It’s not uncommon for inexperienced designers to make mistakes early in their careers. You may have to follow what people tell you until your own learning curve shows you what really works and what doesn’t. Most designers who trust their instincts tend to find that many common design “tricks” are actually myths. Here are some of the most widespread examples…
Making your home page the priority
Home pages don’t serve the same function they used to. Originally they served as an introduction to a website and a means of navigating to the specific page you wanted to find. Today, people don’t need to be told how to use the internet, they just want to reach the product, service or content being offered. Consistent navigation menus and individual pages ranked on search engines often allow people to bypass the home page altogether. Pages where people actually convert or consume content should be the top focus.
Assuming mobile users aren’t at home
Just because people are using their mobile phone to browse the internet, you can’t assume they’re sitting on a train or walking down the street. In fact, studies have shown that the majority of mobile page views comes from users who are sitting in their own homes. You may want to consider this in the design process, and don’t assume you need to make everything extremely short for the sake of mobile users. As long as it’s relevant, they will probably spend time reading and interacting.
Minimalistic design is essential
Many people believe that user experience is always enhanced by clearing out as many design elements as possible and keeping everything very minimal. This is actually just one visual style which does not apply to every website, and does not necessarily make anything easier. For example, removing labels from buttons and forms actually makes things harder for users to understand, even though it’s a common minimalist approach. Real simplicity (what you should be aiming for) comes from reducing the time and effort required to interact with the website as intended, not from reducing design elements.
Too many navigation options will confuse people
It’s true that human brains can only consider so many factors when making one decision, and therefore you might want to cut down your product range to increase sales. However, applying this logic to website design is a big mistake. This is because people are free to explore as much as they like, and are not bound by their decision to click something, so there is no pressure. On the contrary, extensive navigation menus allow people to find what they are looking for very quickly.
User feedback can tell you what needs doing
Unless it turns out you’ve been missing something obvious, you probably shouldn’t take everything users say about your website and base all your improvements on that feedback. People are actually not good at judging what they want or need until they actually have it, so being truly innovative based purely on user feedback is more or less impossible. User comments also rarely come with context or justification, so there may be better answers. Listen to people’s problems, but not necessarily their suggested solutions.