We’ve researched and we’ve researched. And we’ve folded some experience into our portfolio. And time after time, this nugget of wisdom stands out when our eye turns to web design. Don’t overdo it.

 

No, really. We’ve all seen websites with awful design decisions, and we’ve walked away feeling overwhelmed – too many bright colors, no contrast, drop-shadows on the wrong text. The lists of web design faux pas are seemingly endless.

 

But it’s good to remember that the best aesthetics are contained within simplicity. It sounds very Zen, but it’s true. When you’re designing a website, white space is your friend. And below, we’ve compiled a list of our "How Not To" favorites.

 

1. Cut back on the Flash.

We know. Flash is fun, it’s snazzy, and is versatile in its own ways. But Flash elements shouldn’t take up space where text-based content needs to go.

 

2. Speaking of Text…

Stay away from cascading and endless paragraphs of descriptive text. While details and eloquence have their place in writing, a website isn’t the best platform. Especially not for a business – large or small.

 

3. Plan Your Navigation

If a design element is important enough to have page-length articles written about it, then you know we’re not kidding around. Think of your navigation as a road sign – it provides your visitors with direction around your message, your purpose and your products. And if your visitors can’t find the content they’re looking for, then they’ll have very little reason to linger around your website and explore, much less buy.

 

4. Color and Contrast

"Contrast," says Wikipedia, "is the difference in visual properties that makes an object (or its representation in an image) distinguishable from other objects and the background." Paying attention to color and contrast is as important for small businesses as it is for the larger ones since these elements affect the readability, and they command the attention of your visitors. Consider seeking assistance from color contrast tools to help guide your color decisions. An easier way to emphasize message via contrast is to play with the size of your text. Since most people prefer scanning to reading, use larger text to communicate the information that matters the most.