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Avoid Making Your Website Design an Annoying One

Aug 17, 2007
Have you ever thought about the fact that even though you think your website might be cute, entertaining, or funny, it may be extremely annoying to the people who are visiting it. When you are a webmaster or web designer, it is very important that you familiarize yourself with the things that visitors find irritating, unless it is your goal to have them leave, and then never visit your site again.

It is strange how easy it is to develop an annoying website. This could be because when you are designing a website, you are concentrating so intently on the smaller details that you forget to step back and look at the big picture. What may have started as a flash heading with a few moving parts can soon become a site filled with flashing graphics, sounds, bright colors, and other elements that are enough to be overwhelming and simply, annoying!

The important thing is to remember that there is a major difference between catching someone's attention and blinding them. You must keep in mind that your website design is supposed to send your visitor a message about you and your topic, and not about how adept your programmer is at developing animated graphics.

It is actually much easier to be annoying than it is not to, so it is best to test your own site to make sure that you are not in that dreaded annoying category. The following are the top five ways to know that your site is annoying. While these are not the only ways, they are the major ones that will usually send a visitor away, and cause them never to return, no matter how great your content, or what a great deal you have to offer.

Background music, unless you have an online radio site, or you're selling music CD's or files, having sound in your background can be very irritating. For one thing, you don't know on what volume level the user's speakers may be. For another thing, your user may not be visiting the site in the comfort of his or her own home; what if this person is at work? And lastly it's annoying!

- Enormous font sizes, if your target market is people with vision disabilities, then by all means, use a large font size, as it will serve your purpose well. However, if you are simply building a standard website, a font size that is far to large simply looks as though you are shouting. No visitor wants to be shouted at.

- Tiny font size, if your font size is too small, it is as though you're sitting in the crowd at a hockey game, whispering to the person next to you. Your message simply cannot be heard.

- Overlapping layers, when designing your website, layers can be quite useful. However, when you are slamming advertising or unsolicited messages in your user's face, blocking what they really want to read, it is very irritating. Don't try to force anything in front of your visitor. Persuasion works much more pleasantly.

- Pop-ups, Many browsers and add-on tools now block pop-ups, but still some web designers insist on using them. This is annoying not only when we don't have anti-pop-up tools, because new browsers keep opening, but also when we do have the tools because we miss messages. When you have a message, keep it all in the same browser window.

Though everybody does have their own list of things that they just can't stand from websites they visit on the internet, this covers the most annoying ones that are agreed upon by the largest number of people. However, don't limit your annoying-proofing efforts to only these five things. Have a look at your website from a very picky perspective, and take away everything else that is even slightly irritating. After all, if your visitor is put off by your website in any way, the odds are that he or she will leave without a second thought.

It is not a matter of good taste and bad taste. In reality, it is simply about being polite to your visitors, and making sure that they are as comfortable as possible while they are navigating your site.
About the Author
Mark Nenadic
Mark is the director and face behind FifteenDegrees-North, where you will find articles and resources to help with SEO,
marketing and Web design.
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