I've always thought of "design" as the bastard love-child of impulse and interpretation - a double-sided assault on the senses - wherein meaning is first established subconsciously through initial reaction, then reinforced by logical analysis. It centers around the notion of one presenting a concept, feeling, or idea in such a manner that allows said meaning to be interpreted and understood by another: the more accurate and substantial the received message, the more "successful" the design.
While there is certainly no shortage of 'designers' (as ANY google.com query will demonstrate), the web seems oddly replete with poorly designed pages... and this is something that just has to change! As a result, I've compiled the following quick-list of web design "blunders and boo-boos" - common (and highly unnecessary) mistakes that are certain to make your audience click-away in terror! Moreover, these 4 Horsemen of the Web Design Apocalypse represent some hard lessons learned by many a'green designers (myself included)... and to not share them is to allow such suffering to continue for naught.
- 01.PAGE LOADING //
A "top-of-the-list" web site complain of Internet users... loading time. The result... they'll click off to another site in search of what they need. Bad. Very bad. It is commonly said that you have 8-12 seconds to get something on-screen and keep potential visitors interested... lest they seek their digital desires elsewhere. This is not a lot of time, so you would be well advised not to waste it with over-sized, non-optimized, or otherwise outlandishly gargantuan files.
- 02.INFORMATION DESIGN //
You've managed to streamline your images, lose the background MIDI (thank you, btw), and crunch your pages down nicely... but how will your information design - that is to say the hierarchical order and presentation of your content - translate to your target audience? How intuitive and readily apparent is your site's purpose? Many web sites have got amazing visual appeal, yet fail when it comes to unclear, cluttered, or poorly structured information design. Spend the time to do your homework: map out your efforts clearly before you begin. Personally, I find that an outline and a pile of rough story boards come in verrrry handy. Whether on sketchpads, cocktail napkins, or something in between, the point here is to make your doodle dandy!
- 03.CONTENT ANYONE? //
- 04.VISUAL APPEAL //
The 4th of the cardinal web blunders is what many newbie designers feel should be their primary concern - the actual visual design of the page(s) or interface. While a far cry from a web designer's top priority (and perhaps the least forgiving web blunder discussed here), visual aesthetics play an important role in whether or not your site is a success. The colors, typography, balance of positive and negative space are all conceptual tools that must be used properly in order to attain visual success. Remember, the answer NEVER lies with animated backgrounds that look like some sort of Woodstock flashback. You might be surprised at how many people continue to miss this little pearl of wisdom... but I digress.
There you have it, my 4 Horsemen of the Web Design Apocalypse.. common (yet critical) web blunders to be avoided at all costs. If you start your next project with these four cornerstones of error in mind, you'll already be walking down the road to success!