7 Common Myths about Web Design
Like any art form, web design can be pretty subjective when it comes to what works and what doesn’t. Of course, there are a number of universal principles of good design that apply to any website. But there are also some ideas, rules and opinions floating around the internet that are far from correct.
Whether you’re doing it yourself or paying a designer, knowing what to look out for when creating your website can save you from disaster. It’s all fair and well to have the best components of a well-designed website, but adding the wrong ingredients into the mix can make the final product unappealing and ineffective.
In order to help you make the right decisions and avoid the wrong ones, let’s take a look at 7 common myths about web design.
1. Everything must be reachable in three clicks
It sounds quite plausible: a simple rule supporting the fact that the content on your website should be reachable quickly, preventing users from leaving due to frustration.
As prevalent as this rule has become, there’s no supporting evidence to back up the claim that three clicks is the maximum someone would be willing to make to reach their desired destination.
That said, having a logical and organized navigation structure is important. Users aren’t interested in endlessly clicking around a messy website to find what they’re looking for.
2. Stock photography looks good
If you look at any established website today, you’d be hard-pressed to find one that still uses stock photography. Many web designers believe that it looks professional or attractive while in reality, it simply looks generic and cheap. If you want to include photos on your website, be sure to make them original.
This helps you emphasize your own unique identity instead of using photos that visitors to your website have already seen elsewhere. Aside from the time it takes to scour through stock photo libraries, licensing fees can also be pretty hefty. While the initial investment may be higher, using original photographs often works out cheaper in the long run.
3. Minimalism is the best type of design
Minimalism is arguably the most popular type of design language to be employed on websites today. While this white space-heavy, more visually-appealing way of presenting your content does have its place in web design, it’s not a perfect fit for everyone.
If you start leaving out key elements or negatively impacting the usability of your website for the sake of minimalism, then it’s probably not the best way forward. Massive retailers such as eBay and Amazon have websites with rather busy designs, yet still manage to remain effective and usable.
If these companies went down the minimalist route for their website design, their bottom line would suffer as they wouldn’t be able to showcase as many products and offers as they currently do.
4. If it works for you, it works for everyone
From small-screened smartphones to ultrawide computer monitors, there are a growing number of devices with different form factors accessing the internet every day. As a result, responsive or mobile-friendly design is becoming more important than ever. Yet, many web designers tend to ignore this and end up suffering the consequences.
A lack of responsive design not only results in frustrated users and decreased conversions, but also hurts your search engine rankings. Google takes this aspect of your web design into consideration when determining where to rank your website. Be sure to cater to your mobile users – there are more of them than you may think.
5. Visuals over functionality
A website can be absolutely gorgeous to look at, with high-end graphics, exotic color schemes and fonts that make your eyes melt. But as great as your (or your designer’s) visual work may be, impressive visuals don’t compensate for low quality content, bad SEO, poor conversion rates or low traffic.
In today’s online landscape, content trumps looks. Visuals are key to making a good first impression, but without quality content, your website won’t perform well in Google’s search rankings and visitors won’t be interested in your products. Work on perfecting your testimonials, blog posts, contact details and other business information before visuals.
6 Building a website yourself is cheaper
Good website design takes years of experience and libraries worth of knowledge to master. Even if you believe that you’re competent enough to do it yourself, carrying out the groundwork, profiling your audience, formulating a strategy and handling all of the other technical work that comes with creating a website takes a great deal of time.
Investing your money with the right web design company will ultimately prove to be wiser in the long run, especially if they offer integrated marketing solutions, as designing a website is only half the story. Doing the SEO work is another process that you’re better off leaving to the professionals while you focus on improving your bottom line.
7. Your work is done once your website is finished
It’s too easy to sit back and relax once your website is up and running. Unfortunately for the lazy, websites need to be maintained regularly in order to continue operating at peak performance. You’ll need to keep an eye on your analytics and find ways to optimize and adjust the content and layout of your website to keep it in Google’s good books.
Aside from SEO, security is an important yet often overlooked factor of website maintenance. Most website hacks are the result of bots that automatically search for vulnerabilities in their targets. Be sure to back up your data regularly, use strong credentials and stick to a reputable, dedicated host if possible.
When deciding how to structure your website and its content, remember your target audience and the search engines they use to reach you. More often than not, being logical with the way to go about this process will keep you safe from falling for web design myths such as those listed above.
Staying on top of trends, keeping up with changes and avoiding bad decisions in the rapidly evolving industry that is web design is no small feat. But with a keen eye and a mindful approach, you can create an effective, attractive and successful website in no time.