Some web design theories are pretty complicated. Others verge on being self explanatory. An example of the latter is that you should not waste peoples time. Despite the simplicity of this web design theory, it is one that many web designers occasionally forget about.
Regardless of whether you are designing a blog or a fully featured e commerce site, the same logic always applies. Allow people to complete their goals in a swift, efficient manner. Or in other words, avoid making any of the following surprisingly common design mistakes.
Few web design mistakes waste more time than poor navigation systems. When somebody arrives on your site, they should immediately know how to find what they are looking for. This means that all of the following should be present:
- Important links along the top, it’s where people look for them.
- Specific, well defined categories.
- Breadcrumbs to guide users as they browse your site.
Content That Cannot Be Scanned
Regardless of how talented you are when it comes to content creation, many web users are going to access your site solely looking for information on a particular topic. You should make such information easily accessible by making your content scannable.
Doing so will allow your sites users to skip what they don’t want to read and find what they do want to read fast. Both sub headings and small paragraphs are essential when it comes to creating scannable content. Big blocks of text should not exist online.
Slow Loading Times
Of course, the easiest way to waste your visitors time is to make them wait half the day for your website to load. A slow loading time is one of the last design mistakes that you want to make. It is notorious for playing havoc with a sites bounce rate. If your website is taking longer than ten seconds to load, consider the following options.
- Remove/optimise your images.
- Remove flash.
- Clean up your code i.e. remove unnecessary white space/comments.
- Talk to your hosting company.
Captchas are not only capable of wasting peoples time, they are also incredibly irritating. They should only be used if absolutely necessary i.e. if you believe that your website is going to be targeted by bots.
Don’t use a captcha just on the off chance that it will be attacked. And if you do deem it necessary to use a captcha on your site, make sure that the captchas that you use are both legible and easily refreshed.
Homepages That Introduce Your Site/Intros
When somebody enters the address of your homepage into their browser, that’s exactly where they should end up. They should not be presented with a page asking them if they want to visit your real homepage.
Intros should of course also be avoided. Advertisers might be willing to pay high prices for them but few users are willing to put up with them.
Too Much/Too Little Pagination
Finally, we have pagination which refers to the division of content over multiple pages. Without any pagination, the internet would of course be a bit of a nightmare. Too much pagination however is also capable of wasting peoples time.
- Avoid overly long web pages, they invite needless scrolling. They also tend to lead to users bouncing before they find what they are looking for.
- Don’t use separate pages just to increase page views/advertising revenue.