Website Fails - Don't Make These Mistakes

Much of this information will seem obvious, but you'd be surprised how often these mistakes still happen. We've broken it down into specific categories, to make it easier to read through.

  1. We've designed our site to meet our organization's needs (more sales/contributions) rather than meeting the needs of our visitors.
  2. We tell you how wonderful we are as a company, but not how we're going to solve your problems.
  3. It takes longer than four seconds for anyone to understand what our site is about.
  4. Our visitor cannot quickly find the focal point of the home or current page.
  5. Our site doesn't make us look credible or that visitor can trust us.
  6. Our home page or any page, takes more than 5 seconds to load on a High-Speed connection.
  7. Quickly scanning the page doesn't tell our visitors much about its purpose.
  8. We don't put design elements where our visitors expect them.
  9. We have not eliminated unnecessary design items & we don't know which items are unnecessary.
  10. Our site breaks when visited with the Javascript is turned off.
  11. Our site breaks because of back-end coding errors.
  12. We say "Welcome to..." on our home page.
  13. Our site uses a splash page (unless it's a multi-lingual or multinational site).
  14. Our site makes visitors register before they can enter.
  15. Our site's TITLE tag is something like "New Document", "Index" and not the name of your company or descriptive of that page for visitors and search engines.
  16. A  sound file automatically plays when a page loads, but we're not a record label or musician.
  17. I don't know if our site looks the same in the major browsers; our site doesn't look the same.
  18. I don't know if our site looks the same on a PC, Apple Mac or Linux; our site doesn't look the same.
  19. Our site is not responsive (looks good on desktop, laptop, tables/iPad, and mobile
  20. The important content does not fit in the first screen.
  21. We have too much/too little white space.
  22. We forces visitors to install weird plug-ins. (This is also a security issue.)
  23. We have "Download latest browser" text or buttons and/or prominently display what hardware and software used to create the site.
  24. We don't provide clear instructions on how to order, fill out forms, etc.
  25. Our site is based on a template that's bloated with ugly code or exported from Word.
  1. We mix and match content text sizes, different fonts, and colors on the page.
  2. We requires people to have special (unusual) fonts on their computers to correctly view our text.
  3. Visitors can't read our text because it's too small.
  4. We USE LOTS OF WORDS IN ALL-CAPS and scrolling, blinking, fading, or moving text.
  5. We center text on more than just headlines.
  6. We use lots of justified text. (This belongs on newspaper columns - not websites)
  7. We use fonts that are not appropriate for our audience: Comic Sans on a professional business website such as for an attorney or banker.
  8. We have text in the status bar - moving Javascript text. (That was so 1995!)
  9. We have too much or too little text on a page.
  10. Our site uses underlined text. (Only links should be underlined.)
  11. Our site has sideways text.
  12. We have too many links in one area or on one page.
  13. There are lots of dead links to frustrate people clicking on them.
  14. We have complex URLs.
    • or
  15. We have links consisting of 10-20 words.
  16. Our links are not informative. "Click here" instead of "Click for the activity schedule".
  1. Our logo is a bad scan of a business card.
  2. The logo is not on the top of every page; clicking it doesn't lead the user back to the home page.
  3. Our site uses bad clip art instead of good-quality web graphics.
  4. Our site uses videos on every page header.
  5. Instead of using a graphics program to make our image a 72dpi web graphic; we manually change the width & height in our web software.
  6. We use graphics that detract from the page and are used as text.
  7. We automatically load movies instead of using YouTube's method of only showing movies when people click.
  8. We use "Under Construction" graphics.
  9. Our shopping cart symbol doesn't look like a shopping cart or bag.
  10. Our site uses animated GIFs, animated divider bar, 3-D graphics, images with exaggerated shadows and/or flashing graphics that might cause seizures.
  11. Our background graphic doesn't contrast well against the text, making it hard to read.
  12. Our site's graphics are confusing, they look like ads.
  13. We use moving graphics, falling snowflakes, flying birds rendered by DHTML.
  14. We don't use color to convey meaning: I.E. red text signifies "this is important."
  15. We have blocks of ugly colors next to each other (purple next to neon green).
  16. Each page is one big image-map instead of real, live text.
  17. Music plays on every page automatically - and we are not a music website.
  1. We have a page or a popup explaining how our navigation works.
  2. Our site uses Mystery Meat Navigation. (This means the end user has to guess what them menu items are)
  3. Our site uses Flash navigation. If you don't have Flash installed, you can't navigate the website
  4. Our site uses sideways navigation.
  5. We use bad terms like "stuff" for our navigational links or "Beginning" for "Home."
  6. Our site's navigation is not at the top of the screen and/or website.
  7. Instead of being predictable, our site's navigation is inconsistent and changes page-to-page.
  8. Our site's content is not divided into logical categories and subcategories.
  9. The names of the categories and subcategories are not clear and mutually exclusive on our site.
  10. Our links aren't clearly labeled, don't tell you where you'll end up, and say "Click Here."
  11. Navigation graphics are not the same size and/or color.
  12. On our site, you may have to click four or more times to get to the information you want.
  1. We don't know what content is necessary or appropriate for our audience.
  2. Our content is not organized to meet our visitors' needs, or broken down into logical categories.
  3. The content is not engaging, or relevant, or accurate.
  4. We don't identify non-HTML documents like PDFs.
  5. Our site's content is not written for the web, but for print media and we just transferred it to the web.
  6. Our pages are too long; we forget that people skim.
  7. Some of our site's content, graphics and/or text, is considered offensive.
  8. We didn't use an editor (or several people) to proofread spelling, grammar, capitalization and content.
  9. We haven't checked to see we've eliminated all "Lorem ipsum" text or other placeholder text and graphics from the websites.
  10. Our website has sections that are under construction and the public can access them.
  11. Our website doesn't have a privacy policy or legal statement page.
  12. Our website's content came from a Microsoft Word or Powerpoint document, and then converted to HTML. This filled our site with bad and bloated coding.
  13. Our site has outdated calendar information.
  1. We don't use white or off-white color for a background, and our text isn't an easily legible dark color.
  2. We use Frames; iFrames are okay.
  3. We use the wrong doctype.
  4. We don't use CSS. (Cascading style sheets)
  5. We haven't validated our site's HTML code.
  6. Our site's logo is disproportionate for the top or bottom of the page.
  7. There are links to the home page on every page except the home page.
  8. We put dates on material that's not updated regularly.
  9. Our site's content is full of jargon and/or acronyms.
  10. Our site's use of abbreviations is inconsistent.
  11. We don't use a consistent tone throughout. We switch between colloquial to clinical etc.
  12. Visible hit counters.
  13. Contact information is not available; we don't provide multiple methods to be contacted. Contact form, phone number, mailing address, etc.
  14. We use JPG instead of GIF images and vice-versa and/or we over-optimize our images.
  15. Our text is full of superlatives like "This product will solve every problem you have."
  16. Our paragraphs have too much text; we're a group of people that scan.
  17. We bold and italicize a lot of text.
  18. We don't use logical file names for documents or graphics.
  19. We use graphics that don't enhance the page; graphics don't match content.
  20. We don't use bullets to organize information.
  21. We don't manually spell check TITLE, ALT tags, etc. Spell checkers don't check these.
  22. Our content is not timely or updated frequently.
  23. Our site doesn't separate style from content.

The Ever-Changing Internet

These lists have changed a lot over the years. New technology renders some issues obsolete, but also ushers in different problems to contend with.