When it comes to web design, many people approach it from two different areas: aesthetics or how a site looks and usability or how a site functions. I’ll touch on usability issues in other posts, but I want to focus on aesthetics for this post. Here are four web design mistakes that make websites look bad.
1. Poor Use of Color
Color is one of the most powerful tools of a designer. It can set the mood of a website, evoke deep emotion, and convey a message. But just because the color is powerful doesn’t mean you can use it to your advantage. Poor use of color can ruin a website.
Some of the most common problems I see with color are:
- Using too many colors that clash or don’t coordinate well together
- Using colors that are hard on the eyes
- Not considering the colors of the brand the site is representing
- Using colors that don’t work well with the background image or texture
2. Poor Typography
Typography or text is an essential element on a web page. If the text on your site is too small, people can’t read it. But even if the text is readable on your site, it should still look good. Poor typography is often caused by using standard text font size and not adjusting the font size for different content.
A website that uses too many different font sizes can be challenging to read and distracting. When you use a lot of different font sizes, the content becomes fragmented and difficult to understand.
When to use different font sizes:
- When the text is extremely long
- To emphasize particular text
- To draw attention to a specific piece of content
- To show a hierarchy of content
3. Poor Use of Whitespace
White space, or negative space, is the area between and around your text and images. Poor use of white space is one of the most common design mistakes I see on sites. Too often, designers try to jam too much information into a small space, and then they don’t leave enough space around their text and pictures to make them easy to read.
Proper use of white space can make your site look a lot more organized and professional. Here are some things to keep in mind when using whitespace:
- Use plenty of white space between paragraphs and around the edges of text
- Use large margins on your images
- Leave a decent amount of white space between blocks of text
- Space out the different sections of your page, so it’s easy to scan
4. Poor Use of Content
Content is everything on your website that is not design elements or navigation. It’s the text, images, videos, forms, and anything else you see on the site. A website can have good or bad use of content depending on how you use it. If you have only a few paragraphs of content and thousands of images, it’s probably not a very good use of content. Likewise, if you have a few text sections and many videos, you may have lousy content usage.
When to use more content:
- If the content is essential and needs to be seen
- If the content provides the site’s primary message
- If there is a need to educate and inform
- If it’s necessary to have a lot of white space
- If the text is broken up into smaller pieces
These five mistakes are the most common design mistakes I see on websites. If you avoid these mistakes, you’ll have a much better chance of creating an accessible design on the eyes and the user.