With all of the different sources out there, it’s easy to get confused, but we’re here to debunk four common website design myths.
Myth 1: Your Home Page is Your Most Important Page
Your home page is critically important, but it’s not the end all be all of your website. A good website designer will tell you that in order for your website to be a success, you need to properly develop the internal pages as well. An overemphasis on the home page and a lack of emphasis on the internal pages can direct potential clients in the wrong direction. The website as a whole should be well-balanced and lead someone to take action.
The Truth: Internal Pages Are Often Visited Before Home Pages
From our in-depth research across the many websites we’ve worked on, we’ve found that the internal pages are actually the most visited and have the longest on-page activity.
These are your service pages, about pages, team member pages, work pages and your contact page. This is because the internal pages are either intentionally or unintentionally ranking for specific keywords phrases being inputted in search engines. Each internal page is dedicated to something different and focused. That being said, these are the pages that users often discover first, so they better be built to win.
Our approach to website design? We design the home page last for this reason and focus our first efforts on creating compelling internal pages and use that framework to guide the home page.
Myth 2: Users Don’t Scroll Down the Page
There once is a philosophy that was founded on the idea that “users don’t scroll,” which in turn spawned carousels, sliders and overcrowded “above-the-fold” designs. This is an archaic way of thinking and should be left in the past.
The Truth: Users Need Breathing Room
If you are overloading users with sliders and overcrowded designs, that may cause them to leave. Science has also proven that sliders don’t deliver more information like you’d think—they actually deliver less. Users suffer from Banner Blindness—a phenomenon where they don’t absorb the information on the rotating slides due to pure eye overwhelm.
Users are looking for websites that are easy to scan, digest and explore. In many use cases, they are looking to scroll down and begin to unravel the story of each page. That’s why it’s ever important to think of websites in terms of scroll. If you can encourage continuous scroll, you can easily and effectively deliver more information in a more digestible way.
Myth 3: Users Understand Vague Visual Cues
It’s easy to slip into the line of thinking where you just “expect” the user to know how to use the website. This leads to ambiguous sitemaps, designs and flows of information. A well-crafted website is designed to meet the needs of the user. You want the user to have the best experience possible. They need to clearly understand each page and should be led in a direction that supplies them with an action.
What do I mean by this? An example would be expecting a user to know that they need to hover over an image to see an important line of text. Or making something that’s a button not look like a button. When it comes to design, you have to use visual cues and feedback methods. Buttons should look like buttons. Things should be easy to use and functionality should be overly obvious.
The Truth: The “User is Drunk”
There’s a new philosophy called “The User is Drunk” to guide how we design user experience nowadays.
Of course, we’re not saying every one of your users comes to your website drunk. We’re saying that you need to design your website so well that a drunk person could easily use it.
If you’re drunk, you’re impatient, your vision is blurred and you’re not cognitively performing at your peak.
- That means you might not know that that image needs hovered on, and then needs clicked for you to get to another page.
- If a button doesn’t look like a button, it’s not a button.
- If the website is overwhelmed with information trying to show more info, less info will be received because the user will get impatient.
- If the website doesn’t load quickly, the user isn’t sticking around for long.
- If the website doesn’t give them what they need, or offer a very easy to spot path for them to get what they want, they will leave frustrated
Myth 4: White Space is the Enemy
This is another old way of thinking that continues to hang around. It’s right up there with the “user’s don’t scroll down” myth. The thought behind this is that you should minimize white space as much as possible. Everything should be filled in, right?
The Truth: White Space is a Powerful Design Element
The truth is that you should design the website pages to be easy to navigate with the eye. White space is an intentional design element. Often times, this pulls in elements of white space to help details stand out and give the user’s eye some breathing room.
Check out this example below to prove this. What’s easier to read and more appealing to the eye?
That’s what we thought.
Avoid the Myths
As you’re going through your next website design project, be aware of the myths out there. Be careful working with people who insist on using these outdated practices.