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Usability Mistakes in Web Design: Three Common Errors

You can’t judge a book by its cover, and the same holds true for webpages.  The web universe is swamped with sparkling; beautiful sites that lack so much usability that audience members feel a little duped having tried them.  Lack of usability makes for worthless websites.  This is due to the fact that web pages are just run of the mill artworks meant to be posted in viewed by spectators.  These sites are meant to be attentive to target the audience, to motivate them to act and to engage, hopefully convince to continue visiting.

A great website is one that both engage its audience as well offers features that are truly understood by the customer.  Useful websites can be achieved with a few good hints of what to avoid.  Below take look at a few common mistakes and missteps resulting in useless design.

First Glance Content Errors

The backbone of any solid website is its good copy, all the text included in a site.  Yes, you definitely want a great-looking fully functional website, but it’s also important that the web copy leaves a good first impression as well.  Without the great copy, the entire structure and purpose of the site can fall apart and leave the audience completely alienated.

Before considering your copy, think hard about the impact your site will make upon first glance.  This is relevant because users tend to read web-pages differently from the way they’d read a book or a newspaper.  The top to bottom read just doesn’t cut it when there is so much information coming in from every direction on a click.  Instead, the thing that grabs the attention at first glance is usually read first.  From there the glance shifts to the content with the next highest attention-getting factor and this all varies from one site to other depending on, yes, you guessed it, page design.  Below is an example of how glance shifts from one piece of content to the next.

What all this means is that the layout of your content is just as important as what it says.  A few good techniques can be used to ensure that the structure of your layout is on point.  First, include just a few focus points, each with good headings.  Make accompanying text brief so that it’s all easily understood with just a quick read. 

Lengthy Registration

Today, almost all sites require registration.  It allows site administrators to customize the user’s experience and keep track of who’s visiting and using the site.  The way this information is collected doesn’t have to be a complicated matter.  Too many sites make the mistake of incorporating long registration forms into the initial web page impression, and this is a huge mistake.  When you consider that web pages have 15 seconds to make a good first impression, a complicated registration form is likely to be a death toll for user satisfaction.  What users want when it comes to registration is something easy on the eyes with simplified features so that they can quickly move on to bigger and better aspects of the site.

Compare the Read-Oz form to the Tumbler registration.  Notice that elimination of optional fields is a great way to shorten and simplify the registration process.

Registration Frustration

The third biggest mistake follows on the heels of the one above – locking prime interactive features under registration wraps.  It’s useful to require registration at the onset of the user experience, but too many registration forms in one sitting can fatally injured a site’s usability.  Designers must remember that almost every other site in the web universe is also requiring registration, so users are quick to get frustrated if a site asks for too much.

Do the features you’re shielding with registration really need user identification?  If not, eliminate those barriers and keep the users happy.  If your goal is to get more users involved on your site, use registration only where it’s essential.


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