All web designers want perfection. However, they are just humans and mistakes can always appear. It is so easy to simply overlook some details. There is no designer in the world that did not make mistakes and avoiding them is something that normally happens after some time.
We will now talk about some of the most common of the mistakes that the web designers make on a constant basis, those that you most likely already did at least once. Correct your bad habits and overcome the hurdles that you are currently guilty of so that your work would be better than ever.
In modern website design we rarely see Flash used even if it is quite amazing at what it can do. We are faced with the possibility to give the visitor an animated experience that is impressive but there is associated baggage.
The modern trend in web design is to use large images all throughout a site. That will definitely make the experience more enjoyable and the user will have something great to look at but there are some complications that the designer and the developer need to be aware of.
Page load is automatically increased whenever larger images are utilized. This can lead towards a very bad scenario for the site visitor. The good news is that we do have access to various different tools that help a lot with optimizing images. Those that you may want to consider include:
Apps like PrePros can help optimize images automatically while inside applications. The problem is that tools will help workflows but will not solve the huge problem associated with the load time, at least not completely.
Many designers now use SVG. They use codes in order to animate and draw graphics in a browser environment. We thus end up with an accelerated page load and various elements that are eye catching.
We should also highlight the fact that larger images will complicate web design because of the non-responsive factor. We are talking about a design element that has set height and width. Browsers will scale images but we have the same file size.
W3C now works on using “
<picture>” as an HTML5 element. That would allow calling images of different sizes based on the width of the viewing screen. When this happens, the experience would be a lot better for the viewer but until the implementation, you should avoid the larger images.
Adaptation is automatically restrained for users when fixed sizes are coded. We have workarounds but we have to always think about creating a web design pattern that is 100% responsive. Fixed height that is set in CSS can limit the viewable area for the user. Going over that is possible through media query adjustments but the extra code that is added will lead towards issues with performance. You do not really need that. In most cases you should not use fixed sizes. They have to be avoided as much as possible in the modern web design environment.
Web designers normally work with software like Adobe Photoshop or Sketch. When work is done, the common assumption is having a specific breakpoint in the responsive workflow. Screen widths that are seen as standard will cover many different screen sizes but covering all of them is not a certainty. We have thousands of mobile devices that are available on the market. Creating a design that would work for everything is very difficult.
When you work on specific widths, you have to plan and forward thinking becomes an important skill for the web designer. You have to be sure that assumptions are not made and that you would actually do work inside the browser after the regular graphic editor work is over.
You can see this problem even on some of the most popular sites in the world. So many websites are offering a breathtaking experience, with many offering something truly unique and amazing. However, this does not mean adding as many effects and animations as you could. It is very important to combine the principles of web design with the purpose of finding the right mix between functionality and graphical impact.
There are two big problems that are associated with overdoing it with animations and effects:
The popular hacks and animations at the moment are those that add fade in, up or down elements. They can look great and will make sites look great but that does not mean that you should always use them. See if the overall page load would be too much for the devices that most visitors will use and never forget about page load speed. These are very important and need to always offer great experiences for visitors.
This is a mistake that is much more common than what you may think at the moment. Links need to always do what they do. This means that when a link has an improper styling, people are not going to figure out that they are links. We need to always think about visitors so links do have to always look like links. You can experiment and not stick to the standard blue underline but you should never overdo it.
In case you are not aware of this, DRY means “Don’t Repeat Yourself”. It is a method in web design and it practically means that the designer is helped to keep code concise and clone. Only the use of the necessary code is recommended at all times for website styling.
When using traditional CSS, much repetition is necessary with specific elements that are used inside other elements. The selectors end up being really large and will take a lot of time to actually write. When you use classes in design instead of styling every single element in the HTML page, everything becomes a lot simpler.
A very good idea at the moment is to utilize pre-processing languages like Sass. They are pretty useful in terms of necessary CSS technology. Languages that are used will speed up development and design because of the fact that they include features like variables, functions, mixins, nestings and so much more. Code that is produced will then be compiled into the CSS code. Web developers and web designers can now use fewer code lines and repetition can easily be avoided thanks to the languages.
We can define Graceful Degradation as a practice of building web functionality capable of offering a specific user experience level in a modern browser while degrading to lower user experience levels in the older browsers. This sounds a little complex but as an example, we can discuss Internet Explorer 8 and 7 support. You would be surprised to learn that most users will simply not update browsers for long periods of time. Because of this, you need to add graceful degradation so that proper support would be in place for both of the browser versions.
Modern websites are easy to develop but at a later point in time you can end up noticing the fact that in an older browser, the pages look really bad because of specific dependencies.
This is something that is similar to the above mentioned Graceful Degradation. The difference is that the process is handled in reverse by starting with the basic experience level that is supported in every single web browser. Then, the designer/developer adds increased functionality that is available to the browsers that could use it.
Both this option and the one above are complicated. They are normally used only by the really good designers. However, with many browsers that are available now, we need to seriously consider the options. The web designers will normally have clients decide exactly what is going to be supported. You need to try to use these approaches though in order to offer a really great experience for the users that are particularly active and right inside the target audience.
One of the most important parts of any website out there is navigation. The designer has to be able to make the visitor experience natural. The purpose is to make navigation really simple and intuitive. A user will automatically understand that the experience is a proper one when the design has taken this element into consideration.
Whenever user experience is poor, we see visitors frustrated. They simply do not visit a specific site again and will look at other pages for the solutions to their problems. Usability needs to always be considered by the designer. Design has to look great but you should never forget about functionality. Easiness of use is needed and a lack of this would make the entire design useless.
“Form Follows Function” is a really common architecture principle that appeared in the twentieth century, right during the modern architecture industrial design phase. This is a principle that you need to remember at all times in web design.
Web and graphic design are really similar to modern architecture in terms of necessary functionality. The object form has to first be based on the intended purpose or function. In terms of websites, we can see them as information databases that are spread all around the internet. The user will visit a website in order to get specific data. This is where the content steps in to offer that data. As the visitor ends up on a site and does not find the data, he will look for it somewhere else, without even looking at the design. At the same time, in the event that the design makes it really hard to locate or digest the data, the same result happens.
Internet users now want access to information and they want this access to be fast. Form Over Function ends up being really important in web design. Not taking this principle into account means that the focus is put on looks instead of the content offered. As a result, websites will not be really popular. The content needs to stand out at all times.
At their roots, the most common web design mistakes related to trying to come up with something really beautiful and unique while not taking into account the reason why the visitors actually go to a site. Because of this, you want to always have the necessary patience to combine a really good design with complete functionality.
Always create websites that are functional and keep learning new technologies as time passes. The best web designers in the world keep learning and always stay up-to-date with everything that can and cannot be done. You want to create your web design, talk with the client and then make sure that the visitors will appreciate what is offered. This is a lot easier said than done but in time, everything becomes a lot easier.
Make sure that you always take as much time as needed to create something really great. Another unmentioned mistake in web design is not allowing yourself the necessary time to actually create that perfect website design. This normally happens as clients need work to be done in the shortest period of time. Do make sure that you always have enough time to create that stellar web design that you know you can.