Web design cliches to avoid when developing a website
I thought I would elaborate on some design cliches that you should avoid when designing or developing a website. These are good tips for web designers that are starting out in the field. (I am sometimes guilty of doing some of these, but maybe I have a good reason!)
Overuse of Cliche Stock Images
Stop using only stock photos on your website! When consumers visit your website, they do not want to see a bunch of people or things that they can not connect to. It is safe to assume most website visitors can tell the difference between stock photos and real photos. I am not saying you should hire a photographer to do a shoot for you, but use a nice mix of stock and real. Maybe you can have illustrations created for the website; it does not need to be full of photos.
Nothing is worse than having music take over right when you enter a webpage. The user is likely to hit the back button or exit the browser before looking at your site. Face it, lots of folks may be viewing your website at a coffee shop, library, kids dance recital or worse...during work. The last thing a person needs is everyone knowing they are playing a game on their iPad instead of making sales calls.
I find this web design cliche starting to disappear. Nothing is enticing about "click here". That does not make a user want to go fishing for more information. That does not explain to them where they want to go. Precious hours are spread across the entire world wide web... they want the information quickly and easily without having to work for it. Just explain where you are taking them.
Validation Certification Logos
Who cares? The consumer does not care that your website is CSS or HTML 1.0 validated.
Again, who cares? The consumer will judge your website based on how good your content is, not how many people have already visited your website. If you are trying to keep a count for yourself or a client... there are many other ways to collect some statistics.
Best Viewed in IE 5
This might have been relevant years ago when there were only a couple browsers and they did not act the same at all. Now a days, your website should be designed for all browsers. This is not something too difficult now that most browsers render web pages just about the same. There are some similarities, but do you think the user is going to rush over and download the proper browser if they do not have it? No.
Try to keep the body of text on a page to two paragraphs. If at all possible, get your message out in the first two sentences. If the user does not think this is what they are looking for, they will quickly go elsewhere. Do not beat around the bush to let them know what you or your organization is all about. Most of you are trying to sell something.