15 Common Web Design Mistakes

At some point, designers tend to forget that just having an attractive website is not enough to drive visitors. Due to which, they often commit mistakes on the process and are likely to ignore them. This creates a bad impact to the site either in the short-run or the long-run. There are countless web design mistakes, which should be taken in account, but the following 15 web design mistakes are pretty common and should be avoided at any cost:

15 Common Web Design Mistakes

#1: Using PDF formats for web pages

PDF format is meant for different purposes like printing and presentation. It should not be used for designing web pages. The web content which is made on PDF file first of all loads too damn slowly. Next, the browser controls gets eliminated. Plus, the users cannot copy and paste the web content in a perfect alignment. If you feel like having a PDF format on your website, you can simply give a download link to the PDF content file, rather than publishing it online.

#2: External links opening in another tab or window

Many web designers have the misconception that by opening a new tab or a window for the links should let the visitor hang around on their website too. The fact is totally the opposite, as users get irritated upon seeing this filthy trick. If you attempt to do the same thing with your websites, days will be not far when you will have no visitors.

#3: Using the same color for visited links

By not changing the colors of your website’s visited links, you confuse your site visitors. Users need to know which links they have opened and which links are still unvisited.

#4: Flash, flash and flash

Flash is now history. But still many web designers incorporate flash when designing web pages. First of all flash is not search engine supported and that it is also not a user-friendly web design element. It takes a bunch of time to load the flash content and users also have to install the flash plug-in for the flash animations to work.

#5: JavaScript links

JavaScript is another counterpart of flash. It may be user friendly to some extent because of its wide usability features and access but when it comes to search engines, you are helpless!

#6: Dynamic URL

Dynamic URL’s are auto generated URL’s by softwares and CMS. They include sets of symbols, digits, alphabets and other things. This is not at all a search-engine friendly feature. Your users may also get confused. So always prefer a static URL over a dynamic URL.


Dynamic URL: http://www.example.com/id=12345&123

Static URL: http://www.example.com/mensshoes.html

#7: Usage of drop-down menus

A drop down menu is a slow loader and plus it is not user-friendly in some cases. The links should be made purely out of text and all the navigations should be displayed on a single bar/line rather than using drop-down menus.

#8: Pages that look like Ads

I have seen many people designing websites as such they are creating an Ad-centric content. By adding a big bunch colors and other similar Ad elements in your web design, you will eventually see your web page as an advertisement. Avoid this at any cost, since this hurts down the usability the most.

#9: Displaying multiple versions of a website

You must have seen many websites showing multiple versions of the web content on their index pages. Likely options are: HTML and Flash. Never ever do this while designing your website. Prefer only a single option!

#10: Only IE allowed

There are thousands of websites still running in the 21st century which advises the user to open that website in Internet Explorer. Oh come’ on days have gone when we used to have IE on our computers. However there are still some old fellows who use IE but you should never suggest your users what to do. Do the level best from your side rather than forcing your site visitors.

#11: Using FrontPage and other similar programs

FrontPage may appear easier to design a website, but at the same time you have to deal with the browser incompatibility issues. So always use clean static HTML as the first and the last priority.

#12: Vertical scroll-bar content

Users hate to scroll the vertical bar to read the remaining part of the content. Fit your web design in such a way that it doesn’t find the need of a vertical bar.

#13: Same title and description for every web page

You might have seen people using same title and description content on every page of their websites. This is the biggest lack from SEO point of view. You shouldn’t risk your online business by committing this mistake when designing your own website.

#14: Background music (without user control)

It was years back when people used to love the background music on the websites. Now, users will switch to another website if they find such thing on your website. If you still want to give a presentable feel to your website by adding background music to it, just don’t forget to give the control to your users to switch it off.

#15: Using fancy fonts for content

Never use fancy fonts for writing the content of your website. Always go for the standard like Times New Roman or Arial.

These were the biggest 15 common web design mistakes that I’ve ever come across in my entire life. Never attempt to ignore these mistakes, they cost really BIG!

Author Bio: Kenneth Sytian is an entrepreneur based in the Philippines. He’s the owner of Sytian Productions, a web design company, and G33k Solutions, web development startup.

0 thoughts on “15 Common Web Design Mistakes”
  1. This are great guides. What I really hate to a website is the flash cause it will really load slow if your visitor has a slow internet connect.

    In your “#10: Only IE allowed” I really laugh cause IE is really did and who ever using IE maybe is living in the ice aged.

  2. While some of these points stand, a number of them feel like they’re from 2001. “Fancy fonts” are definitely longer taboo, for instance; just look at Typekit or Google Fonts. Besides, Times New Roman and Arial can be woefully misapplied by an inept designer just as easily as any “fancy” font.

    And “fit your web design in such a way that it doesn’t find the need of a vertical bar?” Forgive my directness, but this is asinine. There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that users “hate to scroll to see the rest of the content.” There may be some reasons why one would want to keep certain important pieces of content, like promos, above the “fold,” but to imply that the design of every website should avoid a vertical scrollbar is utterly uninformed. One important reason why this isn’t even close to possible is the fact that we live in a day and age where you cannot assume hardly anything about a visitor’s browser dimensions. If you really want to provide a user with a great experience, maybe look into utilizing some Responsive Web Design principles.

    I know this article was well-intentioned, and you make some points that are still valid (not opening content in new windows, not using music in the background, Flash is a bad idea, etc.), I have to say that I hope readers will take the ideas presented here with a grain of salt.

  3. Right off the bat, I do number two and three. Thanks for the info; I’m going to have to change my websites.

  4. Hey excellent post.You shared some important and useful information about mistakes in web design.By avoiding these few web design bad ideas, you can create an ideal website that will not just make your website valuable to visit, but will also grab huge traffic.Thanks for sharing such good post

  5. Hi Gary,

    This is truly an in depth look at some of the most common factors that influences website design. Some of the tips you’ve mentioned is not only key for user experience but key for good website building standards and (not that too many web developers and bloggers actually care for standard of the W3C) building trust amongst your users.

  6. Well i think this is great post and very helpful me.Because have some problems in my web site design now i am happy to get this help thanks

    1. Yes Baytech, I atotally agree. Some good ponts here I found very useful, for example about drop-down menus. I did some more reearch and relly found this feature bad for websites. Well, I will need to redesign my website a bit 🙂

  7. #2 does end up being very annoying to users. I hate clicking articles and then all of a sudden a new tab opens. It’s always in my mind that the reason that they’re doing this is just to keep me on their page

    Also #14 is one of the worst possible things. I don’t understand why people even do it.

  8. Nice post! They’re very influential and useful & nice define Common Web Design Mistakes and good points in web design mistakes.Thank you very much and thanks for post it!

  9. Hi Gary,

    These tips are very influential and will provide advantage if website designers follow them.Some of the insights are really appreciable(#2,3,8,13).One has to be specific about the results he will gain after someone will click their link.maintaining the standard of a website is very important and for that these key points should be kept in mind.

  10. I didn’t think drop down menus would be bad. What is the best way to display the menu if you structure goes down several letters. The top menu would get to busy.

  11. This list definitely has some good points to make, although I’m not sure that they work in every situation. Thanks for sharing your views and insights into the world of web design. 🙂

  12. Nice guide! I especially hate websites that use flash. It makes my Chrome crash and they take time to load. It’s highly impractical for readers. I thought you included pop-up notifications for:

    1. Signing up for news letter.
    2. Subscribing to feed.
    3. Don’t Leave!

    Now those I really hate. I guess they’re no longer common these days but some still make these mistakes.

  13. Nice post. Very important and useful points. I agree with most of the points. Point number 4 and 10 are very annoying.

  14. Interesting post. I agree with the points especially (#2,3,4,8,10,13). I doubt if anyone uses IE these days and i personally don’t like to visit a site which has pages filled with ads.

  15. Mistake is the name of perfect leaner if we will do any mistake it means next time we wont perform same mistake, Here you mention very common mistakes. I think if you will develop any website then you will just rock that project really thanks for sharing this useful information with us.


  16. Good,very good article i agree with most of the points.The point number 4 and 10 are very annoying.

  17. Good article Kenneth. All of mistakes you describe is very important. We must do website to people, Website must be easy to understand and easy reading all important information

  18. When design your webpages, don’t make it overload. When visitors open your webpage and have to wait for 5 seconds, they will probably turn away.

  19. Good post Lawmacs ! This list definitely has some good points to make. Thanks for sharing your views and insights into the world of web design. This is a really mice compilation of web design mistakes.

  20. These are some great guidelines for avoiding some common web design mistakes. It does take some effort to come up with a great design but if you have done your research and have good skills. You can avoid these mistakes. Good post.

  21. Still professional web designer are doing these types of above listed mistakes during website design so it is very bad so before going to design stage, they should have to first create one mock up for website and proper planning to set design elements at prefect places as well as should make a plan to avoid different things in the web design.

  22. Yes, some good general comments there, I think he is being a bit hard on using Flash and Java, yes, too much Flash is not good but it does play a role in web design so too Java. Good design will limit the use, as mentioned the search engines find it difficult to deal with but used appropriately it does provide the look and feel that some people want.

  23. I’ve been setting up my sites so that new tabs open when a user clicks a link. I didn’t do it as a ‘dirty trick,’ but instead, I did it because I thought it’d be more useful to the visitor in case they didn’t want to leave my page. I had no idea this could be seen as a dirty trick – I’ll be changing my sites ASAP based on your thoughts. Thanks for the lesson!

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