These web design myths are good rules to keep in mind when designing your website or developing a web application, but they’re not always true. Sometimes these “rules” complicate the design process if taken too seriously or at face value. The goal isn’t to prove the statements wrong but to explain why they’re not always true.
Here are eight common web design myths:
- You don’t need a responsive design because you have an app
- No one uses the search functions on websites
- If you build it, they will come
- Web design can be perfect
- Animations are distracting and unnecessary
- Your website can only have one audience
- Designing for mobile-first is enough
- When the website is finished, you’re done
An excellent mobile app indeed converts customers, but they are not the only solution. For example, suppose your website already has a reliable content management system and is getting decent traffic. In that case, a better idea may be to invest in making it mobile-friendly instead of creating an app from scratch.
Responsive design is vital to update your website regularly with fresh content to keep people coming back for more. A responsive website will also reach more customers in the short term since not everyone will download your app right away while still learning about your business.
The idea that you can ignore the search function on websites is arguably the most common myth. Searching is a fundamental feature, and people use it to find anything on a website.
Search is an easy way to find the content you know exists but isn’t in your navigation. For example, if your eCommerce website has thousands of unique products, a search bar can help customers find specific products faster.
Services like Google Analytics can provide valuable insights into how often people use search functions. If no one is searching for the information you make available on the website, the positions of those links in your global navigation could likely be re-worked, so they appear higher up where more people will see them.
These days it’s more important than ever for your company to prove its value. It would be remarkable to state that if you build it, they will come. But first, the quote is not accurate. Second, it’s a movie quote and has nothing to do with web design or marketing. If you need a website build and think, “well, I don’t need to market this site because once I have a great product, my customers will find me,” think again.
You want potential clients to see that your business is thriving and relevant using various media channels such as blogs, social media posts, and email marketing campaigns, to name a few. Even if your company has been around for years and has an established network, creating content that sets your company apart from competitors is beneficial in the long run. It’s also critical to stay current on technology so consumers can easily find you online at any point.
These efforts pay off when your customers start finding you before other companies in similar industries because you have invested time creating marketing campaigns that work for your business goals.
Unfortunately, a perfect website doesn’t exist. You might be asking yourself: “why not?”. And that’s a perfectly valid question.
The reason why a perfect design doesn’t exist is that design is subjective. Designers have different perspectives and what constitutes effective design varies from person to person. What one designer deems essential, another may consider secondary or unimportant altogether. What makes someone’s heart flutter may repel another person.
Even if the community has similar ideas about what design elements make a user experience excellent, it is unlikely your target audience agrees with those same principles. Your audience has different expectations based on their familiarity with websites and personal experiences online and offline in the real world.
The truth is that animations can help make your website more dynamic, fun, interactive, memorable, and aesthetically pleasing. But like anything in design or life, you can’t overdo it.
If you’re not sure how to incorporate animation into your web design project, leave it to the professionals. It’s easy for an amateur to ruin a potentially profitable website with a few poorly designed animations that alienate potential customers instead of drawing them in.
Many companies make the mistake of trying to please everyone. With limited resources, it’s easy to feel like you must choose between your audiences, but this isn’t true. By using what you know about the different groups visiting your website, you can create a better experience for everyone.
To design a website for multiple audiences, you’ll first need to know what each wants. After analyzing data from Google Analytics and talking with various stakeholders about their experiences on the site, we recommend creating personas for your audience segments.
Personas are fictional representations of real people who use your website so that you can think about how they react in different scenarios on the site when making design decisions later down the road.
In a mobile-first approach, instead of developing a desktop website and then creating a mobile version later, you start with the mobile version. Mobile-first is an excellent idea because it forces you to be more efficient with your UI and content, eliminating unnecessary elements as they won’t fit on small screens.
Only designing for mobile devices isn’t enough. While mobile browsing has been increasing steadily over the past years, desktop browsing still makes up just over 42% of internet browsing.
Designing for mobile first is a great starting point for responsive design. But if you are planning to use the same markup and CSS stylesheet for both desktop and mobile versions, then there will be some limitations:
- Some functionality (e.g., hover interactions) that works well on desktops might not work on touchscreens.
- Specific layouts may not work well across different screen sizes.
- Some features that look good when shrunk down might not look right when users expand them.
So, if you want to reach all users on any device, keep desktop users in mind.
You may be surprised to know that when your website is finished, you’re only just getting started. As you well know, technology is constantly changing, and what was cutting-edge yesterday might already seem outdated today.
You must keep your website up to date or risk losing visitors who see your site as old and unfashionable. But how do you keep a website up to date? It’s simple: active maintenance.
Use analytics data to discover what works for your visitors and what doesn’t. Experiment with new features and run frequent tests. And don’t forget that it’s never done. There’s always room for improvement.
There are many potential issues surrounding design for the web, but if you have a solid strategy and budget, you can overcome all the difficulties you encounter. Once you do that, you’ll have a site that works hard to keep your visitors engaged and coming back for more.