Too Much Design Influence from One Point of View
I think the biggest general type of mistake we see with web design is that it’s not balanced. You can look at a site and you can see that it’s been overly influenced by one type of person. For example, the compliance to fit with accessibility has meant that visually the site does nothing for the brand. It’s not a compelling experience. On the other hand, you get the opposite situation where you might have a retail site where it’s been totally designed in Flash, but it doesn’t work in terms of accessibility or usability, although it might look quite good visually. So it’s about having the right hybrid approach with the visuals, the accessibility, the usability and increasingly with the social networking getting user content. Firebox.com’s site is a good example of a proper user friendly web design combined with stunning looks. People can submit their own videos and their own commentary and the site looks amazing. I think it really helps sell the products by having that user involvement.
No Website Value Proposition
Also, something that we would say is really important is to have an online value proposition, or OVP as we call it. This would allow you to really explain your unique points of difference to get across that you’re actually a trusted provider. Things like user testimonials can help with that or displaying the number of users you’ve got. If you look at the salesforce.com site, a business to business example, they’re really good at doing those things.
No Clear Goals for Each Web Page
Some of the other mistakes that we often see are really the goals for each page aren’t clear enough. Each page needs to be designed around the calls to action and what you’re looking to achieve. You can see this by doing the right tracking, which pages aren’t resonating with the audience and they’re immediately hitting the back button.
No SEO Best Practices
SEO is another problem area. Often web design agencies are very skilled at doing the visual design and the technical design of the coding and the style sheets, integrating with databases and such, but there’s some basic rules of SEO that web design agencies can do a much better job of for their clients.
Website Design Is Not Flexible
One final mistake we see with web design that very few companies get right. It’s that the site design just isn’t sufficiently flexible enough. Often this is because of the content management system that has been implemented and customized. The web changes so often that you do need a flexible design that allows you to try new approaches. You should easily be able to move different content parts and calls to action around the screen and see what’s working or what’s not working. Amazon is one of the few companies that does this well. They’re continually testing new approaches. They’ll tell you that they look at these different, they’ll use multi-variants, testing to see which messages, which images work best. We’ve seen some sites from major brands where they’re sending millions of dollars worth of traffic to landing pages and, if you look at the page this year, it will be the same as it was last year or the year before. You can’t tell me they’re getting the most from their site when some of their competitors are updating the pages daily almost.
These are just some of the bigger mistakes that we’ve seen in the web development industry. When it’s time to update your website, make sure that you address these issues with your web development company.
About the Author:
Joel with Devsimplify has been managing a team of web developers since 2002. They are experts at helping your business achieve the most from your website. Find out more at http://www.devsimplify.com