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Top 8 Web Design Flaws

Discussion in 'Website Design Forum:' started by dekkerfraser, Dec 21, 2011.

  1. dekkerfraser

    dekkerfraser Junior Member


    [FONT=&quot]I would like to share with you a list of popular design flaws that I came across in the 100+ sites I reviewed in this forum. I hope this will provide some guidance for those starting out:[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]1) No logo - not having a logo says to your customer that you don't have a unique identity, you don't care to be remembered, and that you products/services aren't good enough to put your "name" on.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]2) Poorly designed logo - there is no easier, faster, way to build on-line creditability than a professionally designed logo. in seconds a logo can represent much more than a page of text can in minutes. A good logo symbolizes the attributes that make your company unique and competitive. In essence, your logo is a visual representation of the business itself. An amateur logo suggests an amateur company with inferior products and services. Likewise a professional logo suggests a professional company with superior products and services. [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]3) Splash Pages - splash pages are useful for entertainment sites that thrive on the WOW effect or to offer alternative sites for a diverse visitor base. Otherwise splash pages only provide one more obstacle in the way of the buy button. Even worse than a splash page is a splash page without a skip button. Many people will never return to a site is they know they have to wait through the intro again.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]4) Poor layout - how many columns is your current layout? What is your dominate image? Can you describe the hierarchy of the content on your site? if you can't answer all of these questions I recommend a complete site overhaul. Your website, like any newspaper, magazine, poster, brochure, or annual report, no matter how creative - must have an organized structure and command your attention. Every major topic must be immediately accessible and every sub-topic in a logical placement. Your objective is to draw the visitors eyes directly where you want them to go - in order of importance. The layout should be as consistent as possible throughout the entire site.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]5) What's in it for me? - what is the ultimate purpose of your site? Your visitor should be able to answer this question within 10 seconds of reaching your main page[/FONT]
    6) Weak Navigation[FONT=&quot] - Your visitors should never even have to think about your navigation system. Conventional navigation bars (top left to right, and left top to bottom) are widely accepted and familiar, why force a potential customer to have to learn a new system. If you are not a conventional company, there are still an infinite number of ways you can express your creativity in these locations. Make sure the text links or buttons to the major sections of your site are dominate and clear as soon as the page loads - no "mouseover required" or "click to find out". Do not overload these important links with Photoshop effects, slow animations, or poorly named titles. [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]7) The Sneaky Product page - does your customer care more about you? or him or herself? You can blab about yourself all you want, but please keep it in an "about us" section not on the main page. Every extra step a customer has to take to reach the buy now button is an opportunity for them to abandon the site altogether. Always feature at least one product on the first page of an e-commerce site and make all other product categories less than two clicks away. Use common terminology when creating your shop link. E.g., Shop, shop now, catalogue, products, store, etc. Do not use smart terms such as insider lingo. The same principle applies for the checkout or buy now button make sure these are clearly marked and at the top of the page or other obvious location. [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]8) Poor/no colour scheme - psychology of colour.

    [FONT=&quot]The author is the creative director of Flame Design in Vancouver, BC: Flame Design: Vancouver Graphic Design, Web Design, & Advertising
  2. JamesBrentwood

    JamesBrentwood Senior Member

    Nice writeup, thanks for sharing. Some of the points definitely made me think about some of my past work. I think I struggle most with keeping a strong layout/ typography.
  3. br3n

    br3n Senior Member

    I disagree with each point, some of which are pointless anyway - No one sets out to have a 'poo layout' they just have 'poor design skills'.

    Depends entirely on context - there are no rules for design thats what drives us forward. There are trends and basic patterns but when you break them 'WELL' is when great things happen.
  4. br3n

    br3n Senior Member

    ^ point proven.
  5. mrp2049

    mrp2049 Senior Member

    I'm with Bren, most of that is complete hogwash!

    1. I'm building a site right now (well not right now) with no identifiable logo, it doesn't always need it.

    2. Poorly designed logo, if you are a designer with a poorly designed logo, then you should probably be doing something else. If you are a business with a poorly designed logo, then you have either not employed a designer (shall I post countless comic sans logos) or have dictated to the designer to the point where they have created something they would rather not be associated with.

    3. Splash page?!?!?! Its almost 2012! If a site is built around frequent visits then a splash page makes it harder for you to get into the site!!!! Who wants that!?!? The curse of the flash site was the splash animations that took ages and made it nightmarishly difficult to get at the info contained within!

    4. Just because the 960 is popular now, doesn't mean it has to be on every site. As long as detail is clearly laid out and has a sense of linear tone, then who cares whether it is neatly laid out like a magazine! Don't even get me started on this from the point of view of a responsive site.

    5. How can you suggest a wow factor splash page and the idea that people need to be into the nuts and bolts of a site within 10 seconds? (Isn't it more like 6?)

    6. Again, what point of view are you coming from with this? I've just built a site that has no almost no detail on the front page upon arrival, but the reason you arrive at the site is perfectly clear within 2 seconds (loading time permitted). Are you seriously suggesting that menu navigation should just BE UNIFORM? Is there an outside chance that when you consider every site has a target audience, with the correct demographic, perhaps a web savy one that would understand that the nav needs to be revealed and is hidden to give the user better exposure to content? Nonsense.

    7. Have you never heard of a lifestyle brand? Is there an outside chance that someone may care just as much about the politics of the brand as their products? This making the about us just as important as what they are selling....

    8. Poor/no colour scheme....I can go into this at a level that would make most peoples ears bleed. I hate to break it to you, some of the best site designs I have ever seen are all white with black text/detail. That is psychology of colour in effect right there. I have built sites with 12+ colours in them, and I understand the psychological associations of all the colours, but you know it doesn't matter that much because I just wanted it to look nice.

    To be fair this is a fairly straight forward rule of basics that some people could do with being told. But the second you understand the basics, the challenge is completely ignoring them and making magical things happen because we understand how to turn normal and boring into something special by ignoring most of this crap!

    Wow, this is one ranty post. Here are some web design flaws....

    1. Splash pages.

    2. Not hiring a decent designer.

    3. Not hiring a decent developer.

    4. Not considering that the browsing experience is totally different across the countless platforms that exist in the world today.

    5. Thinking facebook is enough of a web presence.

    6. Still using IE.

    7. Flash sites.

    8. Thinking you know the answers. There is always someone who knows more than you.
  6. JamesBrentwood

    JamesBrentwood Senior Member

    I don't know if you guys are reading this right, but he said *flaws*. You basically had a super long rant that agreed with most of it.
    He was simply pointing out common mistakes of beginners. Which is what you did as well, on the same topics only worded differently.
  7. mrp2049

    mrp2049 Senior Member

    Mu biggest objection and perhaps the reason I got annoyed is the fact that there is contradictory information in there. Points 3 and 5 actively contradict each other, some are badly explained...

    If you are going to offer advice, which is truly helpful to beginners, it needs to be clearly explained with the reasons why or it is almost a pointless exercise. Very few of the points made are given any context and appropriation.

    Yes, these are some common mistake that beginners make, but the title doesn't read, "Top 8 BEGINNER Web Design Flaws", this is a place full of professionals, and most of us, are willing to offer advice to help someone reach their end goal. When I arrived on this board, (3 years ago?) I was a novice at developing sites, now I am a senior developer at a great agency. I would rather offer clear advice, with a solid explanation, and its context. I do it all the time, I speak to loads of students at my old uni, trying to offer advice and making them avoid rookie mistakes.

    I recent example. One of the students who follows me on twitter was very excited as she had been asked to design something that needed to be machine embroided. Her tweets were very excited and she was ready to start doing the job. I told her to slow down take a deep breath, because embroidery machines run on very specific files, (If memory serves it is similar to a CNC file) and that she didn't know whether the embroider could just drop a PSD/AI/JPEG into a program and convert the file into a useable format.

    Its a familiar rookie mistake, not knowing the end result and getting carried away. The advantage of that situation and my explanation is clear, it has a context. If I had said, "Be careful not to get carried away, because you might not know the end production method." Isn't very helpful.

    Maybe if I hadn't posted it at 3am I would have explained my points clearer. But at 3am, I was pretty surprised that anyone blanket such a statement with no explanation or knowledge to help people understand. This list is similar to (any adult figure) saying, "Don't smoke its bad for you!" as they light up.
  8. br3n

    br3n Senior Member

    I just dont like it when people try and point out ways of doing everything the same as everyone else.

    Thats not what WE do. We innovate and push things forward - thats the entire purpose of life.
  9. JamesBrentwood

    JamesBrentwood Senior Member

    Thanks @mrp2049 for your explanation here, I understand where you're coming from now. I just felt the first post was a bit hostile for apparently no reason, which I felt was not a great way to welcome someone new and facilitate a healthy forum. If it had been more like your second post I wouldn't have said anything.

    @br3n there are certain principles that are built into humans that just resonate more with us. That's why there's such a thing as good design and naive design. He did a bad job of pointing this out, but there is a point where you need to make things work out and theres a way to do it. Within those boundaries, an infinite amount of creativity can happen. You can push the limits, and expand, but there's always going to be a right way and wrong way of going about it. I don't necessarily think he meant to say you *had* to do it a certain way, he simply gave a few points to think about when making a design, which I thought was a nice gesture, even if he could have expanded, or given more context.

    What's probably rubbing people wrong is his first statement, where he specifically mentioned sites designed by people here. I've seen a few that could use some of the advice, I won't lie. Myself included. Personally I know for a fact I need to work on text layout, line spacing, etc. It's just hard for me to visualize text that will change, and how it should look on any given page. I will be looking into it.

    ...I also think he might be spamming. hahaha
  10. mrp2049

    mrp2049 Senior Member


    and this


    is why I get annoyed. This is a positive and friendly forum, but when people people appear from nowhere and get on their soapbox in a heartbeat, its just not cricket. If a world famous developer/designer dropped by with his 2p-worth I think we would all feel different, but there are far too many people who have "made a few websites" and think they know everything.

    We (the community) aren't a bunch of amateurs, I'm web developer by trade, and I will accept advice from anyone who knows more than me, there are plenty of them, on this forum alone! But I hate the idea that someone can make a blanket statement without explanation as that is no help to anyone.

    If the aforementioned poster ever comes back we will see what they have to say for themselves...if....
  11. mrp2049

    mrp2049 Senior Member

    Finally had a quick look at their website....

    See attached.

    Learn how to manage your footer and background elements before you try and tell me what I am apparently doing wrong! :mad:

    It doesn't take 3 seconds to add....


    to the footer div.

    I'm sure the site looks fine on a wide screen, but the background image postion (why even have the background image in the first place?) is set up wrong and creates conflicts with other site elements.

    Attached Files:

  12. br3n

    br3n Senior Member

    The header doesn't line up either - I was going to rise above it, but I feel like sinking.
  13. Squiddy

    Squiddy Guest

    Isn't it ironic that deckers post on design flaws is particularly difficult to read.
  14. Jazajay

    Jazajay Active Member

    I have got to admit it was more creative link building rather than just spam just trying to be helpful and provide a link back to his site. Unfortunatly though, and I only know this as I checked when some one did spam, DF not only nofollows external links but I'm also pretty sure that they redirect external URL's after as well, meaning thats double narda from an SEO point of view and rightly so.

    Now that said depending on how these posts went, if these links weren't nofollowed, or redirected that lengthly post could have made the page relevant to his and thus provided some equity, not much, but all in all if it was to help thats great, but the link at the bottom puts a downer on that and if I am honest, also the fact that he hasn't come back to defend his points well....

    Also these kind of posts are better served like:
    Here's my view on general web flaws, what can you add and do you agree?

    That way you encourage the post to grow, you learn new things and other members contribute to a nice list.

    I'm pretty sure thats because he copied and pasted it and thus brought over some code that's made it smaller than it needs to be.

    I did think wo....thank god I haven't started an arguement with him yet.....may give me a run for my money. :)
    I also do agree with your point 6, I use IE9 I love it, honestly I do. :)
  15. paulyards

    paulyards Junior Member

    Thanks for sharing.... but i think all good designer knows that :)

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