Personally I think the biggest general type of mistake I see with web design is that it’s not balanced, that you can look at a site and you can see that it’s been overly influenced by one type of person.
So for example; the compliance to fit with accessibility has meant that visually the site does nothing for the brand, it’s not a compelling experience. On the other hand you get the opposite situation where you might have a retail site where it’s being totally designed in flash, doesn’t work in terms of accessibility or usability although it might look quite good visually, so it’s about having the right hybrid approach with the visuals, accessibility, usability, and increasingly with the social networking, get a good end user content so I love the Firebox site, for example, where people can submit their own videos and their own commentary and it’s amazing what’s on there and I think it really helps sell the products by having that user involvement.
Online Value Proposition:
So something that I would say is really important is to have an online value proposition – OVP as I call it – which would allow you to really explain your unique point of difference to get across that you’re actually a trusted provider; so things like testimonials can help with that or the number of users you’ve got, if you look at thesalesforce.com website, a business to business example, they’re really good at doing those things.
Most Common Web Design Mistakes:
Now some of the other mistake that you would often see are really the goals for each page aren’t clear enough, so to my mind each page needs to be designed around the cause to action and what you’re looking to achieve and you can see this by doing the right tracking, which pages aren’t resonating with the audience and they’re immediately hitting the back button.
SEO VS Web Design:
SEO would be another area, often a web design agency is very skilled when it comes to the visual design and the technical design of the coding and the style sheets integrated with databases, but I think there’s some basic rules of SEO that web design agencies if they know they can do a much better job for there for their clients. Yeah I think there’s one final mistake you see with web design and very few companies get this right, and the site design just isn’t sufficiently flexible enough, and often you can see why that’s the case because of the content management system that’s used, but web technology changes so often that you do need a flexible design that you can try new approaches that you can move different content pods, cause to action around the screen to see what’s working, what’s not working.
Real World Examples of Good Web Design:
Amazon is one of the few companies I think that does this well, they’re continually trialing new approaches and they’ll tell you that they look at these different… they’ll use multi-variants testing to see which messages, which images work best… Love Film, the DVD rental company would be another company that does that. But I’ve seen some sites from major brands where they’re sending millions of pounds worth of traffic to landing pages, and if you look at the page this year it will be the same as it was last year, or the year before, and you can’t tell me they’re getting the most from that when their competitors are updating the pages daily, almost.
Bootnote: For real world examples of bad web design have a look at webpagesthatsuck.com for some ideas and inspiration on how NOT to do things.
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