5 frequent design mistakes

Mistake #1: Designing your website for yourself

The number one rule:

Know thy users, for they are not you

There are a lot of differences between you and your website visitors, for example:

  • You don’t have the same goal. If yours is to be more visible, they come with a question and are looking for an answer
  • You are an expert of what you do, and some of your visitors are discovering you and your services for the first time

Get to know your visitors: their issues, their needs, their way of thinking. And build around that. It will make your website way more user-friendly.

Mistake #2: Changing the language brings your visitors back to homepage

There are 4 national languages in Switzerland. It means that almost every major website is available in several languages – two at least.

A screenshot of a language menu dropdown from The Noun Project
A very nice language switch menu created by The Noun Project

During an ad-campaign, for example, your visitor could receive a link to a specific webpage that is not in their preferred language. So they spot the language switch, they click on it… and they are taken back to the homepage.

This is very confusing, and could even be annoying, because your visitors then have to navigate to find the wanted webpage. There is a high risk that your visitors will give up and leave the website.

Language switch should match webpages that have the same content and link them together.

Mistake #3: Poorly designed links

Links are great tools for call-to-actions. It is then important to create efficient links. Sounds easy, right? Well, not so much!

Screenshot of a news on Jack White's website
Ah, Jack White, I love your music… but those links are not well designed! Where do all those “HERE” link to? It’s hard to tell at first glance.

There are a few guidelines to create great links:

  • Links should be unique
  • Great links are descriptive of the content they refer to
  • Powerful links begin with strong keywords

That is why “Click here” is not a good idea: it is neither unique, descriptive nor a keyword.

Mistake #4: Not observing standards

Standards allow people to quickly recognise elements: they immediatly know what they can do.

A screenshot of a homepage in French
Can you spot the search bar? If it was well designed, you could see it even if you don’t understand French.

It is sometimes difficult to find the right balance between creativity and common design.

Mistake #5: Missing a “Home” link

Your visitors may have landed on your website through a search engine or through social media. They might land on a specific page, without seeing the homepage.

People like to go back to the homepage, especially when they feel lost or when they want to start a new exploration of the website.

A screenshot of Life of Pi homepage
There is nice “Home” indication on the navigation menu: well done!

So make sure to have a “Home” link on your navigation menu.

These mistakes can lead to less visitors or less commitment

The problems I listed here may seem harmless: they’re focusing on details. And yet, those design problems get your visitors

  • distracted
  • lost
  • annoyed
  • frustrated

And so there are great chances they won’t come back on your website.

Have me review your website!

  • Get a report on what works and what needs improvement
  • Get clear directions on how to improve your website to keep your visitors engaged

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