4 of the most common user experience mistakes made by web designers

November 10, 2017

Building a website isn’t easy. Let’s get that straight.

There’s the wireframe, the endless revisions, the process of defining the customer journey, the eventual build, re-design, snagging… and that’s before you even get to the all-important SEO and eventual launch.

Despite this monumental effort, there are still countless examples of poor user experience on the web, and in today’s blog, we’re going to list four of the most common.

Avoid this advice at your peril!

1. Endless image sliders

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with an image slider taking up the majority of ‘above the fold’ content, but it’s a web design element that’s perilously easy to get wrong.

Any more than five images, and you’re adding content to the site which people simply aren’t going to engage with. Indeed, too many images negatively affects the user experience, because they might choose to ignore your hard work.

Put it this way - the less images you have in your carousel, the more concise your message. And that’s a very good thing indeed.

2. Overriding basic user functionality

You might have experienced this: you’re happily browsing the web when you arrive on a website which seems to think it knows better than you.

As you begin scrolling, the website suddenly and inexplicably takes control, automatically scrolling you to a specific point on the page (usually some form of newsletter sign-up or special offer).

What gives? You know how to scroll! Why should the website force you to view a certain portion of the page?

Avoid scroll hijacking of this kind with your website and any other ‘clever’ tricks that overrides functionality which should remain entirely within the user’s grasp.

3. Terrible fonts

There seems to be a clamour on behalf of web designers for thin fonts. They’re seen as being fresh and fashionable, and while they might look good in print, on the web, they can cause some serious usability issues.

Firstly, not everyone has super sharp retina screens to render thin fonts properly. You may have experienced this yourself on certain laptops or monitors where such fonts almost disappear when scrolling.

Disappearing content? No thanks.

There’s a reason the tech leaders of the world are opting for more thickset fonts on their devices (think Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android operating systems); they’re far more kind to the user.

4. Huge fixed headers

Just like image carousels, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with fixed headers. In fact, they’re a brilliant thing for the user, because it prevents the main site navigation from disappearing and means they have to do far less scrolling while on your site.

However, huge fixed headers are an issue, and they’re quite prevalent from what we’ve seen. What’s worse, some even extend further when you begin scrolling to reveal more navigation options.

The bigger the header, the more body content it will hide, and you’ll instantly negate any gains made by it being there in the first place.

Keep your header fixed, but make sure it’s as small as it can be (it really shouldn’t be much taller than the text it needs to contain).

Wrapping up

We know the above user experience mistakes are costly because we know how to design and build websites that exceed expectations.

Need help with your web presence? Get in touch with Newedge today.