Symptoms of Over-Designed Websites

· · design

Post image overdesigned

During lead research, we came across many websites and types of companies. In most cases, we have no idea what those companies do by looking at their website.

Here are some frustrations we face with most web design.

Design problems

  • Stock photos of random happy people working together, a business meeting, or a person using a computer.
  • A carousel gallery (without visible controls).
  • Plenty of animations, fade-ins, swirling, and moving.
  • A premium design that pops.
  • More images of happy busy people.
  • A hero image that doesn’t have anything to do with the product (except that it makes people smile for some reason).
  • A different header and footer on each page, with unique navigation, and a logo on the right.
  • Blue color and underline for elements that aren’t links.
  • Hijacking scroll bar so a visitor has no idea how the site functions.
  • Font colors that blend with the surroundings. If you’re trying to decide if it’s legible, you already have the answer.
  • Innovative and creative design instead of recognizable layouts that everyone uses.
  • Every inch of space is squeezed and put to use. The opposite problem — too much negative space — is yet to be spotted.
  • More pretty pictures.
  • Skipped usability testing in favor of polishing that ease-in animation and nailing the CSS gradient.
  • Design so minimal, we’re not sure what the website’s for.

stock photo

Structural problems

  • A long form that needs more than just the person’s email.
  • Two or more columns of information which compete for attention.
  • Splash page, auto-playing video, or background music.
  • Forcing the Contact Us form instead of giving an email and a contact person.
  • Not sure where to click next (but it looks nice). I wonder what does this button do… or where this link leads…
  • Too much stuff on the landing page (about us, portfolio, news, tweets, features, promotions, affiliates, recent blog - posts).
  • Multiple calls to action. Should I sign up, read more, contact you, apply for a special promotion, download the app..?
  • No screenshot of the product, ANYWHERE.

Eager form

Copy problems

  • We’re awesome (the most innovative company, an industry leader, focus on quality above all…).
  • Me. Me. Me. Me. Might have to do with you … no, it’s about me. Me again.
  • Weak words (believe, think, find, aim, strive…).
  • Industry jargon that an average business owner (a.k.a. the potential client) doesn’t understand.
  • It doesn’t say anywhere what the company does, but it lists plenty of reasons why it’s awesome.
  • Too much fluff text, ignoring the hunter mentality of a web user.
  • Using text to communicate information instead of showing it.
  • Super-cheerful copy that sells the benefits without telling you the features.
  • Clever copy that aims to entertain rather than provide useful info.
  • Why use “Contact Us” when you can be creative and write “Reach Out” or “Connect”.
  • Mission and vision statement dress up: having a unique mission statement even though you do the same work as a million of others.

Mission statement generaton

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