Top 10 common mistakes novice website designers make
Here at Cheap Web Design we get a lot of clients coming to us who have built there own websites via the likes of Vista Print site builder, 1and1, Moonfruit and other site builder type platforms along with people building websites with dreamweaver, photoshop and so on. It was difficult for me to give this article a relevant title as this is mainly aimed at graphic designers who build websites in Photoshop and then pass it to the client to upload.
1. Cross Browser Compatibility
When you use Photoshop mock-ups there is a huge problem with them purely being fixed in terms of height and widths however an internet browser is dependant on the dimensions set by the user. This can create a huge issue when you have backgrounds and so on.
When you go to a professional web design agency they know about cross browser compatibility so all websites will be set up to work on Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and more. It won’t matter if the user has got a 26″ monitor with it zoomed in to 150% the website will look how it should do on a normal sized monitor with normal resolution settings.
Whatever you do, don’t attempt to constrict the browser’s behavior. A designer once asked me to open a new fixed-dimension browser window so their design would work. The browser wasn’t the problem…
2. Jumping to assumptions surrounding the user’s experience
If you have a 22″ monitoring and have resolution settings of 1920×1080 it doesn’t mean that all of the users using your website will have exactly the same set up and equipment as you do, if you have a website that isn’t built correctly and has the incorrect cross browser compatibility settings then your website is not going to work as it should. We are also in the 21st century now and a lot of people browsing the internet are constantly on the go so they use mobile phones and notebooks to access the internet on the go and as such your website will not work correctly as if you haven’t got cross browser set up correctly you definitely aren’t going to have a mobile version of your website.
3. Sub-pixel mock-ups
Your 300 DPI graphical mock-up will never look the same on a 72 DPI screen. Browsers show whole pixels; you cannot render half a pixel.
4. No understanding of font stacks
Typography is becoming easier on the web but it’s still not possible to use any font you desire. Not every OS/browser supports the font you want to use. Some commercial fonts cannot be distributed. Some don’t work well on screen even though it looks great at 10.5pt-sharp in PhotoShop.
5. Using relevant H1, H2, H3 tags and more
A lot of website owners will want the website to look visually epic however you need to remember that search engines need to be able to read text so it know’s what’s important on your web page. A typical example of this is using a heading which features fancy fonts and effect that can only ever be achieved by building them on photoshop and have an image placed on your website. Obviously you can use Alt Tags and so on to make google aware what the image actually is however it’s no where near as powerful as having a set of H1 tags etc.
Another thing to take into consideration is if you are going to use fancy images at the top of every page so people know what page they are on if you have a website that is 250 pages deep you then have 250 separate title images to build for every individual page, That won’t be fun!
6. Using Links To Help User’s Navigate Your Website
Using Links on each page can be very important for on-page optimization as it tell’s Google which pages are important and also that the content on a certain page is relevant to other’s. For example on Cheap Web Design we would have footer links on every page going to ‘Web Design‘ ‘Web Designers‘ ‘Graphic Designers‘ and ‘Cheap SEO‘ as this is what we specialize in and all of our content is based around one of those 4 main titles.
7. Using animation or effects
8. Little appreciation of the technologies
HTML and Flash are the same — they’re in a browser, right?
You can do things with Flash that are almost impossible in HTML (although HTML5 hopes to change that). Similarly, you can do things in HTML that are impractical in Flash. You’re asking for trouble if you haven’t discussed the technologies with the client and the developer.
9. Logo Design
A key aspect to any web site is a professional logo, it can either make a website look awesome or at the same time it makes it look god awful. If you have no graphic design knowledge then please don’t attempt to make a logo I would advise you to go to a professional logo design company and get something built for you. This will play a huge part of the look and feel of your website, I would actually recommend getting the logo designed before you even look at building your website.
10. Call to Action
If you are setting up a website in an industry such as a trade like being a plumber, electrician, locksmith and so on I would recommend having great call to action features on the website, this can increase your conversion rate massively and will obviously give you a much healthier return.