March 1, 2017

4 Characteristics of Bad Websites

Our approach for determining whether a client is a good fit has never been based on telling that client how bad his/her current website is. In fact, any sales process based purely on pointing out flaws is bound to backfire. Instead, we like to focus on the good things about a business and then strategically implement a plan to create a site that showcases them more effectively.

With that said, there are some pretty bad websites out there, and by some, I mean a lot. Here are some characteristics that you should be on the lookout for when determining the quality of a site:

Giant Blocks of Text

There are three half-read books sitting on my nightstand right now. If I want to do some hefty reading I will pop one of them open and go for it. No need for a website to be an online novel. In fact, research has proven that website visitors are less likely to read long block-paragraphs onlineand actually internalize the content.

Wrong Aspect Ratio + Large Empty Spaces

You don’t hear about this very often, but it’s supremely important from an aesthetics standpoint.

An aspect ratio is the proportion between the width and height of a picture or screen. An old website sticks out like a sore thumb because one of the first things you will notice is the outdated aspect ratio.

As the article linked above indicates, old screens were based on a 4:3 aspect ratio, while new screens are usually 16:9. Ever wonder why some websites seem to all fit within a big stripe down the middle of the screen while there are big empty spaces on each side? Well, that’s why.

Non-Responsive Design

We talk about responsive design quite a bit, so I won’t go too far into it here, but the bottom line is that if a site is not responsive, it is just not as good as it could be. Responsive sites are programmed to maintain the same quality of user experience by adjusting to the pixel-width of the device upon which the site is being viewed. In other words, responsive design works on every device, and is what we like to call “future proof.” That solves the aspect ratio problem, doesn’t it?

In addition, a lack of responsive design also has negative SEO implications. On April 21st, 2015. Google made some major changes in its ranking algorithms, causing mobile friendly sites to outrank their non-mobile friendly counterparts. These changes are largely known as Mobilegeddon.

Non-responsive websites are officially on the wrong side of history, and that’s exactly what they should be: History.

No Call to Action

An effective call to action (CTA) is a supremely important aspect of every website. In the context of web design, what could possibly be worse than a website that fails to guide a user to contact you or make a purchase? It’s comparable to a door without a handle: Pointless.

My Call to Action

This post has merely skimmed the surface of many of the problems that plague most outdated websites out there, but it’s a solid place to start.

My call to action? Start noticing. Analyze the next websites you visit (or your own) for these four issues, and imagine how much better the site would be if those problems were remedied. A few changes can teleport a website into the future and drastically improve a company’s digital presence.