Lately I have been writing a number of articles that I would consider to be more critical thinking based, so I thought that it may be interesting to do more of an opinion piece. In the past the article I wrote about bad blog design was successful, so I felt covering web design in general could be helpful as well. It is important to note that in this article I am referring to “web design” as the whole process of creating a site, not just the visual aspect.
10. LIQUID CONTENT COLUMNS
Liquid content columns rarely work without setting minimum and maximum widths. Unfortunately it seems that most times in which a site spans to fit the available space results in extremely long lines of type and proportionally small images.
9. RE-LISTING EVERY PAGE IN THE FOOTER
8. REPEATING NAVIGATIONAL ELEMENTS
No doubt you have seen this before. Instead of taking the time to do proper site planning and information architecture, the navigation is a mix of extremely long sub pages or pages found in multiple places in the navigation. Both of these scenarios lead to navigation systems that are confusing for users and near impossible to make sense of.
7. NOT STYLING FORM ELEMENTS
Form elements are some of the hardest things to style consistently across browsers. Learning how to design forms within the constraints of the browser goes a long way towards maintaining a consistent user experience. Plus, nothing stands out more than the default look of plain submit buttons in a well thought out design.
6. USING IMAGES FOR LARGE BLOCKS OF TEXT
Knowing how to design around the typographic limitations of the web is something that takes experience and experimentation to do effectively. Using images for large areas of text in order to utilize different fonts should not be done because of the negative effects it has on SEO and accessibility issues.
5. A NON DEGRADABLE NAVIGATION
4. POINTLESS FLASH INTROS
There isn’t really much to say about this. Its 2008, forget the Flash intro its lame and is generally accepted as a way to negatively impact search rankings.
3. POOR CONTRAST BETWEEN BACKGROUND TEXTURES/GRAPHICS AND TYPE
Print is a wonderful world where contrast never changes, once a piece is printed that is the final result. On the web differences in monitors mean variations in contrast. If type is not substantially separated from its background, legibility can become a serious issue.
2. NOT DESIGNING FOR VERTICAL EXPANSION
This is one of my personal most hated bad web design decisions. This problem can surface in a number of ways such as an iframe, columns that appear like they should be the same length but aren’t, or just plain broken column structures. This problem is one of the worst because it portrays the fact that the designer does not have a full understanding of how to design for the web.
1. BAD TYPOGRAPHY
Unfortunately the web has a number of technical reasons why creating rock solid typography can become an issue. Often times little thought is given to the subtle details such as proper leading, type “color,” or line length (See #10). This lack of detail, and the difficulty involved with setting up a consistent baseline can lead to sites that have just plain sloppy type.
There are plenty more, but these are some of the bad web design decisions that really bug me. If you have some that drive you nuts, why not share them in the comments below?