Now that Halloween is fast approaching, people are preparing for the celebration of the dead – or however, your culture thinks of Halloween.
To some, that means visiting their dead loved ones’ grave; to others, especially the kids, it’s trick-or-treat time!; and to the spook hunters, it’s time to scare themselves all the more (maybe, by conducting a “paranormal investigation” with a friend or two inside a haunted house at night? For more fun, record what you got and upload them on YouTube!)
There’s something that probably won’t cross your mind when you think about Halloween – UI design. Unless you’re working for a ghost, zombie or scare-related website, how does UI relate to Halloween? Maybe none, but it’s good to talk about the effects of having a sloppy design and how it “scares” your visitors off!
Yes, they probably won’t be as scared as seeing The Ring’s Samara or Friday the 13th’s Jason Voorhees, but sloppy design certainly pushes visitors away from your website – and you don’t want that!
So, we’ve compiled a list of common design mistakes and how you can fix or improve them.
1) Overall ugly design
This is probably the worst – you simply have a messed up design from the very beginning! This is a combination of what we have in this list: poor color choice, bad typography, annoying pop-ups, etc.
An ugly overall design will simply make your visitors cross that “X” button on your site’s tab. There’s an exception, though: some websites, especially blogs, may have an ugly design but have great content that compensates for the ugly design. Nevertheless, that’s an exception, not the rule.
Besides, you’re a designer – it’s our job to create beautiful design, first and foremost.
2) Poor color choice
Recently, we just covered our first topic on color psychology. For a primer, you should learn that each color are associated with a certain meaning (for example, red is associated with energy; blue is associated with calmness).
A color is also selected based on a given culture. For example, if you’re designing a zombie blog, the typical color combinations are:
- Black – darkness, and terror
- Red – blood
- Green – rotten flesh
Exceptions aside, you probably won’t use blue or pink for this blog.
Also, your color choice (and use) should be aesthetic. For example, if you want to use red as your website’s main color, by all means, do so – but don’t put red almost everywhere!
3) Bad typography
It’s okay to experiment on fonts, but at the end of the day, choose a font that doesn’t hurt the eyes. It’s not that the font is the problem, but how it blends with the overall design. In other words, Comic Sans isn’t bad, but it’s certainly bad if you apply it to a luxury store website.
4) Here Comes the Boogeyman (Annoying Pop-Ups!)
Alright, let’s talk about pop-ups a little bit. There’s two reasons why pop-ups are annoying:
- They typically show up instantly and cover your entire screen. Surprise!
- The “X” button can’t be easily found
The first one can be forgiven – if you do this on a minimal level, and if the design isn’t bad, then why not? The second one is the bigger problem:
If you cannot even find that “X” button, that really is a pain for your visitor. Or, if you clicked “I don’t want that” and still lead you to some form. Bad marketing tactic!
Pop-ups are great, but it must be used wisely. Its design should also blend in with the overall design (and I hope we don’t return to #1).
5) Images not loading
Have you experienced waiting for an image inside a blog but it didn’t load? All you saw was a little image icon with cryptic sentences only designers and developers can understand.
When you put in an image, mostly your visitors would want to see – either out of curiosity or the image actually contains crucial information (imagine if it’s an infographic!)
Be sure your images are optimized for your websites and fix any problems regarding your image not loading.
Failed image loadings simply disappoint your visitors, so better take care of it – no matter how small it seemed!
6) Automatic sounds
Alright, this is probably not part of your work as a UI designer. But if your site’s video automatically plays (with sound), it’s simply annoying – and even scary (imagine, hearing someone talk out of nowhere!)
It’s better if the sound is turned off by default (even if the video automatically plays). That way, it won’t surprise your visitors, and no automatic sound would ruin the beautiful website design you’ve just made.
Design flaws will surely push your visitors away from your site. While our design can’t be perfect, it’s important to thoroughly work on our design to create beautiful results. And should a mishap occur, we can simply fix them!
Happy Halloween, everyone!