5 Traps to Avoid in Creating a Great Website (Part 1)
Matcha Design - Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Before you can break into the realm of having a great website, you have to make sure you have one that isn't annoying. Even a great design can be ruined by a simple blunder influenced by overenthusiasm. Here are a few things you'll want to avoid when designing and building your website, for the sake of your visitors and your bottom line.
Drastic changes on hover
Sometimes I'll be browsing a website and I'll go to click a link in the middle of a paragraph, only to find out that when I place my mouse over that link, the text size doubles, the space behind the text becomes light blue, and the text becomes bright orange. Changing the color of the link is fine (if it works with the design), changing the background color might even be okay in some circumstances. Changing the size of the text should really be avoided, if for no other reason than it unnecessarily moves the rest of the page around.
Too many moving parts
Nothing is more cheesy than a page with so many bells and whistles that you can't effectively use it. Trying to put emphasis on every little thing on a page means that nothing is emphasized except a lack of subtelty. This applies if everything is moving all the time, or if everything moves when the mouse is over it, if moving the mouse across the page causes the whole thing to erupt in a discordant cascade of animation.
Poorly chosen background images
All too often I've seen a page where the background image has sections that don't contrast well with the text. The result is some of the text can't be read unless you highlight it to obscure the background image. Further, every animated background image falls into this category. A background, as the name suggests, shouldn't stand out. It should look nice without calling attention to itself. (Actually that's true of the entire user interface).
This can happen when the site is made of flash, or if AJAX is used in a not-very-careful way. Take this scenario as an example: you're browsing an online store. You click products, then apparel, then t-shirts, then you click on a t-shirt that interests you. You decide you want to see some of the other t-shirts, so you click your browser's back button. Oops, you're on the home page of the site, so you click forward again, and you're at the front of the shop. You'd have to follow the chain all the way back down to browse the t-shirts again. Generally the user should be able to use their browser's navigation buttons to go back and forward if at all possible.
This was really popular early on in the life of flash. A "splash screen" with some snazzy flash animation that plays on your home page, and once it's done, users can click through to actually browse your site. Fortunately they're not too common these days, as most designers/developers have realized that people don't like them. However, developers that only work on their own personal site or their small business site may not realize it, so I wanted to point it out.
About Matcha Design
Matcha Design is a full-service creative agency specializing in web design, print, identity, branding, interface design, video production, still photography and motion design. Using our passion for excellence, multi-cultural background, and award winning practices, we consistently provide high-quality, custom, innovative solutions to meet the diverse marketing needs of our clients. For more information, visit www.MatchaDesign.com.