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Top 10 Deadly Web Design Sins
By Sharon Housley
Many webmasters repeat the mistakes made by their predecessors. Take a look at these Top 10 most common web design sins. Have you fallen victim to any of these?
Sin #1 - Using Techie-Speak
Many web sites fail to communicate in terms that website visitors can understand. Set the technical jargon aside, and use simple language and words that will be easy for your audience to understand. Web copy should be written in simple terms. Also, keep in mind that the Internet audience is global, and using language that is more common and easy to comprehend will often expand your reach, even to include non-native speakers.
Sin #2 - Poor Navigation
Many webmasters fail to provide visitors clear and consistent navigation. Visitors will quickly become frustrated if they cannot easily find the information they are looking for.
Sin #3 - Technology
Technology is a great thing, but it also can be a problem. Not everyone uses the latest plug-ins or has any desire to download add-ons simply to view your website. Many others may intentionally block such features for security reasons. Stick with web technology that is widely supported so you don't alienate your potential customers.
Sin #4 - Globalization
A website that fails to globalize will limit the area in which it is able to sell. If your audience is wide-spread, globalize your website. For example, accept alternate payment options, use forms that ask for postal code rather than zip code (which is only used in the United States), provide pricing in various currencies, etc. For more information on Globalization, see this associated article: http://www.small-business-software.net/globalization.htm
Sin #5 - Spelling And Grammar Errors
Professional web sites should be just that -- professional. Be sure to spell-check all pages on your site to eliminate typos, and have a copy editor proofread the web copy for readability and to catch any grammatical errors.
Sin #6 - Inconsistency
An inconsistent website shouts "amateur" to the visitor. The website should be consistently branded, and the navigation, color scheme, and font, should remain consistent as you move through the various pages on the website.
Sin #7 - Too Many Choices
Do not confuse website visitors by bombarding them with too many choices. If you provide customers too many choices, they may get confused or frustrated, and simply choose to leave your website. Keep the number of options to a minimum, and clearly explain the differences between the options that are provided.
Sin #8 - Lack Of Visuals
Customers want to see what they are thinking about buying, so be sure to include a visual image of a tangible product, such as a box shot. This is important even if the product is only delivered digitally.
Sin #9 - Failure To Use Adequate White Space
Visitors do not normally "read" a website. Instead, they are far more likely to just scan it. With that in mind, it is important to use a sufficient amount of "white space" around the important web copy, in order to break the copy into smaller, scan-able, and easier-to-read chunks.
Sin #10 - Writing For Search Engines
Rather Than Visitors In an effort to optimize a website for search engines, some webmasters often lose focus of the true purpose of the site. Write web copy for actual visitors, and not for the search engines.
When you are designing your next web site, or updating an existing site, be sure to avoid the Top 10 deadly web design sins!
About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll http://www.feedforall.com software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for RecordForAll http://www.recordforall.com audio recording and editing software.
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