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Eight Website Pitfalls, and How to Avoid Them

Clutter: Too much noise, too much text, and too little white space mean that customers ignore the content. Customers often scan pages quickly, only reading titles or input prompts until they reach the content they want. Be concise, break text up with headings, not too many fonts and consider the reading level of your audience.

Confusing navigation: Buttons and menu items should be apparent, links should look like links. Text should not look like buttons or links. Customers do not typically read and digest information in linear order and should be able to move between sections easily.

Company-centricism: Customers are task-oriented. They don't know (or care) about departmental structures, or company jargon. Look at your site as an outsider would, by function or task. Use clear, generic labeling and try to minimize the use of company or industry jargon, acronyms or abbreviations unless context is provided.

Design by committee: Though teamwork is essential to the success of a website, requiring group consensus for decision making will stop a project in its tracks.

Bells and whistles: How a site looks is not as important as the content and the organization of that content. Establish the site layout before attempting to finalize design.

High-maintenance pages: Static pages based on dynamic information are quickly outdated. Include dynamic data only if it is needed, and provide a way to maintain it.

Back patting: Don't tell customers how great your products are, show them. Keep introductory material to a minimum and focus on your programs or services.

Overcomplicating: Designers tend to approach a site as if it should spring whole-formed from their head before it is published. Remember, a website is forever a work in progress and should be approached as such. Publish the information at hand, and the site can expand and revised as needed according to user feedback.

Torre DeVito is a web designer from Cary, North Carolina.

For more information visit www.pagecandy.com.

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