One of the great things about the internet is how the things on it can theoretically last forever. If no-one makes the decision to take it down, it can last there infinitely, as a kind of digital museum oddity.
However, it’s far less funny when websites nowadays use these kinds of elements. The hundred different fonts, terrible backgrounds and small, low-quality images. How crazy to imagine a website in 2018 still using these aspects. It does happen though, and far more often than you may think.
With that in mind, here are 5 Terrible Web Design mistakes that even a talented web design expert will still make now and again. Suffice to say, if your website is using any of these aspects, it may be time to think about an update.
I would like to think that web developers have learned a lot about colour theory in the past 20 years, and for the most part, they have. The use of complimentary colours, often subtle or pastel hues that help add a visual flair to a design is now the norm.
Then there’s websites that think colour is the most important aspect of a website, more so than content. These websites then go and shove it in your face. Websites with bright red or garish green layouts. These websites are a visual nightmare and no web design expert would make these choices, so we can only hope they are caused by pushy clients.
Too Many Fonts
The right choice of font can do a lot for a piece of text. It can be presented in a professional manner (Arial), perhaps with more character (Papyrus) or it can be cartoony to appeal to children (Comic Sans), whilst Sans Serif fonts are theoretically easier to read on-screens.
With all these possibilities it can be difficult to know which to choose. And what if you want a different meaning for each piece of text on-screen? Why, use 30 different fonts of course!
No. Do not do that. I was using sarcasm to illustrate a point. Too many fonts on-screen can be confusing to see as each style is fighting for attention. The text itself loses any flow it has as your eyes jump from font to font, rather than focusing on the content itself.
Music on websites is one of the most memorable aspects of websites from the early 2000s. MySpace was the most prominent of the offenders, with the ability to add your own song to your profile. The idea was to help give visitors an idea of who you are and what your personality is.
People did this for years, despite knowing that any time they went onto someone else’s profile, the first thing they did was turn off whatever awful music was playing. Adding music to your web page is distracting and anything you choose is unlikely to appeal to every (or any) visitor you get. Most importantly, however, is that it changes the users first thought from:
“What a lovely website. What should I look at first?” into
“How on earth do I turn this dreadful music of?”
That is known as “Starting off on the wrong foot”.
As I mentioned on the Space Jam website, it has a dreadful space background, with bright stars distracting you. Well guess what? That kind of background is still being used. The space-theme is certainly less common, but dark background with repeating patterns still exist on a multitude of websites. They are distracting and even if the pattern is made of the business logo, it ruins the layout and theme and looks unimaginably juvenile.
A background should generally be a block colour, usually pastel or faded. This then highlights and compliments the contents, rather than fighting with it for attention.
Augmented Reality Game (ARGs) are played online, often on seemingly innocent websites. ARGs are a story, spanning multiple websites. Readers must engage with the websites, dig around, solving puzzles along the way, to continue the story. For these games to work, the website navigation is intentionally awkward as it creates a challenge for the players to solve.
Unless your website is running an ARG, and I highly doubt that it is, then you should have clean, simple navigation. Your users are not engaged with the website yet and will find no pleasure in struggling to find the section of your website they want. Any web design expert worth their salt should be able to create you a simple website design that accentuates a simple and enjoyable User Experience.