Or: how not to attract customers to your website thanks to shoddy web design and development

Since Dreamkatcha was formed, our aim from the start was to raise standards in web design. We are strong advocates of accessibility, clear design, and aim to raise the bar a little higher each time. In our time, we have seen some websites that were acceptable in the 1990s and should have stayed there. This has inspired our latest posting on the ten deadly sins of web design and development.

10. Neglecting Cross Browser Compatibility

Most of our web browsing is done on mobile devices – iPhones, iPads, Android tablets and so on. More than ever, websites need to be designed for all browsers and all users, and this means using responsive web design techniques. From traditional PCs to the most modest of smartphones.

9. Automated Music

Just don’t bother. Having automated music on your website is a one-way ticket to higher bounce rates. The embedded audio file may be charming for 10 seconds but hearing the same muzak each time you load the site is irritating at the very least.

8. Ignoring White Space

A balance between content and whitespace is an essential ingredient of any website. The browser, irrespective of their device or PC does not want to be bombarded with an overkill of text, graphics, audio and video files. Potential customers may take their business elsewhere.

7. Too Many Stock Images

Sometimes you can tell from a great distance if the web designer has plumped for stock images. For example: the clichéd pictures of women with white teeth and call centre headsets. Go for original images featuring your own work. Hire a photographer or teach yourself, and invest in some high quality photographic equipment. A well focused original image with a DSLR or a film camera adds more value to your site than a stock image.

6. Images Of Text

Images of text are a major accessibility issue. If s/he is unable to view images on your website, imagine if textual content was saved as an image file? Furthermore, your website won’t be properly indexed by search engines if text is used in this way. Thanks to CSS techniques, this method is wholly obsolete.

5. Too Many Big Images

Big images can either take forever to load or be a pain to navigate on a mobile phone. If you’re designing for mobile devices as well as desktop PCs, ensuring the scalability of images is important. With loading time another issue, image sizes should strike a balance between clarity and file sizes.

4. No Clickable Logo

With responsive web design in its ascendency, the use of a clickable logo is more important than ever. Today’s web designers and visitors to your website associate the clickable logo as the back to Home link.

3. Confusing Navigation

In cyberspace, there is nothing worse than getting lost on a website due to arcane navigation systems. It is imperative that your website has the same navigation on all of its pages, with primary links given pride of place. Pull down menus from primary links could be used to direct users to secondary pages.

2. Inconsistent Style

What’s worse than inconsistent navigation? An inconsistent style throughout your website. This was why CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) was invented in the first place. It also allows for wasteful coding, slowing down your website and its ability to be seen by search engine directories. A consistent house style throughout your website allows for continuity from the Home page to the Sitemap.

1. Splash Pages

For our final web design peeve, we look at something that was acceptable for a while though truly awful in 2017. Ladies and gentlemen, we give you… the Splash Page. The idea of a splash page was to ‘greet’ visitors to the client’s website, usually with a self-indulgent Flash or Shockwave movie clip. But, in the dial-up era, they were slow and added little value to the site. Which is why they were – and still remain today – discredited as a web design technique. This form of ego massaging is also bad for rankings.

Finally…

We strongly advise refraining from using the ten techniques detailed above. Unless you’re the creative genius behind the Lings Cars website which breaks every design and style rule going. A poorly designed website is usually bad for business, but Ling Valentine bucks the trend. With the way it is designed, it actually satirises ‘90s websites in a fun way and pricks the pomposity of its rivals.