What do you hate most about websites? If you browse websites as much as we do, then there is a lot to hate. Because there are so many terribly designed, user non-friendly websites on the Internet today, we have put together this short but detailed list of things to hate about web design. In addition to compiling this list, we’ve also provided a solution for each of the problems.
When creating a web design, there are a number of things that a web designer should take into consideration if their goal is to produce a high quality, user friendly website.
1. Vomit Inducing Color Schemes
There is nothing worse than visiting a website and seeing a borderline-gruesome, mismatched, out of control color scheme. As basic as it is, some people have a terrible time choosing successful color schemes. Though there are millions of colors to choose from, it doesn’t have to be a difficult process. Whether you want to pay for a piece of software that will significantly simplify the color scheme selection process or use one of the free color scheme tools available on the Internet, you will be implementing attractive and successful color schemes in no time.
If you want to pay for a color scheme application that will do all of the work for you, then your best solution is the Color Schemer Studio. Located at http://www.colorschemer.com/index.php and available in both Mac OS X and Windows flavors, this tool not only builds you an entire color scheme based on a single color, but it also generates monochromatic, complement, split complement, triad, tetrad, and analogous harmonies based off of that same single color that you choose. It is absolutely remarkable. There are a lot of other neat and extremely useful features built into this application, too.
Not to Pay
If you would rather not pay the $49.99 for the Color Schemer Studio (even though it is worth every penny), then there are free alternatives available. Navigate to http://www.colorsontheweb.com/colorwizard.asp and you will find a Flash based color scheme tool called the Color Wizard. Although not quite as user friendly as the Color Schemer Studio, the Color Wizard has a lot of features built into it. You can either enter a hex color code or move the sliders back and forth to find the color that you’re looking for. The Color Wizard also gives you multiple harmonies based off of the single color that you choose. The Color Wizard is a solid (and free) color schemer product. The only downside to the Color Wizard is that it is available only to be used on the Internet. In comparison, the Color Schemer Studio does not require an Internet connection since it located on your computer’s hard drive.
Less is More
When choosing your color scheme, don’t use too many colors. The statement “less is more” should always be applied during the color scheme selection process. How many colors should one use? That’s a difficult question to answer. Although there is no set number, it is generally best to work around three colors if possible:
Primary color: The main color that occupies the majority of the page. The primary color sets the overall tone.
Secondary color: The second color that has a purpose of backing up and reinforcing the primary color. The secondary color is usually a color that is similar to the primary color.
Highlight color: This is a color that is used to emphasize certain areas of the page. It is usually a color which contrasts more with the primary and secondary colors, and as such, it should be used with moderation. If you’re using color schemer software like the ones mentioned above, it is common to use a complimentary or split-complimentary color for this.
There are a lot of resources available on the Internet that explain color schemes in greater detail. However, if you use any of the color schemer solutions mentioned above and follow the basic tips which we have mentioned, then you shouldn’t have a problem creating a beautiful color scheme for your website.
2. Flash-al Abuse
When used excessively or in inappropriate places, Flash is terrible for your website – terrible for Search Engine Optimization and perhaps more importantly, terrible for your visitors. Don’t get us wrong – Flash is a remarkable program that allows creative multimedia geniuses to produce some fascinating work. However, the following implementations of Flash should be excluded from your website:
Probably the most abused and misused method of using Flash, Flash navigation is usually bad or extremely bad. Why is it bad you ask? Well, there are a number of reasons:
Search Engine Optimization: If you’re familiar with SEO, then you know the importance of having text on your website. Text is what makes indexing your website in the search engines possible. The problem with Flash is that the search engines do not go inside of the Flash files to collect the text information. What this basically means is that when the search engine spiders crawl through your website and come across your Flash navigation file, they crawl right over the top of it. If you have keywords in your Flash navigation that are relevant to the content of your website, then they won’t be indexed or even noticed by the search engine spiders.
Page load time: Using Flash for your navigation will slow down the load time for your web page. Yes, using anything on your website will add to the load time; however, some things (such as Flash navigation) are avoidable. Some Flash file sizes are larger than others – the larger the file size means a longer download time means the more your already impatient visitors have to wait.
User non-friendly: The purpose of website navigation is to provide for your visitors a means of, well, navigating throughout your website. Flash navigation crosses over from bad to extremely bad when the visitor must wait for an animation to complete each time their mouse cursor rolls over an item in the menu. In case you didn’t already know, people hate waiting. There is nothing worse than having to wait even just a few seconds in order to activate a particular navigational item after rolling over it. Not only can the animations be annoying, but sometimes the menus are just downright confusing (i.e. Picture elements are used instead of words for each item).
What about people who don’t have Flash?: Not everyone is using Flash these days. Although it is usually rare that someone doesn’t have Flash activated on their computer, it still occurs. These Flash-disabled users will have no way of finding their way around your website. And since one of the key ingredients to a successful website is navigation, not having navigation to those with Flash disabled will make your website look quite terrible (and more importantly, non-interactive and useless).