It can be tempting to push the limits of design to make your website stand out on an overcrowded Internet. While creativity and a fresh approach are undoubtedly preferred to something that’s been done ad nauseam, there are some rules that just aren’t meant to be broken.
Whatever you do, avoid breaking these 10 web design basics.
1. Don’t type in all CAPS. While you might think it better makes your point, all it does is turn off the reader. Additionally, it makes it look like you’re shouting at them all the time.
2. Don’t use tiny fonts. Yes, you may be able to fit more information onto the page or into the content block, but at what cost?
3. Don’t overcrowd your pages with ads. We know they can be a great way to bring in extra revenue, but if you push the balance too far you’ll stop bringing in visitors.
4. Don’t have videos or sound automatically play when a page is loaded. While it may call attention to something you want a visitor to see, it can be very disorienting/off-putting for visitors and greatly slows load time.
5. Don’t use fancy fonts that are difficult to read or employ a light text color over a light background. Legibility is the number one goal, and should not be sacrificed for a perceived aesthetic.
6. Don’t create links that open new browser windows. This can confuse and lose the reader.
7. Don’t create lines of text that are excessively long. Less is more – keep your information to the point to avoid losing your audience’s attention.
8. Don’t populate your site with broken links. It’s frustrating for your visitor and hinders overall usability.
9. Don’t make visitors register before use unless absolutely necessary. It may be great for expanding your email list/network, but it’s off-putting for visitors and leads to an exponentially higher bounce rate.
10. Don’t clutter your navigation or menu bar. Visitors need to be able to navigate as quickly as possible, but that doesn’t mean everything needs to have a space in the navigation. A search bar can help in this regard.