We often focus on this blog about what you should do – the best ways to achieve success in web design. But sometimes our mistakes are our best teachers. It can be as easy to navigate the thickets of web development by knowing what to avoid as by understanding the golden threads to follow.

To that end, and following a few recent posts on the topic of user interface design, here’s the flip-side of our how-to series: the how – and what – not-tos. Avoid these five common mistakes in UI design and you’ll be just as surely on the road to success as if you have followed a list of positive rules.

Avoid Inconsistent designs.

Consistency in design is about ensuring that all similar actions and elements within your website look and act the same. Do all the action buttons resemble each other? Do all your links? Visually cueing the user into the function of an element in this way makes a site a lot easier to use. One of the easiest ways to remain consistent in your design is with some planning ahead of time – don’t neglect that stage.

Avoid Poor Choice of Colours.

Colours portray meaning, so consider your brand and audience before commitment to any colourways and every hue. You also have to keep visitors with colour-blindness in mind. Consider carefully the function of colour in your design: what impressions are you trying to evoke, and what might each colour represent within your design? Always deploy colour strategically, and never randomly.

Avoid Text-heavy Content.

It may sound like a paradoxi, but too much text can hide a website’s message from visitors. Copy, of course, is important – and well-written, concise and impactful text is crucial to any website. But use more visuals and less text: a picture is always worth a thousand words when it comes to digital design. In this context, don’t write for the sake of it – make every sentence count.

Avoid Neglecting Other Devices.

People are accessing the internet in ways more diverse than ever before. To capture more users, then, you’ll need to ensure that ones with different devices can access your website equally well. Mobile browsers have overtaken desktop browsers and it’s important to keep that in mind. Think about how your site will cope with these disparate demands – and make it responsive.

Don’t Ask Users To Click Too Many Times.

The more clicks that a user has to go through before making it to the final “purchase” or “sign up” button, the more sales that are going to be lost. Ensure to check the length of your forms and how many steps you put between their beginning and their end. Use simple structures and clear progress markers to keep your users engaged – and never, ever insert a click unless it’s absolutely necessary!

So that’s User Interface Design 101 – the negative edition. Steer clear of these five mistakes in UI design and you’ll be on your way to building a fantastic user experience.  Sometimes, avoiding the pitfalls is as important as taking the right steps.

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