25 Reasons Why Your Website Design Falls Flat

Designing a website’s become a tough ask these days. Gone are the days when just about any kind of design worked; all it needed to be was to look different. But, today, website visitors have become more discerning about what they like and what they don’t like. This has made the job of designers more difficult and has also increased incidences of plenty of websites failing to attract the attention of their target audience.

If you are a designer, it’s important to understand why all the hard work you put into your website design hasn’t worked for you.

Here is a list of 25 reasons why your website’s design failed to garner audience attention:

1. You haven’t understood the project brief

When you have a half-baked idea of what your client wants and what he doesn’t, you fail to do justice to your website design. Such websites fail to meet client expectations and do not meet the desired objectives. So, ensure you and your clients are on the same page in order to fructify their precise requirements through the website’s design.

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2. You haven’t understood the user

There are three major stakeholders in the design process – You, your client, and the website’s target user. If you don’t put yourself into the users’ shoes and are unable to deliver on their expectations, your website will fail. Website design must be client oriented and user defined to succeed. If you haven’t conducted user research, there is no way it can succeed.

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3. Lack of requirements gathering and analysis

Another reason why your website design is failing to deliver is your inability to flesh out the client’s brief. Once, you are done listening to the design brief, you need to do your own bit of research and analysis into the project. This includes understanding the client’s business, his target market, competitors, competitor websites and everything else that will help you design a website that works. If you don’t, your website won’t work. It’s as simple as that.

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4. Conceptualization Error

“Well Begun, is half done”, but if you don’t begin well, you will regret it later; if your website’s conceptualization is not up to the mark, it will fail to impress its users. So spend time ideating and brainstorming ideas. Make sure the concept is unique and is a perfect fit for the client’s business domain and will help him achieve his desired goals. If you are lax about the concept, the design’s doomed to fail.

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5. Adopting the Start-Stop Approach

Imagine a scenario wherein you start designing a website on the 1st, continue designing it for 3 consecutive days and on the 4th day, take up another project. After a gap of week, you take up where you left off. This start-stop, on and off approach does nothing for designing a successful site. What you must do is adopt a start-to finish approach so that your line of thinking is uninterrupted through the duration of the design process. This ensures your chain of thoughts vis-à-vis that project and your planning isn’t disrupted in any way or form.

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6. Freezing a concept that is not in your comfort zone

Ideally, designers must always work towards getting out of their comfort zone. But, this shouldn’t be attempted on actual client projects. Being away from your comfort zone, will lead to designing errors. For e.g., if you have never attempted to create flat design, it’s not something you must try out on a client project. Try out new designing approaches on mock projects and only after getting a reasonable amount of expertise, adopt these approaches on client projects.

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7. Inability to Innovate and think out-of-the-box

If you are unable to innovate, you will come up with boring designs that your target audience must have come across before. This means your website won’t garner the attention it wants, it will fall flat. So, make an effort to always come up with something different all the time. Put your guard up against stagnancy.

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8. Lack of imagination

Designers wear two hats, creative and technical. The creative hat they wear demands imaginative thinking. Great designs are about giving wings to imagination, and if that doesn’t happen, your website will come a cropper. If you aren’t imaginative, you won’t be able come up with a unique concept; and if the concept isn’t unique, the website will fail to attract attention.

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9. The design isn’t trendy enough

As a designer, you must be well-versed with the latest trends. You must know what’s in and what’s out, what’s hot and what’s not. Otherwise, you will come up with designs that conform to trends that aren’t popular anymore, leading to website failure.

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10. Lack of user engagement

If your website doesn’t have engaging features, it’s going to lose visitor attention in quick time. It must be able to communicate effectively with its visitors through its content (text, images, and multimedia) to make a decisive impact. If a website doesn’t engage, it fails.

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11. It’s low on the usability scale

One huge reason why websites fail is they lack usability. The design interferes with website’s usage and negatively impacts its usability. For e.g., if you have used high resolution images and packed your website with multimedia, the loading speed of the site will increase, this affects its usability. In this particular case, you need to make sure that your design choices have no impact on the loading speed of your site.

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12. The website’s not intuitive

The intuitiveness of your website can be called the subset of its usability; intuitive design makes your website self-explanatory. When users land on your website, they immediately know what to do. Intuitive navigation and search are just two examples of design elements that make a website more intuitive. If your website has a steep learning curve, it’s going to fail and fail big time.

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13. Doesn’t adhere to the correct color psychology

The effect of colors on the psychology of website visitors is one of the most underrated aspects of designing a website. One of the reasons why, your website might be failing to impact visitors is the wrong choice of colors. For e.g. if your design wants to exude energy and it doesn’t have any ‘Red’ in it, there is a good chance you’ve got your color selection wrong.

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14. Poor image quality

We are living in a world powered by high resolution imagery. Be it hoarding advertisements, newspapers, or magazines etc. the quality of images used is absolutely amazing. So, if your website lacks high quality images, there is no way in the world that it will succeed. People expect high quality images on websites, if they don’t get them, they just move on to some other site.

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15. Irrelevant Images

High quality images, but irrelevant to the purpose the site also ruin a website. So, it’s important you pick images with care and which work towards conveying the message of a site even more forcefully. Images must be used as a means of generating impact and for creating the right impression. If they don’t, your website won’t succeed.

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16. Images lack emotive appeal

High quality relevant images, with not emotional value whatsoever, can also take a website down. Most website visitors want to take informed decisions regarding the purchase of a product or use of certain services mentioned on the site, but at the very basic level most decisions are emotional, prompted by what visitors see and read on sites. If your website doesn’t use such images, visitors won’t be able to connect emotionally with it. As can be imagined, this means your website will flat.

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17. Commonly used stock photographs

Not all clients have a budget in place for buying images and designers are forced to use free stock images. But, it’s important that you pick the right images; these are the kind of images that your target audience won’t come across on other sites that they are likely to browse. If you use commonly used images, the credibility of your site, comes down a few notches.

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18. Your website hasn’t been designed for visitor impatience

Website visitors are an impatient lot; they have very little time on their hands and have the option of visiting plenty of other websites, if your website doesn’t impress them too much. This essentially means you have just a few seconds to impress them when they land up on your site. If your website doesn’t make its purpose clear immediately, the website will fail miserably.

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19. Boring content

Here, boring content refers to the extremely unoriginal textual content that you have up on your site. It’s not just unoriginal but also unimaginative and really very badly written. In your efforts to make your site look visually appealing, you forgot that what visitors are looking for on a website, is useful information that is presented in an easy to access and easy to understand form. So make sure the content is something that delivers value to you website visitors.

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20. Lots of Ads

There is absolutely no harm in monetizing your website or blog. But if you have Ads all over the web page, it’s going to interfere with the UX of the page, which in turn will increase your website’s bounce rate. So make sure that the amount of banner ads as well as your text ads doesn’t interfere with whatever your website wants to convey to its visitors.

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21. Use of Incorrect Font Style and Size

There are plenty of websites that use highly imaginative and very unique typography; now although these sites look visually appealing the font style makes the content difficult to read. This is simply not on, and is yet another reason why websites fail. Another aspect to the use of improper fonts is the size of the font. Sometimes, the font size is so small, that you can only read the content if you look at it really very closely. As can be imagined, this isn’t something that your website visitors will like doing.

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22. Your design isn’t responsive

There might be nothing wrong with your website’s design per say, but it might not be working because it’s not responsive. With more and more people accessing the internet through their mobile devices, your website must render effectively on these devices. If it doesn’t, you stand to lose a sizable chunk of your target audience.

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23. No ‘Contact Us’ page or lack of a detailed ‘Contact Us’ page

Does your website have a ‘Contact Us’ page? If it’s missing on your website, there is every chance that’s the reason for your website’s failure. If your website does have this page, check whether it offers detailed contact information? A detailed ‘Contact Us’ page improves website credibility and assures website visitors that the website and the business or person it represents, can be trusted.

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24. Popups pop up at the drop of a hat

A popup or two at the right time can help amplify a website’s message or deliver some extra information that a website visitor might be looking for. But a popup that pops up every other second is just not on. It irritates the hell out of website visitors and makes them wish they were on some other site. Yes, this is another cause for a website falling flat.

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25. Your website’s competitors are just way better

At times, there is just really nothing wrong with your website, but the fact that its competitor websites are designed much better means it cannot grab eyeballs. In this case, you have to make more efforts to get your website delivering results.

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These are 25 reasons, why your website might not be performing as well as it should, but there are plenty more. Keep tabs on all of them to come up with a site that becomes a hot favorite of its target audience. In the cut throat world of website design, you can’t afford to take any chances.

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Written by

Allison Reed

Allison is a professional SEO specialist and an inspired author. Marketing manager by day and a writer by night, she is creating many articles on business, marketing, design, and web development. Follow her on LinkedIn and Facebook.


  • Reyson
    October 28, 2013

    It is very important to understand the actual user’s need and what they expect from your website. If you are fail to provide it then your website will not get traffic or success.

  • Troy Wilson
    October 31, 2013

    Post is nicely written and it contains many good things. I am glad to find your impressive way of presenting the post. Now it become easy for me to understand and implement the concept.

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