10 Design Mistakes To Avoid: Part 2

February 6, 2013

6) Making the Company Your Friend

This is where the battle between the designer/developer and the marketing department comes to a head. Companies always want more information from their audience to help further target their marketing strategies, and to get this data they’ll want as many surveys filled out and social media links clicked as possible. It has been shown through studies that users are becoming well aware of this type of insincere “company friendship” and will leave a page if bothered.

Put a stop to this by focusing on keeping the user’s attention on what the website’s function is with as little distraction as possible. Keep forms down to only what is necessary (or add optional forms that may offer more audience information) to ensure the visitor completes it. Not everyone wants to be your friend on Facebook either, so actions such as forcing a ‘Like’ or replying with a tweet only segregates an audience who many not participate in social media activities. Keep the goal of a user’s visit to your site plain and streamlined without distractions.

7) Parallax Scrolling for the Sake of It

Parallax scrolling is a relatively new design trend that involves the movement of graphic assets as one scrolls throughout a page that gives a sense of depth to the site. It’s an excellent way of garnering a visitor’s attention and is often served as a method of telling a story or explaining a concept in an interesting way. Particularly, parallax scrolling is great for focusing on one subject at a time as a sort of landing page. What parallax scrolling is not useful for is being used as a generic tool for a much more extensive site.

Parallax scrolling should only be used when necessary, not to simply spruce up a page. It is more bandwidth intensive for visitors and can be difficult to work fluidly on mobile devices at times even with a knowledgeable developer coding it. It also takes a bit longer to design as one must consider how the animation frames will appear, whether they work with the targeted audience’s general device screen size, and ensuring requirements like body copy are clean enough to read as objects move around it. Look at parallax scrolling as a tool to help get a message across, not something visually stimulating just to draw attention.

8)�Auto-Playing Videos

There is nothing worse than opening a series of tabs and finding one of them has a video that automatically begins playing. Now you’re stuck searching through each tab just for one specific page to close. Having videos that begin automatically playing does help increase hits, but now you’re faced with possibly bothering the user and causing them to leave the page early. This is simply a case of looking out for your audience and giving them as pleasant of a website experience as possible.

9) Busy Websites

One goal many companies have is to place as much information above the “fold” as possible. The fold is the point where one has to begin scrolling down a web page upon initially loading. To ensure visitors get as much information as possible before having to scroll downwards, clients will frequently push to overwhelm the top of a website with content. While it makes sense to place the most vital elements of a page at top, adding too much simply becomes hierarchy clutter and the user is left with no clear definition of what is most important.

Narrow down exactly what is most important for the user and don’t be afraid of letting them scroll down. As mobile devices continue to enter homes, audiences are becoming more aware of content being below the fold as websites become more vertically oriented to match. Have faith in your visitors; they’ll know there’s more to a site than just a banner and headline.

10) Modal Window Pop-Ups

Modal windows are an excellent way to create forms or boxes of content that the user doesn’t necessarily need on the site immediately. They frequently appear when, say, you click a button to join a newsletter and the form will appear in a new window in the middle of the screen. This helps alleviate clutter in the design. Recently a new trend has arisen that finds modal windows popping up without any sort of initial button clicks. They’re essentially spam as they disrupt the visitor’s experience and often require the user to exit out of the modal window before continuing.

This is another case of avoiding as much hassle for your audience as possible. If you try to push unwanted content onto them, it will cause individuals to exit. Save modal windows for when you need them and when they will benefit the user.

Read Part 1

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