Good web design is about balancing the need for an aesthetically pleasing website with ease of use and navigability. Striking the balance between these two needs can sometimes be extremely difficult, especially when a particular look or style is desired, and remembering common web design flaws can be a good way to avoid making mistakes which will drive away potential browsers. The most fundamental rule of web design is that a site must be clear and navigable for users; if it is difficult to negotiate your site, your users will leave for a site that they know how to use.
Several things can contribute to ease of navigation. Make sure that all of your sites remain stylistically consistent, and have a common thread in their design aesthetic which links them all. Be certain that every page of your site includes an explanation of what the page is, and where it fits in with the overall scheme of the website, as many users will find your pages through a search engine, email, or link, and may not land on the home page.
It is important to make navigation easy on the individual pages of your site; include a link to the home page, and a navigation menu of some kind which is easy for users to see and understand. If you have a large site, include a search box on every page in your web design, so that users will find it easy to jump to a topic which interests them. In addition, you should provide contact information, so that users can contact you with questions, comments, or concerns. This is a vital part of website accessibility which many people leave out.
It is also important to think about browser compatibility when considering web design. Numerous popular browsers all display pages differently, and something which looks fantastic in a browser like Safari may not even load properly in Firefox, or vice versa. Make sure to test your website in multiple browsers and on multiple operating systems to ensure that the site is readable and functional for your users. In addition, consider text based browsers and readers with disabilities which require them to use screen readers in your web design. Add an alternate tag to all of your images to explain what they are, and make sure that all of your text is clear and readable.
Another common web design issue is the speed of loading. Many web designers work on high speed Internet connections, and do not realize how bandwidth heavy their designs are. While high speed Internet may be widespread in Europe and the United States, dial-up users can still be found in those nations, and in many other parts of the world. By designing a bulky site which takes a long time to load, you will alienate these visitors.
Finally, one of the most important elements in web design is frequently neglected. In the hurry to design a site with beautiful presentation, elegant colors, and compelling images, many web designers forget to spell check. Spelling errors are very off-putting for users, and, as a general rule, they greatly detract from the message that you intend to convey.