Designing an interactive interface or a website is not an easy feat. You have to analyze everything about your audience, in the first place their behaviour, and then implement thorough planning. New technologies are making it easier but they are also making the users more tech-savvy and hard to impress.
Glossy images and hover effects are no longer impressive to users. Neither are animations or gifs – especially when everyone can make their own in just a few steps with their phones. So, how do you go about creating a great experience for your users? How do you make them happy and keep the conversions coming?
This is only getting harder if you make mistakes in your design in order to impress your audience. So, without further ado, here are some of the mistakes designers commonly make in order to amaze visitors:
1. Innovating Too Much
Design, in itself, is a creative endeavour. Designers are artists in their own respect and they always seek to express themselves through their work. They are always innovating and making sure that their designs stand out in the sea of other designs.
But if we are talking about designing a perfect interactive experience for your users, innovation might not always be the best choice. It might not be good for the niche or even that specific website. Users need to feel comfortable when visiting a website. They need that familiarity in the ways that they work with a website — you know, the common navigation patterns. They are very used to this and going off track in order to be clever or unique can only harm you, especially if you go too far.
For instance, you may have a great project in mind, some gamification methods for example, however, if you stray too far into the unknown the user will stumble onto your website, see the thing and just walk away because they won’t know what to do with it. Especially so if they are seeking just some basic information.
2. Confusing Navigation
This is a mistake we see all too often. So many websites start out as great experiences and then mess everything up with poor navigation. Some go for strange navigation places where users won’t think to look.
And yet the biggest problem users have is not that — it’s all the weird names for common pages. So, instead of the simple and sufficient “home, about, contact, blog” pattern, you get “our universe, the theory of an artist, follow your stars, always learn more”, for instance.
The thing is that users will appreciate the creativity in naming — at some point if they manage to figure out what name is for what. It takes them a lot of browsing to find what they need. Keep in mind that most users are not there to marvel at your skill in designing but rather to find the information they need to contact the company or learn more about what they have to offer. And the very purpose of the design is to allow them to do so quickly and simply, without wandering about for too long. If they do, they will probably leave the site and then the purpose of design is defeated.
3. Hating White Space
Once upon a time, sticking as many things as possible on your website was a trend. You had boxes of information all around the place, advertisements and much, much more. But that was then and we have moved (thankfully) far, far away from that. Simplicity is in. Zen is in. Users don’t want to be overwhelmed when they enter your website. They want a clear and streamlined experience that will give them what they need.
And yet, many websites still make the mistake of cluttering, thinking that they are actually not. But, you see, sticking to a single colour scheme is fine but you need to think about other elements too. Having too much information on any page will have your readers running away. It also looks very, very spammy, no matter how much you want to promote.
So, nail the basics first. Then move on to creating something impressive to look at and interact with.
4. Not Using Contrast
Honestly, without contrast – what is there left?
It’s so important to use it to establish that visual hierarchy and move the user’s attention to the places where you want them to. It’s not just colouring, it’s sizes, shapes, placement. Everything on a single website needs to be in contrast to another thing to show its value and importance in a subtle way.
People automatically understand that the smaller button is less important than the bigger button. They understand that the bigger letters or more emphasized letters are more important
~ Donald Emerson, an design blogger at Writemyx
So, make sure that your design has plenty of contrast to show the user where to go and what to do.
5. Complex Forms
Forms are a pain for everyone. No one likes to fill them out. But, they are also a necessary evil if you want to get consumer data to use for further endeavours.
However, they don’t need to look ugly and be annoying. What leads to this? Well, for one, long forms that ask for too much. The user might go through with the form if they care enough. But in most cases, they don’t — especially not enough to do “where is the bus?” captchas — so, eliminate that ugly form and go for something simple and stylish.
Stick to the simple – first name, last name, email (add more basics if you need, like password, for instance) or even better, first name, email. Don’t ask for too much. And, for the love of design, test the thing. Some forms on the web ask for too much “optional” information but then when you opt-out, they highlight all of the blank spaces and refuse to submit without them. Not really optional.
So, when it comes to design, it’s important to think of the user and efficiency first and then find ways to delight them without confusing them. Test everything. This is the key to having a design that’s both successful and pretty.