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27 Jul 12

Website Elements That Make You Cringe

Irwin Hau | User Interface

Being a digital studio and having been web designers and developers for so long, we all know what works and what doesn’t. Unfortunately not all our clients are aware of the no no’s of the industry (or that times have changed and that we’ve moved away from using Notepad to edit HTML). Whilst we scrutinise for details such as a ‘truly’ mobile responsive website design, there are other simpler things that even you can do to quickly improve your website! To help you out, we’ve put together a list of 5 simple things that annoy users (and us) in website design and development:

 

1) Over Used Stock Images

Meet Mr S. Tock Image. He’s used in EVERY ad. He looks way too generic and cheesy. Choosing the right stock image is not rocket science. It’s just a matter of drilling through a few pages and finding that perfect picture. As a starter, don’t choose images that everyone’s picked. Some sites like iStock actually have an icon indicating how many people have downloaded a particular photo. Choose something that’s different, you’re bound to find something. Also paying a few more dollars won’t break the bank. For those who don’t know, stock images come in different sizes and quality settings. The higher the quality, the more it costs, but in the scheme of it, a few dollars can make a huge difference. May a little bit more, don’t drink beer for a week and you’ll save your overall design and your health!

2) Write For Humans, Not Search Engines

Bombarding your website with content that is spammed with keyword search terms and phrases is not only bad search engine optmisation practice but can now get you penalised (since Google launched its Panda updates). When writing content, make sure you write for your customers, and if you do it correctly, keeping it fresh, unique and up to date, SEO will kick in naturally and Google will love you for it. Bad SEO content is hard to read, looks bad and makes your website look cheap.

3) Hiding Contact Details

Who is your daddy and what does he do? 2 important parts of a website, About Us (who are you) and Contact Us (how do I get in touch with you). If customers don’t know who you are, what you do and can’t get in touch with you, then what’s the point of having a website. Clear details need to be featured on the top right hand corner (like a phone number) or on the bottom in the footer (address, phone number, email address). Also have links throughout the site directing back to the Contact Us page. Remember, successful lead generation is done once the client is speaking to you in person, so make sure you’re details are clearly displayed.

4) Pop Up Advertisements

You know the one – buy buy buy, subscribe now, sign up, you’re our lucky 1 millionth visitor! Don’t get me wrong, call to actions are great and important, but it needs to be done carefully, and I’m talking about the gimmicky pop ups that continuously bombard your screen. You want to stay away from spammy tactics. The simple solution is have well written content done by a professional that leads into a compelling call to actions and/or special offers. That way you’re more likely to make the sale then annoy your customer.

5) Lack of multimedia options

So you’re in your office secretly searching for your next holiday, a funny LOL cat site, etc and the moment you click on the web link, sound and video auto plays and you’ve forgotten to turn down your speakers. Busted! Ok, the point isn’t about being sneaky around the office but that auto play multimedia content should be controlled by the user. We’ve even seen some sites where there are no player controls altogether! Simply buttons like play, stop, volume and mute are bare essentials when dealing with multimedia content. A visible on off switch would also be helpful.

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