One of the most important parts of creating a website is designing it to be user-friendly and easy to navigate. With the billions of websites on the internet, users have plenty of choices when it comes to online shopping, entertainment, or anything else they are looking for. If they don’t like something about your website, they can easily find an alternative with only a few clicks of the mouse.
Here are a few tips on what you should avoid on your website, so your visitors don’t look elsewhere:
1. Spelling and Grammar Mistakes
This might sound like a no-brainer, but the internet is filled with misspellings and bad grammar. It may not be as important in a personal email or in an online forum, but it’s important for a business to represent itself professionally. Take a few minutes to reread your text or use a spell checker before updating your website.
In addition to using correct spelling and grammar, be sure to use uppercase and lowercase letters properly.
It is very difficult to read large portions of text that are written entirely in capital letters. The shape of lowercase letters are designed for instant recognition to make reading easier. By typing in all caps, the reader has to put in more effort to read your website. Typing in all capital letters is also commonly seen as yelling.
3. Underlined Text
It has become an internet standard to style links as underlined text (most commonly as blue underlined text). Because of this convention, website visitors can instantly recognize which words on your website are links, like this text here.
Did you try to click on that last bit of text? It looks like a link, but you don’t realize that it’s not until you hover your mouse over it. When words that aren’t links are underlined, your website visitors become frustrated.
To avoid confusion, links should be the only underlined words in a website. There are many other ways to emphasize words without underlining them. Try using one or more of the following ideas to make important text more prominent:
- Make the text larger
- Change the color of the text
- Make your text bold
- Use italics for emphasis
4. Splash Pages
A splash page is a simple, introductory page that appears before a visitor can reach the actual website content. Often this page requires the visitor to perform some type of action, such as clicking “enter” or choosing whether to view the website in HTML or Flash.
Although there are a few instances where a splash page is needed — such as choosing your language for an international website, or confirming your age for an adult or alcohol-related website — adding a splash page will irritate your visitors. Internet users have very little patience, and making them wait through an animated intro or making them click through unnecessary pages only hinders the user from finding the information they are looking for.
5. Music & Sound
Do not force your website visitors to listen to music. Many website visitors find sounds and music on a website annoying, and will immediately go elsewhere. (Don’t believe me? Check out the thousands of Google results for the phrase “I Hate Websites With Music”.)
Here are some other considerations as to why you should not use sound on your website:
- The user is already listening to their own music
- The user is in a library or office where sound is discouraged
- The user likes to open multiple tabs when browsing the internet, and has to search through all the tabs to find where the noise is coming from
- The user simply does not like the song that is playing
If you do choose to have sound on your website, at least make sure there is an obvious way for the user to turn it off so they can continue to browse your website noise-free.
As internet users, we all have come across websites that we find annoying or difficult to use. Share your website pet peeves in the comments below!