Pirates and Websites

September 19 is “Talk Like a Pirate Day.” What started as a joke in 2002 has since been featured by a national columnist and has grown year-over-year. What is Talk Like a Pirate Day? Well, it’s just that. A day to talk like a pirate.

The idea is funny yet silly. The silliness got me thinking about things that have become popular over the years in web design that are just silly, too. Many in the general public may not know how deep into a science that making a website gets. Here are a few common web design mistakes, misconceptions, or website tactics that are silly and must go.

Intense website graphics make your business look more professional

The first misconception that many web designers and developers have is the belief that the more visually stimulating and graphic-heave a website is, the better it is. This is wrong in many ways.

While images and graphics are at times helpful guides to understanding a product or service, the use of excessive images can overload users from taking the action you want. For example, too many graphics may be distracting and prevent users from buying something on your website.

Another reason against graphic-heave websites I that it causes the website to load slower. Slow load times often result in a visitor losing interest and leaving your website (“abandonment rate”). For the same reason that you don’t like waiting for a website to load, visitors to your website won’t stick around for slow load times.

Additionally, search engines don’t like slow websites either. Search engines try and put themselves in the position of a real visitor. Since real visitors don’t like slow websites, a slow web page can negatively affect your rankings and ability to show up on Google and other search engines.

Cool intro pages are cool

It is safe to say that when someone finds your page they are familiar with what you’re about to offer them. So, why the intro page? For the same reason as avoiding a graphic-heavy website, avoid intro pages. They do nothing but create an extra step that a visitor has to take to get to where they know they already want to go, your website. Since people don’t like intro pages, search engines don’t like them either. You’re only doing yourself a disservice by using intro/splash pages.

Sliders are awesome

Often highly debates is the use of sliders. Do you have a lot of really cool pictures that you feel obligated to show everyone that visits your website? Don’t. Just don’t. Since graphic-heavy websites are slow-to-load, what do you think sliders are? They’re not only heavy graphics; but they are several heavy graphics. That kills load time.

Moreover, no one clicks on them. When was the last time that you sat through a slider and watched more than the second slide? Even then you only had seen the second slide because it popped up before you had the chance to finish scrolling past it. No one interacts with sliders.

Visitors want to navigate as they please and be in their own control. Stop shoving animations in their face and scaring them away or overloading them.