Three common mistakes made when former print designers design websites



BMW Online Shop, originally uploaded by LanceWiggs.

The BMW Online Shop shows three common errors that designers more used to print media can make on websites.

Firstly a website is not a fixed piece of paper, and end users expect that a page will scroll down and be full of useful information. We navigate the web with one hand on a track-pad or mouse with scroll button for that very reason. The fixed width and height website gives a limited amount of information and means more mouse clicks are required to find that information. Every mouse click is an opportunity to leave, so place the information on a page.

Next is the decision to hide text behind some sort of custom control, I guess to make the page look better. I had hoped this had largely gone away, but not for BMW it seems. That scroll bar is unusable on my iPhone, and simply frustrating anywhere else. Text should be readable and visible.

Finally the use of flash which seems so lovely to those used to other media, but so horrific to people that browse the web. The flash site that the “More details…” link directed me to did not ever actually load. Not only is the technology completely unusable on iPhones and iPads, but it makes your customer browsing experience slow, and also unreadable by Google.

My guess is that this website design was presented inside some sort of flip-book, and that the designer showed one page per page of the flip book. It’s a lovely way to get a design approved by a client, but an appalling way to design a website.

About Lance Wiggs

@lancewiggs
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4 Responses to Three common mistakes made when former print designers design websites

  1. Shaun Lee says:

    I am not going to advocate flash but Google can read flash movies. http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2008/06/improved-flash-indexing.htm

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  2. Mark Lincoln says:

    Nice point on the scrolling text box not showing on iPhones. Browser compatibility is a big issue (despite what many average users might think, IE is not the only browser in the world!) and people should remember that mobile phones are becoming more and more of a player when it comes to browsing the web.

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  3. Hayden says:

    I agree with your comments, but not sure why you’ve assumed the designer must have been a ‘former print designer’ (and why this is the title of the post) . .

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  4. I like your style Lance :)

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