All designers need to be clear and concise in their approach and use productive practices to get the job done. This is particularly true for web designers. There are dos and don’ts in every field and sometimes the line between the two can be very vague which often leads to bad habits. These poor practices might seem harmless but they can have rather harmful effects in the long run, both for the client as well as the web designer.
Here are seven bad habits that web designers need to avoid:
1. Irrelevant Content
I see this all too often on websites, especially landing pages. Landing pages help improve conversions at a site and make exploring the site easy for users. Each landing page has to be specific and geared towards its area of expertise. Adding irrelevant content and images is counterproductive to both the user and search engines.
2. Using Flash
This always makes me sigh. Flash websites are definitely cool to look at but they are not search engine friendly. Some smart phones and different devices won’t recognize it, not to mention search engine don’t usually go past them to explore and index the website. While it’s best to avoid Flash, if you are required to use it, make sure there is relevant content and navigation available on the same page. It doesn’t have to be minuscule, but don’t let it take over the page completely. Unless your client’s brand is a household name like Apple or Nike, using Flash in your website design could possibly be doomed for failure.
3. Same Fonts In Every Project
Using one or two fonts throughout the website is a good move, but using the same fonts for every web design project isn’t. There are literally hundreds of fonts readily available online. Designers should always be on the lookout for new fonts and apply them according to the client and their needs. Always have a good understanding of the latest typography trends in web design. This will allow you to give your client a website that is in line with their type of business and trending web style.
4. Not Using CSS Shorthand
A website without CSS shorthand will fail. The more lines of code a site has, the longer it takes to load. CSS shorthand optimizes the website and gets the job done with fewer lines of code. Page load time is a ranking factor for search engines and a longer loading time affects a website negatively.
5. Avoiding <div> Tags
The <div> tag was created for a reason, to make creating and organizing tables in HTML easy, smooth and efficient. Using <tr> and <td> are old processes, but designers still use it. Most companies have an in-house web design team to monitor project progress and using older techniques will surely raise eyebrows.
6. Excessive Uppercase
Too many uppercase letters will flag your website for spam. It is one of the top don’ts of web design, but it is still a too common practice today. Also, having all bold or italic content is a bad choice. Use these font styles selectively and only where suited.
7. Second-rate Photoshop Effects
Photoshop is a common tool for creating new images. The keyword here is new. Most designers use default templates that come with the software and add finishing touches to make them look different. This is a poor approach to web design, one that both clients and users will notice. To avoid this, ask your client to provide you with original images.
These habits might look harmless but in reality they have a proven track record to undo the hard work done by web designers. These poor habits also can lead to SEO penalties, which causes sites to drop ranking in searches which will no doubt frustrate companies and online businesses. Web designers need to be wary of these mistakes and adopt positive work ethics. The quicker you can establish yourself a reliable professional source, the better off you will be.