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The Most Common Web Design Mistakes That You Should Avoid In 2020

Did you know that 90% of users will leave a website if it is poorly designed? That’s why we have some common web design mistakes to avoid. At Matchbox Design Group, our website designers are always thinking ahead when it comes to design.

Businesses are aware of the benefits the compelling website design carries. They know that it is a key part of their marketing strategy since it entices visitors and increases brand credibility.

However, this isn’t always the case.

Some of them make different web design mistakes that result in higher bounce rates, lower search engine rankings, and decreased conversions.

In this post you will:

  • Find out why website design matters.
  • Learn how to make a difference between well and poorly designed websites.
  • Get familiar with the top 10 mistakes in web design that you should avoid this year.

First Things First: Why Web Design Matters

According to Forbes, users will form an opinion about your website in only 7 seconds.

And first impressions count the most because you may not have a second chance to entice your visitors to stick longer and take the desired action.

Once your leads land on some of your pages and find them visually unappealing, they won’t even bother to read your content or make a purchase.

A poorly designed website will push your visitors away. And once they leave, it is very likely that they will visit one of your competitors’ sites.

Moreover, bad design not only affects your brand image and credibility, but it also has a huge impact on your search engine rankings.

Research shows that 40% of visitors will leave a site if it takes longer than three seconds to load.

And the bounce rate is one of Google’s ranking factors.

The web search engine values user experience the most. Thus, a higher percentage of bounce rates will mean that you are not providing your visitors with any value.

This will ultimately result in lower rankings, less traffic, and fewer conversions.

How To Differentiate Between Good And Bad Web Design

Besides promoting products and services, one of the primary goals of every website is to provide information and educate visitors.

However, not all of them can do it efficiently. And web design can have a huge impact on how brands deliver their message.

The difference between bad and good design is based on three important principles:


This includes all the visual elements that the users see on your website. To be able to judge whether your pages are designed well or not, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are the images suitable in the context? Are they of high quality?
  • Are there too many colors and types of fonts?
  • Is there too much animation?
  • Is the design consistent across all pages?

Undoubtedly, a compelling design is the one that makes the users engage with your website. It is the one that is eye-catching and makes them want to return.


Usability refers to how easily and quickly users can access and navigate between your web pages.

Thus, to see how well they will be satisfied once they arrive on some of your pages, pay attention to the following factors:

  • Is the navigation bar placed in the appropriate place?
  • Does it have too many options?
  • Is it confusing?
  • Do I have a solid amount of CTAs?
  • Are they well structured?
  • Are they located in the right places?
  • Is my website mobile friendly?
  • Do my pages load fast?

Great website design is the one that allows visitors to load your website on different devices and successfully find what they are looking for.


Experience is all about how people feel about using your website. In terms of this, think about the following:

  • Is my website well secured?
  • Are there enough headings?
  • Are there long paragraphs of text?
  • Do my pages contain too much info?
  • Are they cluttered?
  • Is my contact info easy to find?
  • Is the contact form complex to fill out?
  • Is the register form complicated?

To provide your visitors with a satisfactory experience you should make them feel safe about being on your site.

You should also ensure they don’t get frustrated by being bombarded with too much info or being distracted by the overuse of elements.

Top 10 Most Common Web Design Mistakes Of 2020

Sometimes it may be difficult to build a website that is both fully functional and visually appealing. However, the combination of these two plays an important role in the overall experience of the users.

To help you analyze your website and turn it into a professional and reliable place where users can turn to whenever they need your products or services, we are giving you the top 10 mistakes in web design that you should avoid this year:

1. Complicated Navigation

Navigation is one of the most important parts of every website. It guides visitors to different pages while allowing them to find what they are looking for.

No matter whether they search for contact details, product info, or want to make a purchase, a badly designed navigation can turn your prospects and clients away.

It’s one of the most common web design mistakes to create navigation bars that are complicated and that confuse the users.

For instance, LingsCARS is a car and vehicle leasing company whose navigation has too many options and frustrates the visitors. They are not sure which button to click which leads to poor user experience and may stop the decision-making process.

Complicated Navigation

Other common mistakes include:

  • Using generic labels: We can see many websites copying each other’s navigation bars. However, labels like ” Who We Are” or “What We Do” are too general and mean nothing to visitors. Instead of using such broad terms, make sure you place specific navigation that describes your own unique products or services.
  • Incorporating drop-down menus: Drop-down navigation bars are a bad choice for two reasons. On the one hand, they are annoying. Users don’t want to scroll to the bottom of your homepage to be able to navigate through your site. On the other hand, it may be difficult for search engines like Google and Yahoo to crawl them.
  • Placing navigation bars in a strange position: Putting your drop-down menu in an awkward position is not something that you will want to do because your users may not be able to find it. This can lead to higher bounce rates and fewer conversions.

2. Slow Loading Time

One of the biggest mistakes that designers make is that they don’t pay attention to their website’s speed and loading times.

However, modern users are impatient.

Today people want digital experiences. They want to make easy online purchases, receive quick search results, and above all, they expect to engage with fast loading websites.

And if you don’t provide them with a good user experience within the first few seconds they visit your web or mobile site, you can lose many prospective buyers.

According to research conducted by Think With Google on mobile website speed:

  • As pages go from one to ten seconds to load, the likelihood of bounce rate increases by up to 123%.
  • As the number of website elements goes from 400 to 6,000, businesses can see a drop in conversions of up to 95%.

Slow Loading Time

To avoid this fatal mistake, you should understand what slows your pages down. The reasons can vary and may include:

  • Unoptimized and high volume images.
  • Too much flash content.
  • Unclean code.
  • Bad hosting.
  • And more.

Here are some of the best tools on the market that can help you analyze your website speed and prevent such issues:

3. Unfriendly Mobile Website

Another common web design mistake is creating websites that don’t work on mobile phones.

An interesting fact says that between February 2019 and March 2020 the internet market share was:

  • Mobile (52.03%).
  • Desktop (45.32%).
  • Tablet (2.65%).

Unfriendly Mobile Website

These numbers show that the number of mobile users has surpassed the number of desktop users. It means that more people now access the web from their smartphones than they do from their computers.

Another important reason to invest in a mobile-friendly design is that it is one of the ranking factors of Google. This is mainly so because the company wants to provide its users with a good experience.

And if you have a site that is not mobile-friendly then you may miss the opportunity to increase your traffic and boost your conversions.

4. No Or Little Usage Of Header Tags

You should avoid having no or not enough header tags on your website content at all costs.

On the one hand, they make your content more readable and organized which allows users to easily scan it and find important info.

On the other hand, they are one of the most important SEO factors and their purpose is to tell search engines what your website is about.

No Or Little Usage Of Header Tags

5. Badly Designed Call To Action

Call to actions (CTAs) are an integral part of every business’s selling strategy. They are statements that ask the readers to take a specific action.

Regardless of the goal which can be to subscribe, contact the website, or make a purchase…whether visitors will take the desired action or not depends on two factors.

The first one is the message they convey and the second one is the design of the click button.

We can see so many examples of poorly designed CTAs that are either not visible for the users or they are unattractive.

If we look at this call to action of Paleo Leap, we can notice that they don’t even have a clickable button but they’ve only linked their words “read more about our mission here”.

This is a bad example because visitors who scan content quickly to find important info may not notice this.

Badly Designed Call To Action

To avoid these common website design mistakes, make sure you incorporate clickable and eye-catching buttons that stand out and guide the users to their next step.

5. Social Icons On The Top Of The Homepage

Incorporating links of your social media profiles is a great way to encourage user engagement.

However, one common problem with their usage is the wrong placement.

Many web designers tend to put Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn icons on the top of the website.

This is a bad practice because they can be a distraction and drag away your visitors to your social media accounts. And once they leave they may not come back and take some of the desired actions.

This is why you should place them somewhere at the bottom.

Oreo’s website is one of those examples where we can see social icons being inserted on the top.

Social Icons On The Top Of The Homepage

6. Auto-Playing Videos

Incorporating a video to a landing page can boost your conversions by 80%.

Video content plays a key role in digital marketing and most of the SEOs use it to grow revenue faster.

However, not all videos contribute to a good experience, especially not those that play automatically.

When people visit your website they don’t want to hear the sound of an auto-playing video because it is annoying.

Instead, they prefer clean website experience since they’ve arrived on some of your pages with a specific purpose, which is not listening to music and being distracted.

Auto streaming videos disturb the users and make them bounce.

To avoid making such mistakes, do not force visitors to watch something they don’t want to and allow them to choose whether they want to play it or not.

Forbes used to have these auto-playing videos with sound. But now, they’ve changed their strategy and have automatically streaming video content that is muted.

However, you can choose to turn on the voice if you wish to.

Auto-Playing Videos

7. No Contact Info

Hard to find or lack of contact info is also on the list of web design mistakes to avoid this year.

Today 87% of consumers search for products online. And once they visit your website they might want to contact you for more info.

However, if you haven’t provided your phone number and email address or if you’ve made it difficult to notice you may lose the potential buyers.

Thus, make sure you create a Contact Us page as well as place a clear CTA that will allow visitors to get in touch with you easily and quickly.

For instance, to make our content details easily reachable, we’ve created the Contact page and put it in the navigation bar on the top of our website.

No Contact Info. Common Web Design Mistakes.

8. Complex Registration Form

Web design mistakes like complex registration forms can also stop users from taking the desired action.

When visitors are prompted to fulfill forms that require too much info or seem lengthy, you can expect most of them to hit the cancel button.

Thus instead of wasting too much of their time and designing complicated “Register Now” or “Contact Us” pages, you should only ask for the most important details that can help you do business successfully.

If possible, you can even allow for a quick registration using Gmail or social media.

9. Poor Usage Of Negative Space

A website that is cluttered and has so many elements including visuals, text, various fonts and animation distracts the visitors and drags their attention from important info.

This stops you from delivering your promotional messages successfully and discourages users to take the desired action including making a purchase.

An example of untidy design is Yale School Of Art’s website where we can see how the background elements and animation give a disturbing effect and don’t allow the visitors to focus on the written content.

Poor Usage Of Negative Space. Common Web Design Mistakes.

You can avoid making such web design mistakes by employing negative space or empty space between different elements.

White space is one of the biggest trends of 2020 because it contributes to better user experience. It reminds us that simple can be elegant and that with a clean design you can convey a clear message.

10. No Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS)

Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is a protocol whose function is to keep your website as well as the communication and the client data safe.

Not investing in it can have many disadvantages.

While only 58.8% of websites use it, studies show that hacker attacks happen every 39 seconds.

This is one of the most common web design mistakes to avoid because if your website gets hacked it may lead to:

  • Loss of important information and files.
  • Financial loss.
  • Damaged reputation.
  • Misuse of client data.

However, another downside of not using HTTPS protection is that without it you are missing the chance to increase your revenue.

Even if your prospects are at the bottom of the sales funnel and are ready to buy your products or services, they may not convert because they won’t share their personal info including bank card details to a non-secure site.

Final Thoughts

A fully functional and compelling web design is the key to lower bounce rates, improved search engine rankings, and higher conversions.

It contributes to a better first impression and improves your brand image and credibility while making you trustworthy as a business.

However, sometimes in a bid to create the perfect strategy to maximize your conversions, you may end up doing exactly the opposite.

To ensure you are on the right track, consider the most common website design mistakes to avoid this year and carefully fix them.