5 Common UX Mistakes in Web Design

In this article, we'll explore the top 5 common UX mistakes in web design, bad examples, and recommendations to avoid them

By Claudio Pires
Updated on November 27, 2023
5 Common UX Mistakes in Web Design

We experience it daily—the awkward street sign, packaging lid that just won’t open, the door you don’t know whether to pull or push, etc. On the web, it’s a page with no scroll buttons, social media icons covering content, illegible fonts, or buttons alien to users. If you’re a regular internet user, you’ve probably encountered a lousy user experience—maybe even flagged some websites. In this article, we’ll explore the top 5 common UX mistakes in web design, bad examples, and recommendations to avoid them.

A great website should provide an engaging user experience and help visitors accomplish tasks quickly. Unfortunately, web designers often focus on aesthetics and, in most cases, rely on trends at the expense of user experience. The result?

Serious UX mistakes make it hard for users to understand the UI and navigate the website—which often leads to high bounce rates. Reduce bounce rates and increase your site’s conversions by avoiding these common UX mistakes.

Common UX Mistakes in Web Design

1. Prioritizing Aesthetics Over Functionality

A user-friendly website should strike a perfect balance between creativity and functionality. On the aesthetics front, it’s essential to personalize your website with creative graphics, aesthetic photos, and interactive design elements. However, this should not be up at the expense of the user experience. Sure, users want creativity. But they also want to navigate your site with ease. And to many people, the latter is the better option.

In terms of functionality, your website’s navigation should be crystal clear and meet your visitors’ expectations. Likewise, ensure not to overdo functionality to the point of compromising creativity. As a result, it can be a big UX mistake.

Hiring a design professional or working with a user experience design agency is best to optimize your site’s functionality while keeping aesthetics in check. The folks at UX Planet have compiled a list of reputable experience design agencies offering impeccable UI/UX design services that you can check out.

2. Forgetting Mobile Visitors UX Mistakes

For the first time in 2016, Google announced that more people accessed the internet from mobile devices than desktops. So even if you typically access the internet via laptop, chances are many of your customers are accessing your site via mobile.

To that end, it’s good to have a responsive website. Responsive web design automatically adjusts and adapts to any device screen size, whether a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop. If your site is not responsive, you’re losing a ton of traffic that comes from mobile due to poor user experience with web design UX mistakes.

3. Common UX Mistake: Hard to Read Fonts

Thin, light fonts are pervasive on numerous websites and mobile apps. Many users use them because they’re clean, elegant, and trendy. However, thin typefaces are hard to read and cause usability problems, thereby hampering UX.

Users with difficulty reading content on your website will switch to a more legible competitor. Always make sure your fonts are legible. Also, check online for other rules regarding line spacing, font size, and sentence length. Here are some golden rules for line spacing:

  • Firstly, the optimal font size should be a minimum of 16
  • Secondly, small fonts need more spacing
  • Limit line length to 70 to 80 characters
  • Finally, aim for about 140% to 180% for optimal readability

Text readability should always take precedence to avoid UX mistakes. If users can read texts in your app or website, it doesn’t matter how beautiful the typography is.

4. Not Using Universal Icons UX Mistakes

Sometimes, designers want to get creative and use a new icon because it looks fancy. The new icon may be transparent to the designer but utterly alien to the users. Over time, our eyes have been trained to look for specific cues when navigating online—a magnifying glass for the search tool, a phone icon for the contact number, etc.

Throw an ambiguous icon or button, like a butterfly icon, and users will get confused. That being said, an ugly icon everyone knows is better than a beautifully designed icon no one knows.

5. Common UX Mistake: Designing for you and not for your audience

“One must identify and be aware of what their audience will like to deliver a winning design that will fit the bill. Often, web designers or clients will push for a design direction strictly based on their preferences, resulting in a design that the actual users will not find usable/attractive.” – Happy Design.

Extra Mistakes and UX Errors Checklist

  1. Overloading with Information: Bombarding users with too much information leads to confusion and disengagement. Strive for a balance between content and white space to enhance readability and user experience.
  2. Complicated Navigation: Users expect intuitive and straightforward navigation. Overly complex or unconventional navigation structures can frustrate users and increase bounce rates.
  3. Neglecting Load Times: Websites with slow loading times test users’ patience and often result in them leaving the site. Optimize images and streamline code to ensure quick load times.
  4. Inconsistent Design Elements: Lack of consistency in design elements like colors, fonts, and layouts can create a disjointed user experience. Maintain a uniform design language across your website.
  5. Ignoring Accessibility: Failing to design for accessibility limits your website’s reach and can exclude users with disabilities. Incorporate accessible design practices to cater to a broader audience.
  6. Overuse of Pop-Ups and Modals: While sometimes useful, excessive pop-ups can annoy users and detract from the user experience. Use them sparingly and ensure they are easy to dismiss.
  7. Confusing Call-to-Actions (CTAs): Unclear or ambiguous CTAs can lead to user indecision. Use clear, action-oriented language for your CTAs to guide users effectively.
  8. Skimping on Feedback for User Actions: Not providing feedback, like confirmation messages after form submissions, can leave users wondering if their actions were successful. Always provide clear and immediate feedback.
  9. Underestimating the Importance of Testing: Not thoroughly testing your website across different browsers and devices can lead to unexpected UX issues. Regularly test to ensure compatibility and a seamless user experience.

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Claudio Pires

Claudio Pires is the co-founder of Visualmodo, a renowned company in web development and design. With over 15 years of experience, Claudio has honed his skills in content creation, web development support, and senior web designer. A trilingual expert fluent in English, Portuguese, and Spanish, he brings a global perspective to his work. Beyond his professional endeavors, Claudio is an active YouTuber, sharing his insights and expertise with a broader audience. Based in Brazil, Claudio continues to push the boundaries of web design and digital content, making him a pivotal figure in the industry.