We’re not sure quite when the word “fail” became a noun as well as a verb, but that particular usage is now endemic. A “fail” – as distinct from “to fail” – is any effort that ends in often comic, or sometimes tragic-comic failure. Please also see: “epic fail”.

You actually did that? FAIL.

(There’s an adjectival usage, too (“faily”), but at this stage, we might be getting overly nerdy.)

The truth is that the world of web design is full of fails. “Oh, look at that menu system – what a fail.” “Have you seen his hero image? EPIC FAIL.” And so on. Web designers can be harsh critics.

But, so can users. Increasingly, the average internet user is a sophisticated consumer of web technologies. They have expectations which ten years ago would have seemed improbable – but which now are simply everyday and par for the course.

This means that avoiding the dreaded fail is more important than it has ever been. Identify the pitfalls and avoid them – your users will thank you.

FAIL #1: Not Optimised for Mobile. A study from Statista shows that more than half of all the global website traffic comes from mobile devices. If your site doesn’t display well on those smaller screens, you’re alienating untold numbers of potential customers.

FAIL #2: Slow Loading Speeds. Site speed is integral to the overall user experience. It’s better not to have a website than having a lethargic one that convinces users to never come back. Prioritise quick loading speeds: your users will thank you.

FAIL #3: Error Pages. A 404 page is the most common of the webpage errors, and simply tells a user that the content they wanted cannot be found. In other words, there’s a problem with your site. It isn’t a pleasant thing for the user or the business. Get your links right, and you’ll increase conversions.

FAIL #4: Inconsistent Design. The right design displays a synergy throughout the pages of a site. It speaks in one voice, ensuring visual comfort and wider resonance for its users. A bad layout, on the other hand, is a definite deal-breaker for your site and your brand. Don’t scrimp on good design.

These are simple rules of thumb that will help you avoid failure. Or, to put it another way, if you follow this advice you won’t be so … faily.

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