Website design comes in an amazing array of styles. Some styles are so simply put together that they become edgy. Others amaze the user with a riot of color and sound. Great websites don’t overwhelm the user, but draw them in and excite their senses, instead. These sites are consistently rated among the best of the Web, becoming almost legendary as a result.
Then there are the not-so-good sites, the ones that are so bad that they’re a virtual train wreck. Now, nobody who is working as a web designer wants responsibility for creating a gapers block on the Internet, but it happens. Everyone has to start out somewhere, and sometimes the start is not very auspicious. Web design disasters like these become legendary for all of the wrong reasons.
Here’s a look at the top 10 web design disasters and mistakes, and why they are so bad:
1. Yale School of Art. This one is a tad forgivable, considering that it’s a wiki for the art grad students, faculty, staff and alums. However, it does nothing to highlight the school’s art program and can even turn off potential students.
2. The website of Joneschijoffis presents something, but what exactly? The site does absolutely nothing, loosing the user’s interest quickly.
3. Never put important text into an image on a website. This move is guaranteed to ensure that search engines won’t find your keywords. Prepare to kiss your ranking goodbye if the search engine crawler can’t find your keywords.
4. Don’t load your site with duplicate content. The more duplicate content you have, the less seriously your site will be taken by the search engines and potential customers.
5. Shop In Paradise is a perfect example of schizophrenic web design. Images laid out in no planned order, blocks of text in different fonts, and random products slapped in random places on the page.
6. Resist the urge to place all of the content on one page. This creates a main page that just keeps scrolling, turning off users. Remember that multiple pages are always better than one.
7. Zinc Bistro. Just try to figure out where the website navigation is located. It is not obvious, nor is it intuitive. Add annoying music with a rapidly moving slideshow you get a site that doesn’t make any sense.
8. Avoid using music or audio that plays automatically. It only serves to annoy users and cause them to either leave the site or go in search of the “off” button.
9. Don’t use Flash or Java for menus or navigation. Search engines cannot read it and will overlook the site as a result.
10. Use graphics correctly. Don’t use obnoxious animated GIFs and hope for the best. Avoid nasty images, opting for tasteful and appropriate content instead.
Web design can offer a rewarding career that includes much expression and creativity. Use the mistakes and disasters of others as a guide for what not to do.