8 common website design mistakes

Like everything else in life, website design could be done well or it could be done poorly. A well-designed website doesn't get much attention, but if it is poorly designed, not only do visitors notice, they complain too.

There are 8 common things that result in a bad website design and we'll take a closer look in this article.

1. Including Too Many Features In The Website Design

Many web designers equate features with value. They think that the more features they squeeze in on the website, it adds more value to the user. The result is that many websites have features that are not required and often take away from the main objective of the website. This effect is referred to as feature creep - a constant addition of new features that exceed the original scope.

Avoid this typical pitfall by using these two tips:

Always pay attention to the website's core value in the design process. Pinpoint the most important attributes and make them a priority. Remove any content or feature that is not in line with your priorities.

Rather than asking 'how' ask 'why'. When starting to design a new website, the biggest question has to be why you are designing it, not how.

2. Bypassing the Prototyping Stage

'Is there a need for a prototype when we can just make the website and test it with the customers?' If this is the website designer mindset, they place great emphasis on creating beautiful designs and opening it up to the public. The bad news is, once the design is on the market the post-release product team discover that changes need to be made. In addition, there will be a price to pay in terms of lost time and even turning potential customers away.

The web design team will help with prototyping before the final website is made public. Real customers can be used for testing. As per the NNGroup, it only takes 5 testers to pinpoint 85% of usability issues. This is why testing results are vital; it lets the design team know what is working and what isn't.

3. Falling In Love With A Design

Designers have a tendency to fall in love with their design creation. This makes it difficult for the designer to redesign or even remove design elements. They start to take the critical feedback personally. The outcome is that design decisions are too biased, which is an effect called confirmation bias. This is when designers research, analyse, prefer, and remember info in a manner that validates their pre-existing ideals.

The confirmation bias can be minimised when designers are included in the user testing sessions. It is empowering to see someone interact with the website you designed. It helps to shift the designer's focus back to the user. It now becomes much simpler to create a design that focuses on the user.

4. Assumptions Instead of Research

Designers of digital products eventually say to themselves, "I'm a user, so I understand what is bad or good for users." The designer then makes assumptions, ones that will make their design more user-friendly.

Having personal feelings as a designer is great, but not when they allow those personal feelings to hijack the design process. All design decisions, irrespective of how it came to be, have to be confirmed. Design decisions that stem from user research are often the best ones. The best approach is to clearly understand the needs of your users and base your design around that.

5. Ignoring User Input in the Design Process

It is important to get the user’s input in the design process for gaining knowledge if it is streamlining a new process or designing a new product from scratch. Bad designs usually come from designers that don't value the input or needs of the end user.

Designers need to collect knowledge about the end users and they also have to share those details with the stakeholders. It contributes greatly to establishing a collective awareness of real end-user needs.

6. Viewing Design as a Linear Process

Some design teams think that website design is a linear process that begins with an idea and ends with a website launch. With this approach, they establish objectives at the start and aim to get the website designed to the original objective.

Website design is actually an iterative procedure. To launch a website that has great user feedback, designers need to try a number of options before choosing the best optimised one for the users. Goals might actually have to be fine-tuned when they get enough valuable feedback from the users.

7. Not Establishing a Team Work Environment

If there are collaboration issues inside a team, developers and designers don't fully understand what the shared objective should be. This forces developers and designers to remain in their own silos.

Make it a priority to establish close teamwork between the design and technical staff. Rather than having a linear process for design and development, they should operate in parallel.

8. Attempting to Reinvent the Wheel

'Everyone is doing the same thing, this is boring'. With this mindset, designers are always tempted to reinvent the wheel - to design something completely different that no one has ever seen. However, designers need to remember that there are a number of solutions available and each one is time-consuming. Users have to become familiar with products that have new interactions. In our fast-moving society, consumers usually don’t need to figure out how to work with a new design.

Designers need to consider the user’s experience before trying to reinvent the wheel, which will take major time and effort. It is usually best to go with a design that is familiar - one that would be known to most end users. Let Russel Clow at Clow Creative help you resolve your design issues by contacting him at russ@clowcreative.com or visiting https://www.ClowCreative.com.

Russ Clow

Freelance Website Designer & Developer


I've been designing and developing websites for a very long time. In that time, I've learnt many things - and this article is written to help share that knowledge with others. Everything within this article is written based on my experience, but is my own professional view.

If you would like to tap into my knowledge further, please contact me for a free, no obligation quote.

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