Top 5 mistakes of new web designers

If you’ve dealt with as many designers as I have, you can easily tell when this is their first foray into the wild world wide web. Most of the time it’s a graphic designer who has done plenty of print work and now figures they can hack it in the web world.

The problems usually stem from the fact that the designer:

  1. Has always dealt with constrained proportions. Whenever they’ve done a design in the past, it has to fit on an 8.5×11 piece of paper or something similar.
  2. Has never thought through a user interface. Your run of the mill pamphlet or bulletin isn’t usually clickable. Not to mention people “read” websites and paper completely different.
  3. Has never considered load time. Oh the horrid amount of graphics I get in these designs. Impossible to cut up into a quick loading site.

And due to these facts, here are the top five mistakes new web designers make:

  1. Don’t think about left and right – The mockup will cut off right at the edges of the website. If he is designing a site to be 800 pixels wide, that’s how wide the mockup will be. Thought is never given to how the website will display on a wider monitor. Will it be left justified or centered? Will the top bars continue out or be constrained? None of this is answered.
  2. Have text printed on diagonal angles – Large portions of text will be put at slight angles. Sure, (you think) this looks good, but it’s not the way to go on the web.
  3. Designs are extremely to heavy – Huge background images that have no repetition to them. Every title on every page in a weird (and/or diagonal) font. Every container on the page has a different (also non-repeatable) background.
  4. Uses a non-standard font for everything – Web typography is a completely foreign concept.
  5. 300 dpi – The initial file size alone is often enough to tell me what’s going on. A print designer always uses 300 dpi. A web designer always uses 72 dpi.