certain content.
Some of the worst features are truly ugly design choices. Busy pages with large blocks of content, that lack a reasonable use of whitespace, leave visitors confused and annoyed. Problematic sites lack imaginative, well-planned navigation. Navigation and organization are crucial components of a website’s success or failure. Designers have to accurately anticipate what topics visitors will be looking for when they come to the site. Visitors shouldn’t have to click multiple links and buttons to find information. Designers have got to organize the data to be discoverable. Sounds like an easy task, but it’s not for the lazy designer.