Here comes part two of bad design practices that web designers should avoid. Part one mostly talked about the errors designers and developers make, here in part two we will also talk about the problem with what “webmasters” or website owners do to sully their names.
To all website owners out there who are wondering what’s wrong with their website, I suggest you read this (and part one) and learn from the grave mistakes of others. This is also good for people who are thinking of creating their own website. Be sure to read the comments because, very often, the gems are hidden there!
Too Much Pagination
Have you visited Cracked.com lately? Their articles are paginated, but that’s a good type of pagination since you’ll rarely see it exceed two. The problem with other websites is that they’re too concerned with page views that they tend to chop a 1000–word article into five or ten parts (seriously, I saw one news website do this)! Needless to say, I never visited the website again. This might not be the designer or developer’s fault, but internet entrepreneurs should be educated on how to deliver content well.
Hidden Text and Links
You have text in your navigation and content partly because of SEO, right? As mentioned in Part 1 by our readers, using images for navigation is okay, but how will search engines crawl them? Answer: “text-indent: -9999px” (it’s over 9000!), or hiding the text using CSS.
Now, this is something very controversial. In my search for free, and good, WordPress themes I stumbled upon this article by Siobhan which talks about hidden “spam” links on many free WordPress themes. These free themes are bad for SEO, Google has a policy about hidden text and links which states that intentionally hiding the text/link behind an object or out of the screen’s view may be cause for the removal of the site on Google’s search results page.
To demonstrate the evils of in-line styles and what damage they can do, here is James’ comment:
Again, this was pointed out in the previous part. Instead of using an external CSS, some insist on styling on the spot – which I am very guilty of! While the appearance will clearly be the same, this is still a bad practice because as the website grows, so does the styling for everything. While using an external master sheet may seem to be a daunting task for some, the ease of access to it is far superior than navigating through a series of HTML tags looking for the thing you need to change.
Again, stop in-line styling and create an external CSS. It’s also a good way to recycle codes, right?
Too many Social Media buttons
(website’s name is intentionally withheld for my safety; some are highlighted look below)
Competition is high, we understand, but having 10 social media buttons at the end of each article? Seriously? Today, people are content with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and sharing via e-mail (share via e-mail?) so let’s keep it at that. No need to add seven or ten buttons because 1) it doesn’t look good because it seems like you’re hogging, and 2) it’s not pleasing to the eyes.
Splash Pages and Pop-ups
Well, it actually depends. If it’s an 800 x 600 advertisement I probably won’t visit again. 1stwebdesigner is also guilty of this, and I’m pointing this out because I’ve seen comments and e-mails jeering the pop-up. The good news is, we will be limiting its appearance and probably remove it totally. For that, we’re sorry for any inconvenience it might have caused you. But, again, blocking the view is never a good practice, save for a limited-time campaign.
Also, I’m sure you’ve seen this “Share” button somewhere. I really hate this, and I’m sure many of you will feel the same. It pops out whenever the cursor is hovered over it and stays for a few seconds.
This will be my second time calling names. GooglePlusAnswers.com is a whole new level of splash/pop-up/irritating.
Why must I share or like or tweet or +1 your website or wait 30 seconds before you grant me access? Sadly, it does not stop there. If you don’t want to share, you’ll keep on seeing the same thing all over the website.
This lame stunt also happened during Facebook’s debut. “Like this to unlock content” my a–-!
Dark Background and Light Font Color
To demonstrate, click the image to open the website and read a line or two. After reading, open Google. It buuuurns!
Perhaps the greatest affront a designer can do to the world is…
…not striving to learn new techniques when the whole world is changing rapidly. As a designer, it is your duty to go with the flow, to commit necessary changes when the world demands it. Part of it is to educate those who are below you so that the spread of good practice will propagate. If there is enough reason to believe that your design is not doing any good, instead of waiting for it to work, why not find a different method to make things work?
So, what say you? I’m pretty sure I’ve missed quite a lot of bad practices, so fire them all below!
Next time we will talk about the small things that web designers do which make people love them. Small things mean a lot, right? For instance, a simple horizontal rule to separate content smoothly, usability options for challenged individuals, and many more. Stay tuned!
Rean concurrently served as the Head of Operations and Editor-in-Chief of 1stwebdesigner from 2011 up until Aug 2014. He regularly writes about freelancing, technology, web design, and web development with a little touch of internet marketing here and there.