It’s time for Thursday Thirteen.
I’ve been visiting many new (to me) web sites lately. Not all of them are corporate sites; some are personal interest, some research-based, and lots are blogs. And when I’m searching for something in particular, be it a product I want to buy or an exciting blogger, I have realized there are certain things I look for. More specifically, there are certain things I don’t want to see, and most of them will make me click the BACK button quicker than you can say you’re sorry and it’ll never happen again.
I share a list similar to this as a DON’T to students in my web design classes. Of course, some of these are my own personal preferences, and I’ve also limited the number to 13. If you’re looking for a boat-load of really great design tips, check out Web Pages That Suck. It is, in my opinion, the Holy Bible of web design.
13 web design elements to avoid
- Hard-to-read color scheme. High contrast is important. Is this a site for secret messages? Green text on a blue background is impossible to decipher. Hot pink background? Electric lime green? Bye-bye.
- Animated images. There are exceptions to these, of course. If they’re small, not too obnoxious, funny, etc. then I don’t mind. But I’d really prefer not to see them at all. Same goes for scrolling or animated text. Use in moderation, folks. Moderation is the key.
- Bad navigation. A landing page that gives me no clue how to move around your site. Give me an obvious clickable link, a short menu, anything. I don’t want to have to guess that the clever graphic in the middle of my screen is the entrance to actual info.
- Sound. Music, goofy sound effects, any kind of sound is so totally annoying, it makes me want to kill whoever thought it would be fun to play for site visitors. You think if you have an easy way to turn off the sound, then you’re being thoughtful? How about this: leave it off and let me decide if I want to turn it ON.
- Pop-up windows, I hate you. Pop-under windows, I hate you too.
- Slow loading pages. Why? Why must you do this to me? At least give me a warning.
- Bible verses. Yes, you’re a religious person. Yes, you are proud of it. Good for you. But if a Bible verse is the first thing I see on your site, I will probably move on. I don’t mean to be a jerk, but I have a problem with people that wear their religion like a badge. “You can trust me” or “I’m a good person” can be expressed better ways.
- Crowded text and images. If your site is hard to read I will not read it and I will not return.
- Misspelled words in the headers or other large text. I don’t like to see misspellings anywhere, but on personal web sites, blogs, etc. they’re slightly more forgivable. Exception: headings. Seriously, how can you miss those?
- Serious punctuation errors, like Capitalization where It Does not Belong and Apostrophe’s in place’s they should and shouldnt be.
- If your site requires Flash or other browser add-ons/plug-ins, warn me. If your site breaks when these add-ons are disabled, you need to do some re-design. And if your page crashes my browser because of one of these things, I shall curse your URL.
- Unidentified or broken links. Hyperlinks should be obvious. Broken links should not exist (exception: in archives, broken links are almost unavoidable; a disclaimer might be nice).
- Undated data. When was this site last updated? If you talk about an exciting event coming up “next month,” how do I know when that is?