9 things you should stop doing on your website

By Rose Lewis on Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Digital design changes rapidly and if you don’t keep up it shows. We’ve put together a list of the biggest sins that we still see on far too many websites. Some are quick fixes to copy that you can implement on your site today to reduce your bounce rates, while others will need the help of your web design and development team. Your website is your virtual shop window, keep it clean and tidy to maintain credibility in today’s world of short attention spans and fierce competition.

1. Click here

Never use the words “click here”, it’s an out-dated user experience that only applies to people using a mouse, ignoring touch screens and visually impaired people using screen readers. Plus, nobody needs to be told what to do with a link anymore. But more than that, using the words “click here” actually conceals what the user is looking for. If you’re scanning a page for a link, you’re looking for text that describes whatever it is you want to see next. So, highlight your user’s destination by making it a link, not the word “here”.

2. Cramming things above “the fold”

The fold is dead, it doesn’t exist any more. The number of different screen sizes these days means that there is no one cut-off place. Today, it’s all a game of percentages, so trying to cram as many messages as possible above the fold no longer makes sense. Stick your URL into foldtester and see. In recent years, home pages have seen a dramatic shift from being something that every department is given their share of, creating a piecemeal clutter of stuff with rotating carousels and boxes galore to being clean, dramatic places to get across one key big message (with a few carefully chosen supporting messages way down the page). The other thing to note is that everybody scrolls. As Huge’s research shows, it’s just not something you need to worry about as everyone will scroll down.

3. Saying Welcome

Stop welcoming users to your website and use that prime real-estate for your most compelling, highly crafted copy. Tell them what you do and why they should care and they’ll be much more likely to take a look further into your site and not just hit back immediately.

4. Too much text

Until your user gets to the actual content they are looking for, they do not read. Nobody reads your explanation on how to use the form – so make the form better and it won’t be needed. Put yourself in your audience’s shoes and focus on what they are looking for when they arrive at your site. Then see how few words you can use to get your point across and your site will instantly be more modern, clean and relaxing to browse.

5. Not responsive

If your website is not responsive then you need to make it a priority to update it. Not only did the shift from desktop consumption to mobile consumption of websites pass the 50% mark last year, but Google will also down-rank you if your site doesn’t work across different devices.

6. Small images

Little images that come from a time of dial-up date your website terribly. They look miserly and mean against modern site design with full screen background images and videos, which transport the user into their world. Go big or go home.

7. Small fonts

If you’re using anything under a size 16 font then it needs to be for small print, and even then, question it. Size 11 font makes your users squint and that’s just not the expression you want them pulling when they look at your site. Now screens are larger and scrolling is instinctive, content needs to breathe. Make your font size bigger and give it room and your content will be much more engaging to read.

8. Multiple columns

Is your content crammed into a middle column between 2 sidebars that are full of other distractions trying to drag the user off to other parts of the website? Think carefully about what you are trying to achieve on that page. Make it a sleeker, cleaner, more enjoyable experience by allowing your user to focus on the content that you’ve crafted. And wait until they’ve finished before you offer other things they might like.

9. Shadows and gradients

Flat design is king of the internet and has been for some time now, so every gradient and shadow dates your site. Get rid of that clutter, keep it clean and simple and it will be easier for your user to find what they want and they’ll enjoy it more when they get there. All of these points follow a few simple trends that have been on-going for several years and are now key tenets of web design:

  • Make your website big, clean and impactful
  • Focus on keeping the messaging tight and to the point
  • Consider every screen size and user scenario.

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