6 Web Design Myths to Dispel Right Now

Building an engaging and optimized website is the first step in attracting the right audience and encouraging them to check out your content, products, or services. But while there’s a lot of advice available on creating a great user experience (UX) on your site, there are quite a few web design myths out there as well.

In this article, we’ll discuss six common design myths that small-business owners should ignore — putting these to the wayside will help you prioritize the important factors of a great UX and reinforce positive perception of your brand.

Myth #1: Your homepage is the most important page

Back in the early days of the internet, your homepage was how people found you online and discovered other pages on your site. Today, we live in a world of social media, where our content (both posts and pages) gets shared on a regular basis.

This means that visitors can come to your website through a product page link, blog post link, or through your services page. Accordingly, you should design every page on your site with as much care as your homepage.

Myth #2: Usability is all that matters

Your website must be usable — otherwise, visitors will have a very hard time navigating and interacting with your site. However, usability alone is not enough. Visitors do judge your website based on its design and make the (often unconscious) decision on whether your website is credible or not.

Your website should be usable, to be sure. But it should also have an attractive and compelling design, using color, images, fonts, and other design elements in eye-catching ways that are both aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate.

Myth #3: There’s no need to optimize for both mobile and desktop

With the rise of responsive web design and increased usage in mobile devices, your website should be optimized for both the mobile and desktop browsing experience. Even if the majority of your visitors use desktop devices, your website should still be mobile-friendly and responsive, as this is one of the ranking factors search engines use to determine whether or not your website shows up as a relevant search result.

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Myth #4: Visitors won’t scroll

This is another myth that dates back to the early days of the web when users weren’t accustomed to scrolling. Back then, it was common practice to put as much information as possible “above the fold” to ensure visitors stick around. These days, however, scrolling comes naturally. As Huge Inc. points out, research has shown that visitors are likely to scroll to the bottom of the page every time.

Myth #5: Streamline your menus

There is a common misconception that you should have no more than seven links in your main navigation menu, often backed by research from George Miller that argues people can keep no more than seven items in their short-term memory. This myth has since been disproven — not to mention the fact that some websites, like Amazon, do need complex menus to be usable.

The takeaway: Build your menu with usability and user experience in mind, rather than simply trying to pare down the experience as much as possible.

Myth #6: Simplify for mobile users

According to Comscore, the average American adult spends two hours and 51 minutes on their smartphone every day. When you pair that with the fact that modern smartphones are comparable to desktop computers in terms of computing power and browsing experience, it’s easy to see that you don’t have to choose simple over a feature-rich, engaging website.

The Interaction Design Foundation suggests that dumbing down a website for mobile would be like removing chapter titles or the table of contents from a hardcover book for the paperback copy. The key is to deliver complex experiences in ways that don’t feel complicated to the user.

Dispelling web design myths once and for all

By staying on top of design trends, you’ll be able to keep your website modern and relevant. However, as you do your research, beware of web design myths that could negatively impact your visitors’ experience and lead to less engagement.

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Brenda Barron

Brenda Barron is a freelance writer, editor, and SEO specialist from southern California. She is a contributor to The Motley Fool and blogs regularly at The Digital Inkwell.

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