trendsIn the world of web design, you can do amazing things. Really amazing. But all too often website developers incorporate tech-gizmos in their web design just because they can. Websites don’t need to be flashy. They need to work well. And that means they need to do what the user – not the web developer – wants. It’s absolutely critical that websites are designed with their users in mind. Your website visitors need to be able to get to your website – quickly. They need to be able to find the information they want – easily. And they must be able to make their own choices about the content they see – independently.

7 misguided website design techniques

With web design everything is possible. But that doesn’t mean it’s always a good idea. Here is Marketing Zone’s hit list of outmoded web design techniques. Don’t say we haven’t warned you!

1.     Slow to load Flash animations

Flash enables developers to create animations on websites. The idea is that using movement will be more eye-catching and engaging for customers.

Marketing Zone thinks Flash is a bad idea. We always have. Even before it became accepted design wisdom. It makes websites clunky and so slow to load. And if a website doesn’t load within 3 seconds 40% of your potential website visitors will abandon it. It doesn’t work on mobiles either, and these days most people use their mobiles to access the internet, at least some of the time. Not only that, Flash content can’t be readily accessed and understood by search engines. So your website will be hard to find. Flash animations are rarely so appealing that they can counteract the fact that for every 1 second delay in page response your website conversions can be reduced by 7%. With Flash, it all adds up to lost customers.

2.     Double trouble with a website plus mobile-only site

In the beginning were websites. Then with more people getting onto the internet via their smartphones, companies responded by creating a cut-down version of their website especially for mobiles, the mobile-only website.

At Marketing Zone, we believe mobile-only sites are a bad idea. Whenever you update your main website, you also have to update your mobile website. It means more work and a greater risk that you’ll be saying different things on each site. Plus, it can create problems because you’ll be presenting duplicate content which search engines don’t appreciate. Nowadays there’s no need to tackle the issue of people using different devices to get on the internet with two websites. Responsive web design means you can create a single website which is re-rendered depending which device its viewed from. It automatically resizes for PCs, tablets and smartphones. Navigation is altered and images condensed too. This nifty tech makes mobile-only sites extinct.

3.     Scroll speed mash-up with too much Parallax

Parallax is a web design technique that enables the components of a web page to move at different speeds as the user scrolls. It’s often used to make the background of the web page move at a different speed to other elements on the page when you scroll. It can add to the visual impact of the page.

While parallax can create exciting visual effects we think it should be used sparingly. It’s hard to make it work well with mobiles, it can hamper your efforts to move up the ranking with search engines and it can make your web pages slow to load. That’s why Marketing Zone say, if you’re using parallax, do so in moderation. Better still, don’t use it at all.

4.     Frustrating Splash pages that get in the way

A splash page is a front page to a website that you see before you’re given access to the main website. They’re used to draw your attention to something, for example to promote a product or offer, or to notify the user of something, before they access the main site.

Marketing Zone hates splash pages. But we’re not the only ones. Users hate them too. They hate them because they take time to load and have no navigation. So splash pages get in the way of accessing the information they really want. We believe splash pages will lose you visitors, so don’t use them.

5.     Modals which demand a response before you get to the good stuff

Like splash pages, a modal appears in front of the website. To get where you want to be, first you have to respond to the modal. It’s used for things like registering for a white paper, subscribing to a service, entering a contest or getting a free download.

Marketing Zone says think carefully about using modals. They can work if the content of the modal is what users are expecting to see, say if they’ve clicked on an email link about entering a contest and are then served a modal to take part in the contest. But if they’re not what your web visitors are expecting to see then a modal will get in the way of their enquiry or purchase.

6.     Autoplay multimedia content that brings unwanted attention

Some websites are designed to automatically play music or run a video when the user lands on a web page. It’s done as a way to guide your web journey through the content the website owner thinks is the most important.

Marketing Zone thinks autoplay is intrusive and very rude. Imagine you’re working in a quiet office and need to check something online. You click on a new website and you and your colleagues are subjected to loud music or a video track that is very distracting. It leaves you scrambling to switch off the sound. Not only that it prevents you from navigating to where you want to be. We think autoplay should be avoided. Show some respect. Let your web visitors make their own choices.

7.     Visit counters that tell the world your vital statistics

A website visit counter is bit of code that allows you to automatically display the cumulative total number of visits to your main website landing page, for your web visitors to see. You can even put a visit counter on each of your web pages. It’s used to show visitors that a website has traction with its audience.

Marketing Zone thinks that there is no place for a visit counter on a professional website. In the early days of web design, the use of visit counter was commonplace. Fortunately, its hardly seen nowadays. Where it is used is mostly on amateur websites where the number of visits fail to impress anyway. Plus, your website vital statistics are your own. Why tell your competitors which of your web pages work best, so they can work on eroding your edge? You can access far more useful information in your analytics suite, privately. The counter display just tells visitors, “I don’t really know what I’m doing”. It’s a bad bit of design. Just don’t use it.

It doesn’t have to be this way

There’s some really terrible websites out there. But it doesn’t have to be like that. For a user-friendly, responsive website, chat to Marketing Zone.

We structure, write and build websites which are designed to be user-friendly for optimum impact. Ask us about creating or refreshing your website. Just give Mark a call on 07801 419800, tweet @MarketingZoneUK or email