The Top 10 Mistakes Web Designers Make - How To Avoid Them

Website Design

Many designers have learned the hard way that when it comes to web design, there are things you just shouldn’t do. You should avoid these top 10 mistakes that web designers often make in order to ensure your website stands out from the crowd and achieves the results you want it to achieve.

1) They don’t ask questions

Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in worrying about our own part in a project, so it’s easy to forget that our clients are just as important. It’s your job as a designer to make sure you not only understand your client’s vision but how they envision their final product working. This might require some digging and discussion, but be sure to ask questions until you are 100% certain that everyone is on board with what’s happening and there will be no surprises later on down the line. If you don’t understand something or don’t feel like things are progressing smoothly, speak up! Always remember: Your time is valuable too!

2) They expect clients to know what they need

Designers often expect clients to know what they need, and at times a client will truly have a good idea of what they want. But more often than not, clients don’t know what they need or where to start—and that’s where designers can make all of the difference. As you move through your project with your client, work closely together to ensure that he or she is thinking about content before it’s time to design and implement. This way, you can build together an effective plan from conception to execution that doesn’t miss any key aspects (e.g. SEO).

3) They don’t clarify vague instructions

Let’s face it: No matter how good your design is, if you don’t have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish, your project will fall flat. Don’t rely on vague terminology to describe what you want; instead, ask for precise details about content type and size, logo placement, and other site components. Don’t forget to ask your client questions—that way you’ll ensure that he or she is 100 percent on board with every decision. If there are things that don't make sense or that seem questionable after they've been clarified (but I just don't like blue), now's a good time to address them.

4) They get excited by cool technology

I know that cool technology can be exciting. Believe me, I’ve been there. But cool technology is only cool if your users actually benefit from it or if it conveys an important message or feature of your site. If you have to explain what an advanced widget does or what problem you’re solving by using it, then take a step back and think about something simpler for your design. That way, you can make sure that first-time visitors get something out of using your site, even if they don’t use every part of it.

5) They don’t test their work

One of their biggest mistakes is not running proper tests on their work. Any web designer worth their salt knows that no matter how good they are, there’s always room for improvement. Sometimes even small changes can have a massive impact on your business, so it’s important to test and make adjustments as needed. Failing to do so could mean money left on the table or even a damaged reputation. The best way to do it is by using simple A/B testing methods that can be run in-house or with third-party tools (Google Content Experiments being a popular choice). Once you find what works, implement your results and reap all of its benefits!

6) They assume there is only one answer

There is almost always more than one answer to a problem. Even if you think you have just one option, consider whether there is another way of looking at it. Sometimes we struggle with an issue because we fail to look at things from different perspectives and get stuck with what feels like the only solution. If you are feeling uninspired by your design project, step back and try re-framing your problem before moving forward. Let's say for example, your client comes to you asking for a design that will carry their business past its first year on social media. Why do they need something that will help them stay relevant in two years? They aren't even up and running yet! Ask yourself "how can I solve their problem?"

7) They start the project without knowing exactly what they will do

Most people start the project without knowing exactly what they will do or end up going in a different direction. Planning is the very first thing you must have before starting a project. In fact, without planning, your effort is wasted. You can only make great design if you know what it is you are designing for. So always try to clarify every aspect of the project before you start working on it.

8) They don’t provide sources for stock images and icons

This is a serious no-no. If you’re using stock images and icons in your design, ensure that you provide sources for them, or your clients could get into some trouble with their SEO. Both Google and Bing will penalize sites for using copyrighted images without providing credit to their sources.

9) They oversell their services

It’s not hard to find web designers claiming they can build you a successful website. The real challenge is finding one who won’t oversell their services and then under deliver on them. Great web designers won’t promise more than they can realistically achieve or deliver within time frames that make sense for both parties. Overselling your skills—and capabilities—is a sure way to land customers for whom you don’t have time or energy, and will ultimately lead to you struggling to meet their needs. Also, if you don't do everything in your power to ensure your client knows what you're capable of, how can they make an informed decision?

10) They use their own design aesthetic for every client.

Every website needs to have a theme and direction, but your skill as a designer is defined by how well you can tailor your aesthetic to suit each client. It's important for designers to show their clients that they're invested in their brand, so every project should be distinctively unique. Strive for consistency in your design instead of trying to impress others with how creative you are. Your clients hired you because they liked what you had to say and you'll lose their trust if it looks like someone else's site.

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