Website Myths – have a website designed on evidence, not false beliefs

Website Myths – have a website designed on evidence, not false beliefs

Below are some common website myths and the real truth:

Myth #1: People read on the web

People only read word-by-word on the web when they are really interested in the content. They usually skim the pages looking for highlighted keywords, meaningful headings, short paragraphs and scannable list. Since they’re in a hurry to find the very piece of information they’re looking for, they’ll skip what’s irrelevant for them.

So don’t expect people to read content that seems neither easily scannable nor relevant for them, therefore long text blocks, unnecessary instructions, promotional writing and “smalltalk” should be avoided on the web.

Myth #2: All pages should be accessible in 3 clicks

Usability tests have long challenged the so called three-click rule or two tap rule. Contrary to popular belief, people don’t leave your site or app if they’re unable to find the desired information in 3 clicks or taps. In fact, the number of necessary clicks affects neither user satisfaction, nor success rate. That’s right; fewer clicks don’t make users happier and aren’t necessarily perceived as faster.

What really counts here is ease of navigation, the constant scent of information along the user’s path. If you don’t make the user think about the clicks, they won’t mind having a few extra clicks.

Myth #3: People don’t scroll

Although people weren’t used to scrolling in the mid-nineties, nowadays it’s absolutely natural to scroll. For a continuous and lengthy content, like an article or a tutorial, scrolling provides even better usability than slicing up the text to several separate screens or pages.

You don’t have to squeeze everything into the top of your homepage or above the fold. To make sure that people will scroll, you need to follow certain design principles and provide content that keeps your visitors interested. Also keep in mind that content above the fold will still get the most attention and is also crucial for users in deciding whether your page is worth reading at all.

Myth #4: Design is about making a website look good

Many people regard web design as decoration; the art of making a website look good. However, design is more about how something works than how it looks. Design is about both form and function. In contrast with art, good design is not only visually and emotionally appealing but is made for use.

The goal of design is to efficiently solve problems. Design is based on the understanding of how users see the world, how they think and behave. And the toolset of the designer is broader than just colors and font-styles, as it also includes user-research, prototyping, usability testing, and more.

Myth #5: Accessibility is expensive and difficult

To make your website accessible, you don’t need to add extra functionality or to duplicate any content. The key is simply to assess the requirements of those with different skills and limited devices when designing the user interface and your content.

To build from scratch a website that’s accessible therefore, costs virtually the same as to develop one that isn’t.

Correcting an already inaccessible site, however, might need extra effort but is always beneficial on the long run since accessible sites are easier and cheaper to maintain.

Myth #6: Accessible sites are ugly

Accessibility on the web means making your content available to users with different skills and devices. A key requirement of web accessibility is to separate content (HTML) from visual appearance (CSS) in order to allow those preferring – or requiring – to use their own specific style sheet to access the content.

Since the visual appearance of a site is defined by style sheets, accessibility in itself should not have any impact on visual design.

Myth #7: Graphics will make a page element more visible

A common pitfall in web design is to emphasize an important piece of content with a graphic-heavy and flashy presentation. This approach, however, often makes it less visible.

When people look for something specific on a website, they search for text and links where they assume the information would be found. Very often people mistake visual, colorful page elements for ads and avoid them altogether.

It doesn’t mean though that you can’t use any emphasis. Contrast does work well and is essential for prioritizing content and thus creating effective web design.

Myth #8: Stock photos improve the users’ experience

Usability tests and eye-tracking studies show that stock photos and other decorative graphic elements rarely add value to a website and more often harm than improve the users’ experience.

Such images aren’t related to the topic of the website and don’t hold useful information. Users usually overlook stock images and might even get frustrated by them.

Myth #9: Design has to be original

Many designers would rather attempt reinventing the wheel than to adapt conventional user interface design patterns. It should be considered, however, that such design conventions are well-working because they’ve already been introduced and tested for usability. Since the users know them well, you don’t need any explanation or instruction manual. As users appreciate usability over novelties, standard patterns will eventually benefit your audience.

It might occur that a new approach is needed, but you must be 100% positive that your solution is better than the existing pattern.

Myth #10: If your design is good, small details don’t matter

“The details are not the details. They make the design.” said Charles Eames. Fine details, such as an informative error message, a reassuring piece of microcopy, or the orders in which products are shown on a category page, strongly impact the user experience and the bottom line.

Small details go a long way. This is what Apple is all about: obsessive attention to details down to the smallest bits.

Blog article thanks to UX Myths

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