E c l i p s e
Troubled person because of bad web design
0 comments March 18, 2024

What Makes For Bad Website Design?

Statistically Shocking: “Imagine losing 87% of potential customers because your website takes over 5 seconds to load. That’s the harsh reality of bad website design, with studies showing users bounce in a heartbeat if a website doesn’t meet their expectations.”

Relatable Anecdote: “Ever navigate a labyrinthine website, searching for a simple contact form while frustration mounts with each click? We’ve all been there, victims of design choices that prioritize aesthetics over user experience.”Humorous Example: “Think of your website as your online storefront. Would you decorate it with neon flashing lights and blaring music, making it impossible for customers to find what they need? Bad design is like a digital cacophony, driving visitors away instead of welcoming them in.”

  • Differentiate between subjective preferences (“I don’t like the color pink”) and objectively bad design (“Text that’s so small it requires a magnifying glass is objectively bad”).
  • Emphasize the importance of user-centric design: websites should cater to user needs and goals, not designer egos.
  • Briefly touch upon the evolving nature of “good” design and the need to stay updated with current trends and user expectations.
  • Briefly introduce the five categories and their importance:
    • Usability: Ensures visitors can easily find what they need and navigate the website with minimal friction.
    • Visual Design: Creates a visually appealing and cohesive experience that aligns with brand identity.
    • Content: Offers valuable, engaging, and informative information that resonates with the target audience.
    • Performance: Guarantees fast loading times, smooth functionality, and reliable uptime.
    • Accessibility: Makes the website inclusive for everyone, regardless of abilities or disabilities.
  • Tailor the language and examples to resonate with the specific audience (e.g., technical terms for web designers, business language for owners, user-focused examples for content creators).
  • Briefly explain how each section caters to their specific needs and interests.
Confusing Menu Structures


  • Confusing menu structures: Dropdown menus within dropdown menus, nested categories buried deep within the hierarchy, unclear labels that don’t accurately reflect content.
  • Inconsistent placement: Navigation bar that changes position on different pages, buttons that shift location depending on content, search bar hidden in unexpected places.
  • Lack of breadcrumbs: Users feel lost without a trail of visited pages, especially on complex websites.
  • Unclear CTAs: Buttons that simply say “Click Here” or blend into the background, unclear labels like “Learn More” without specifying what will be learned.
  • Unintuitive search: Search bar that only accepts exact keywords, doesn’t offer autocomplete suggestions, returns irrelevant or unhelpful results.
  • Cluttered layout: Information overload with text crammed together, no white space to breathe, competing elements vying for attention.
  • Lack of hierarchy: Headings that don’t prioritize key information, important details buried within paragraphs, no visual emphasis on crucial points.
  • White space inconsistencies: Huge swathes of empty space on some pages, while others are choked with content, creating a jarring visual experience.
  • Difficult flow: Content jumps around without logical progression, users must backtrack or click around to find related information.
  • Broken links: Clicking leads to error pages, dead ends, or unrelated content, undermining user trust and wasting time.
  • Unresponsive design: Elements cut off on mobile screens, buttons too small to tap, text illegible on smaller devices.
  • Slow loading times: Users become impatient and may abandon the website if pages take too long to load.
  • Complex forms: Excessive fields, unnecessary information requests, unclear validation errors that leave users frustrated.
  • Accessibility issues: Lack of alt text for images, missing keyboard navigation support, color contrast issues that hinder viewing for people with visual impairments.
  • Intrusive pop-ups: Large, obnoxious ads that block content, auto-playing videos with sound, opt-in forms that appear constantly.
  • Analyze a website with a notoriously confusing menu structure and suggest reorganizing categories, using icons for clarity, and implementing hover menus.
  • Discuss a website with poor information architecture and propose using headings effectively, adding bullet points for key points, and implementing visual hierarchy with different font sizes and colors.
  • Showcase a website with accessibility issues and recommend adding alt text, improving color contrast, and implementing keyboard navigation options.
Slow Website


  • Measuring Performance: Quantify the issue with benchmarks like average page load times, “time to first byte”, and Core Web Vitals scores. Highlight the negative impact on user experience and SEO with data.
  • Image Optimization: Discuss tools and techniques for image compression, resizing, and lazy loading. Analyze the use of high-resolution images for decorative purposes vs. essential content.
  • Code Efficiency: Explain how poorly written code or unnecessary scripts can bloat files and slow down processing. Mention minification, pre-loading resources, and optimizing render blocking scripts.
  • Server Maintenance: Dive into the importance of choosing the right hosting plan, regularly updating software, and using database optimization techniques.
  • Caching and CDNs: Explain how caching frequently accessed content and using a CDN geographically distribute server load, significantly improving page load times for global audiences.
  • Software Updates: Emphasize the dangers of outdated plugins and themes, highlighting potential security vulnerabilities and compatibility issues. Encourage regular updates and vulnerability scans.
  • Data Encryption: Explain the importance of HTTPS encryption for protecting user data during transmission, especially for sensitive information like login credentials and payment details.
  • Security Protocols: Discuss implementing firewalls, malware scanners, and intrusion detection systems to actively monitor and protect against threats.
  • Vulnerability Prevention: Explain measures like strong passwords, two-factor authentication, and user access control to minimize the risk of unauthorized access and data breaches.
  • Downtime Minimization: Discuss proactive maintenance schedules, redundancy strategies, and disaster recovery plans to minimize downtime and ensure website availability.
  • Include specific examples of website speed and security issues to illustrate the consequences of neglecting these aspects.
  • Provide resources and tools for improving website performance and security, making the information actionable for readers.
  • Briefly touch on mobile-specific optimization and security considerations, as these are crucial factors in today’s landscape.
Bad visual design

Visual Design

  • Unprofessional or outdated visual style: Think neon fonts, Comic Sans, pixelated graphics, and gradients straight out of the 90s. These elements scream amateurish and can seriously harm your brand image.
  • Clashing color palettes and poor color contrast: Imagine bright red text on a neon green background, or important information rendered invisible due to insufficient contrast. Unpleasant color combinations and poor readability detract from user experience and make navigating the website a chore.
  • Overuse of graphics, animations, or distracting elements: Animated confetti raining down on every page, flashing banners bombarding users with ads, and auto-playing video loops can quickly overwhelm and annoy visitors. Less is often more when it comes to visual elements.
  • Low-quality images or stock photos: Blurry, pixelated images scream “low budget” and undermine your credibility. Avoid generic stock photos that don’t represent your brand or message authentically. Invest in high-quality visuals that showcase your products or services in a professional light.
  • Inconsistent branding and visual identity: A logo that doesn’t match the website’s color scheme, fonts that vary wildly across pages, and design elements that feel disconnected create a confusing and unprofessional impression. A cohesive visual identity across all online and offline platforms is crucial for brand recognition and trust.
  • Illegible fonts or inappropriate font sizes: Tiny, decorative fonts or overly bold, blocky ones can strain users’ eyes and make reading a frustrating experience. Choose fonts that are clear, readable, and appropriate for your target audience.
  • Excessive use of different fonts and styles: Think rainbow text with every word in a different font and size. It’s visually chaotic and difficult to follow. Stick to a limited palette of fonts with clear hierarchy (headings, subheadings, body text) for better readability.
  • Poor line spacing and paragraph formatting: Walls of text with no line breaks are intimidating and uninviting. Proper line spacing, paragraph breaks, and headings break up the content and make it easier to scan and digest.
  • Text that blends into the background or clashes with colors: Avoid white text on a light background or dark red text on a black background. Ensure sufficient color contrast for optimal readability, especially for users with visual impairments.
  • Unbalanced or asymmetrical layouts: Websites that feel lopsided or have elements haphazardly thrown together create a sense of disorganization and amateurishness. Strive for visual balance and symmetry while incorporating subtle asymmetry for visual interest.
  • Lack of visual hierarchy and emphasis: When every element has the same weight and size, it’s difficult for users to know where to look first. Utilize bold text, larger fonts, and visual cues like color and spacing to prioritize important information and guide users through the content.
  • Misalignment of elements and inconsistent spacing: Text boxes overlapping images, buttons placed off-center, and uneven margins throughout the website send a message of sloppiness. Consistency in alignment and spacing creates a sense of order and professionalism.
  • Overuse of grids or excessive white space: While grids can provide structure, overdoing them can create a sterile and predictable look. Similarly, too much white space can make the website feel empty and uninviting. Find a balance between structure, negative space, and visual interest.
  • Confusing or misleading visual cues: Buttons that look like text links, icons with unclear meanings, and arrows pointing in the wrong direction can frustrate users and impede navigation. Ensure visual elements are intuitive and consistent with user expectations.
  • Design that doesn’t adapt to different screen sizes and devices: Websites that look great on a desktop but become a jumbled mess on mobile are simply unacceptable in today’s mobile-first world. Ensure your website is fully responsive and optimized for seamless viewing and interaction across all devices.
  • Elements that become cut off or unreadable on mobile: Text overflowing screens, buttons disappearing due to zooming, and images shrinking to unusable sizes are all signs of a poorly responsive website. Optimize images and content for different screen sizes to avoid frustrating mobile users.
  • Difficult touchscreen interaction or unresponsive scrolling: Tiny buttons impossible to tap, menus that won’t scroll smoothly, and pinch-to-zoom that doesn’t function properly can quickly drive mobile users away. Prioritize touch-friendly design and test your website thoroughly on various mobile devices.

Slow loading times or increased data usage on mobile: Mobile users have limited patience and data. Websites that take ages to load or consume excessive data will be quickly abandoned. Optimize your website for speed and mobile data usage to ensure a smooth and enjoyable mobile experience.

A monitor showing grammatical errors


  • Grammatical errors and typos: Provide examples of common typos and grammatical errors that can hurt user experience and credibility. You could mention how typos in product descriptions can erode trust, while grammatical errors in blog posts can make the writer seem unprofessional.
  • Inaccurate information: Discuss the consequences of spreading misinformation on websites, including legal ramifications and reputational damage. You could showcase real-world examples of websites that faced backlash due to inaccurate information.
  • Plagiarism and lack of originality: Explain the importance of original content and the negative impact of plagiarism on SEO and brand perception. You could suggest alternative approaches to generating unique content, such as conducting interviews, incorporating research, or offering a fresh perspective on existing topics.
  • Unclear messaging: Explain how confusing or ambiguous language can lead to user frustration and missed conversions. You could provide examples of unclear CTAs, product descriptions, or website instructions that leave users bewildered. Discuss strategies for using clear and concise language that effectively communicates intended messages.
  • Excessive jargon and technical language: Discuss the importance of tailoring content to the target audience’s level of understanding. You could provide examples of websites that use overly technical language, alienating potential customers who lack the specialized knowledge. Offer tips for simplifying complex concepts and communicating them effectively without compromising accuracy.
  • Long, dense blocks of text: Explain how visual fatigue can affect users and suggest strategies for breaking up large text blocks with visuals, such as infographics, images, and videos. You could showcase websites that excel at using visuals to enhance content readability and engagement.
  • Lack of storytelling or compelling narratives: Discuss the power of storytelling in engaging users and making content memorable. You could provide examples of websites that utilize storytelling techniques to connect with their audience on an emotional level and explain how such strategies can boost user engagement.
  • Repetitive or dull content: Explain how repetitive content can bore users and lead them to abandon the website. You could provide examples of websites that lack fresh perspectives and offer tips for injecting creativity and originality into content creation.
  • No clear purpose or objective: Discuss the importance of having a clear objective for each piece of content, whether it be informing, educating, entertaining, or persuading. You could explain how content without a purpose can leave users confused and unsure of what to do next.
  • Missing calls to action: Explain how clear and compelling calls to action are crucial for guiding user behavior and encouraging desired outcomes. You could provide examples of effective CTAs and discuss strategies for placing them strategically within the content.
  • Lack of keyword optimization and meta descriptions: Explain how neglecting keyword research and writing compelling meta descriptions can hinder a website’s search engine ranking and organic traffic. You could offer resources on keyword research tools and best practices for crafting effective meta descriptions.
  • Poor internal linking structure and navigation pathways: Discuss how a disorganized internal linking structure can make it difficult for users and search engines to navigate the website. You could showcase examples of websites with clear and logical internal linking structures that enhance user experience and search engine visibility.
  • Slow loading times and mobile unfriendliness: Explain how slow loading times and a lack of mobile optimization can negatively impact SEO and user experience. You could discuss website optimization techniques, such as image compression and CDN implementation, that can improve website speed and mobile responsiveness.
  • Content that is not search engine optimized: Discuss the importance of optimizing content for relevant keywords throughout the writing process, from heading tags to image alt text. You could offer tips for incorporating keywords naturally without compromising readability or sounding forced.
  • Select websites across different industries that exemplify common content flaws (e.g., unclear messaging, lack of storytelling, poor SEO). Identify and analyze the specific content issues hindering their effectiveness.
  • Offer specific suggestions for improvement for each case study, considering aspects like content clarity, audience engagement, and SEO optimization. You could demonstrate how implementing these suggestions can potentially enhance user experience and website performance.

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