Website specification

When you as a business owner or manager hire a professional web designer, it’s presumably because you want your website to look professional enough to draw in customers or clients. But sometimes, even professional web design companies get it wrong. That means it’s in your best interest as a client to educate yourself on the basics of website design and marketing so you can look out for some red flags. Here are the five biggest website design mistakes you should never see on your site:

  1. Being Desktop-Centric or Non-Responsive

    It’s 2015, and we’ve moved from “mobile-friendly” to “mobile-first.” If your website doesn’t work on mobile devices, it doesn’t work — period. If you’re working with a company that tells you otherwise, it’s time to hire someone new immediately.

  2. Embedding Clunky Document Types

    Document formats such as PDFs don’t have responsive fonts (so your users may be struggling to make out the words at all) and are created for viewing in a vertical, rather than horizontal, format. There are a few times when it’s appropriate and helpful to the user to embed a file on a website. But this should only be done if you intend the user to download and print it. Normally, it should be the job of your design company to distill down company materials into formats that will be usable online.

  3. Including Text That Can’t Be Scanned

    You can bemoan the attention span of Internet users all you like, but the bottom line is that very few site visitors will be willing to read through long, blocky chunks of text. Points should be broken down into bullet points, and every single word should count.

  4. Trying to Be Too Different in Design

    It’s true that your web design should set you apart from your competitors. But web users also like consistency, and when your website doesn’t work in intuitive ways, they’re likely to get frustrated and leave. There’s something to be said for industry standards.

  5. Failing to Answer the Obvious Questions

    At the heart of all marketing — and a business’ website is one of its greatest marketing tools — is the goal of solving problems or answering questions for the client before they even know they have them. So when your website fails to answer the obvious questions clients are bound to ask (“what does this cost?” being one of the most common), then your website isn’t doing all it can marketing-wise.

Can you think of any tips on professional web design or any other big design mistakes to avoid? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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