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Professional Website Design Tips: Seven Design Features to Avoid

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Professional Website Design Tips: Seven Design Features to Avoid

We spend a lot of time offering our readers and our clients advice on design features that would benefit the layouts of their eCommerce websites. It’s useful information and our insight has propelled many of our clients to great success – just see our eCommerce case studies for proof.

But sometimes success comes just as much from knowing what not to do as it comes from knowing what to do. We have quite a few years of experience in digital marketing, design, and web development. We know what drives consumer behavior and what makes a quality, user-experience optimized eCommerce website.

We know what to do, and we know what not to do. Check out some of these design features to avoid on your eCommerce website.

1. Pop-ups

While pop-ups generally make for a poor user experience, there is a caveat here. Pop-ups are bad news for an eCommerce experience unless they provide a succinct and valuable proposition.

For example, if your pop-up advertises an exciting promotion or a discount (no tricks, genuine offers) then it’s alright.

Otherwise, avoid them.

A flurry of pop ups usually results in diminished UX.

One more thing to remember is that if you must use pop-ups, make sure the user can easily exit out of them and doesn’t have to do any digging for an escape. That is frustrating and can turn an otherwise interested visitor into a bounce statistic.

2. Music or videos that auto-play

Sometimes users come to your website to consume content, and offering valuable content can be a huge conversion booster. At the very least, it is a great way to engage your customers and keep them coming back for more. That is, if they visit your site with the intent of consuming content. If you force it on them, it’s off-putting.

Offer videos and other media, and feature them prominently on your homepage (or other pages, where applicable) but shy from the practice of having them play automatically. This can force visitors off the page.

3. A dated mobile design

Mobile design is one of the most important development items that an eCommerce website can undertake. An overwhelming amount of transactions are conducted every day over mobile devices and that number is continuously rising.

Symptoms of dated mobile design include text that is too small or too large along with pictures that do not scale accordingly. Also, mobile-optimized designs should be scroll friendly – there should be no left-to-right navigation on most screens. Naturally, a high bounce rate from mobile devices is another key symptom.

Without a good mobile design, your UX will suffer. Responsive design and development can help with that, and it’s never too late to invest in it. Every day you waste can cost you.

4. Long lead capturing forms

Don’t get us wrong. Lead capturing forms can actually be a good thing, especially when expertly implemented as part of a lead-generation strategy. The thing is, a poorly designed lead capturing form should actually be called a bounce-machine – because it is.

Remember, unless you are offering a real incentive, your customers are basically filling out these forms out of the goodness of their hearts. If you make it a pain for them, they’re going to close out of there in a hurry.

On that note, it’s a good idea to offer an incentive, such as a discount or some kind of reward program, but even if you do, long lead capturing forms are still a no-go. Make sure they’re as concise as possible, don’t be intrusive, and ask for as little information as possible. If you can get away with asking for nothing more than an email, do that.

5. A homepage that is too ‘long’

Providing branded value and relevant company information on your homepage is a must, as confusing homepages are also a bounce-machine. Scroll friendliness is also a good trend in design, especially mobile design.

However, scroll-optimized or not, a homepage that is too “long” and continues going too far down the page is not a good feature from a UX perspective. If you need to offer that much information, testimonials, or category information, do it somewhere else on your website.

And, while you’re at it, make sure all of those pages with important information are logically and categorically organized, as well as easy to access.

6. Small, unoriginal, or boring product imagery

Another conversion killer that is also generally bad for user experience, even off of eCommerce websites, is uninteresting imagery. Just what makes up uninteresting imagery is up for debate, but there are a few common features. It’s definitely uninteresting if:

  • It’s not original and you got the image from a manufacturer or from a collection of stock photography
  • It’s too small, poorly lit, or dark (which seems untrustworthy)
  • It’s too small, poorly lit, or dark (which seems untrustworthy)
    It doesn’t capture attention well

These are some of the big indicators that your product imagery not only fails to capture attention but also fails to deliver value to potentially interested customers. There is a subjective element involved in the matter, though, so getting a more objectified look at the imagery and the brand-integration of your website might help. For example, you can work with one of our professional web designers through an eCommerce brand appraisal to give you a better understanding of what this all means.

7. Too much information, too little space

Content is king, and there’s no disputing that, but there is such a thing as too much content, in one place, all at once. If you have too much writing in one space (unless it’s designated for that, like a blog post) is generally not good for user experience.

Just like how a cluttered office space is off-putting and reduce productivity, an over-cluttered homepage can turn users away.

It’s overwhelming, it dilutes the value of the most important information you are trying to deliver, and it hurts the shopping experience. What you want to do is deliver the right information to your clients, in the right place, where they are looking for it; not all upfront, and not all at once.

Providing the right content on your website can be excellent for the user experience when it is done right.


We hope these tips are helpful and you can implement them easily enough on your eCommerce site, but we also recognize that there is an undeniably subjective element to all of these considerations. Whether you’re looking for an improved eCommerce website design or eCommerce website development to help you get there, our experts can help.

That’s where the value of consulting a team of creative players comes into the mix. Our professional website designers, developers, and content creators provide a unique mix of experiences into their work. From the content we create as a part of an SEO campaign to the attention and care we give to each unique stylistic aspect of your website’s layout and interface, the details matter.

All of them affect UX, in their own way, and it takes experience to recognize it. We’ve worked with BigCommerce, Shopify, Magento, and a host of other eCommerce platforms, creating success for our clients, whether they needed a website replatforming, a website redesign, or digital marketing services.

The best way to see if your website can use some work to improve its user experience is to consult the experts, and our doors are always open. Take a look through our services and get in touch with us at 888-982-8269 to get started creating the best eCommerce experience your business has ever offered.

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