Every professional web designer wants to deliver an end product that makes your client do a happy dance while singing praise. Right? Of course. Everyone wants that. Happily dancing clients lead to word of mouth referrals, which in turn pads bank accounts. Great design depends on creativity and individual instinct, but here are a few things to avoid.
Boring Imagery and Stuffy Stock Photos
Website visitors love pretty imagery, in particular photos of people doing things. Not only does it lend a much needed dash of humanity to a site, it also makes the design easy on the eyes. Images and photos help break up monotonous chunks of text and add an aesthetic that guides readers from one point to another. Unfortunately, the web is chock full of websites that utilize boring images and stuffy stock photos that don’t really represent what’s on the page. Keep this in mind the next time you’re paging through a library of stock images. Encourage your clients to provide you with real photos of their company and their employees. Work with them to develop graphic images that are representative of their goods and services. Any images that you embed onto a website should help move the “story” forward. If they’re boring or appear to be fake, it could turn off site visitors.
The ultimate online interruption, pop-ups are often used by web designers to encourage a specific call to action. Whether that’s to sign up for a company’s email list or to “Buy Now!” at deeply discounted prices. Pop-ups serve a purpose. But they’re also the easy way out for companies lacking in the things that really work to convert site visitors: compelling content and convincing CTAs. If you find yourself being asked to design pop-ups at every turn, perhaps it’s time to have a talk with your client and offer them alternatives that won’t serve to turn off potential customers and drive business away.
Automatically Launching Video or Audio
If your client wants site visitors to watch a video or listen to a sales pitch, they may ask you to embed previously recorded multimedia to their website in an effort to hook customers in immediately. You can’t blame them, can you? It’s common knowledge that the average website has a matter of seconds to hook prospective customers. Naturally, companies want to try to take full advantage of this precious time to give ‘em all they’ve got. The problem is, automatically playing multimedia – a trend that began with aggressive affiliate marketers – is considered extremely annoying by most web surfers, and is one of the chief causes of instant visitor annoyance. While it may look or sound cool from the site owner’s perspective to have a fully automatic website, this is actually a major no-no that you should avoid designing at all costs.
Social sharing is one of the most impactful methods of increasing a website’s exposure through organic methods. Therefore it always comes as a shock to discover a website that doesn’t include some simple method to allow visitors to share content with their friends via the widest possible number of social media platforms. When designing a website, you should always include highly visible social sharing buttons. The more, the merrier. Look beyond the obvious – such as Facebook and Twitter – to include the full gamut including Tumblr, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest. Social sharing buttons can be embedded in the page in a non-intrusive way, sometimes just by adding a plugin.
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