Surfing the Internet has quickly developed over the years into one of the top things that people like to do. However, nothing turns Internet users off faster than those web pages that have too much or too little going on. The following is a list of some of these things that annoy us:
Ten Web Design No-Nos
- Flash- Flash introductions are usually met with a click of the mouse. While many people think that flash introductions will make their page stand out, quite the opposite is true. Even if your page loads your fancy introduction quickly, the same may not be true for others with varying computers and high speed access. Impatient Internet users won’t have time to wait around for the “page loading” bar to disappear before they do.
- Text Size- As if reading text on a computer isn’t difficult enough, some web pages contain text that is way too small. For most, this problem is corrected simply by holding down the ‘control’ button and then pressing the ‘+/=’ button to enlarge the text. But, why should you have to go to these lengths? Small text can turn off an Internet user who doesn’t want to sit there and squint or figure out how to make the text bigger.
- Images & Color Schemes- When people click on your web page, does it look like you’ve just taken a trip back to the 1980s? People are incredibly smart. They can spot a crappy picture a mile away. If your images are lacking in quality and the only color on your page is the white spaces inbetween your text, then you’ve got a problem. You want to have a good balance of white space on your pages in conjunction with a good balance of imagery so that readers don’t feel overwhelmed by text, text, text.
- Pop-ups- Perhaps the most annoying thing to any Internet user is having to wage a war against pop-ups. Not only are they distracting, but all it will take is one pop-up to turn a reader off to your site.
- Horizontal Scrolling- People who use the Internet tend to be one-dimensional- or should I say- ‘one-directional’. We hate having to scroll horizontally and avoid it at all costs. Typically, most web pages are created so that users only have to scroll vertically. Know what the standard size pixels are for most windows and try to adhere to it!
- Opening New Windows- Cross-linking is great because the thought behind it is that it keeps the user on your web site. However, if when people click on a hyperlink, it opens up a new window, things can get hairy fast. I don’t proclaim to be a web designer by any stretch of the imagination, but if you’re using a laptop or a computer with a smaller monitor/screen, having too many windows open can add up pretty quickly. In most cases, when someone clicks on a hyperlink, it should refresh the page so that the new content appears on the same page that they’re looking at- not in a separate window. Get it? Nowadays, most Internet users are savvy enough to know that if they DO want to have something open up in a different window, all they have to do is right click on the hyperlink and choose the option to do so.
- PDFs- If there’s anything Internet users hate coming across, it’s a PDF file. If you’ve ever seen those commercials for the Visa checkcard then you know what I’m about to say. Coming across a PDF file while your out and about on the Internet is akin to what happens in the Visa commercial; it interrupts your flow of web browsing! Often, if you are brave enough to open up a PDF, it will take a little time to load and then once it comes up, it is often not formatted properly which means that you will have to resize it so that you can actually read the text. Whenever you have the chance or option, convert PDFs so that they are readable on the web. It’ll keep your readers happy!
- Scannability- Most people reading things on the Internet don’t actually read everything; they scan it. Keeping this in mind, it is important to remember when you are writing web content (i.e. blogs or actual content pages), make sure that you include bold text along with italicized or underlined (whatever is appropriate). Remember the rules that you learned when you were in elementary school about how sentences and paragraphs are formed? Now would be a good time to use these rules. Know how, where and when to recognize that a sentence is getting too long or when a group of sentences need to be broken up into two paragraphs. All of these things contribute to the usability and readability of your web page and will make it easier on the reader.
- About Me- I certainly can’t speak for everyone out there, but one of the first things that I look for whenever I visit a new site or blog is an “About Me” tab or link. If your web page doesn’t have one yet, I highly advocate creating one. The “About Me” section should include a little more in-depth information about you and your site and what it’s all about. Some people choose to disclose more personal information here although it is certainly not necessary. Sometimes, I will click off of a web site if it doesn’t have an “About Me” section because it raises suspicion as to ownership and what the intentions of the site/person/persons really are.
- Linking- When it comes to website design and usability, the attention truly is in the details. This brings me to hyperlinking. When linking to other pages, ALWAYS make sure that the link works and that it is linking to the page you intended. Additionally, it is sometimes helpful (although certainly not necessary) to have the links change color once the person has clicked on them. This sort of acts as a reminder to the user that they have already looked at a particular link (just in case they forgot).