Perhaps the biggest mistake most new web designers make is not testing their code in several different browsers. Internet Explorer now competes with several other browsers such as Google’s Chrome, Mozilla’s Firefox, and Apple’s Safari. In fact, according to a New York Times article, Firefox is now the leading browser in Europe. Each browser has its own way of reading code and sometimes just the slightest difference in browser readability can lead to a large difference in what an end user sees on your finished webpage. This also holds true for older browser versions that may not have the same abilities as the updated versions. There are still a lot of consumers out there that do not update their software regularly and have a mentality of “if it isn’t broke, why fix it?”
Another mistake often made is not keeping the target audience in mind. For instance, if the audience is a tech savvy group, then it would be fine to use technical jargon on the website. However, if the audience is a group of people just learning about a subject, the designer should use terms that are easy to understand. A designer would not want to have loud music and tiny fonts if he is creating a website for seniors, nor would he want to create a site for teenagers by just posting large blocks of text.
A designer should also avoid going overboard with images and colors. It is very easy to get caught up in color schemes but they can be very hard on the eyes, especially if for older viewers. It is best to stick to two complimentary colors, three at most. One should make sure text is easy to read against any background colors or images. That great calligraphy font that the designer just downloaded may look nice as a large title font, but becomes extremely hard to read when used as a regular text font. Another trap that is easy to fall into while designing a web site is adding way too many images. It can be very distracting to the eyes and even time consuming for those that do not have access to high speed internet service. The best way to avoid this if the images are necessary is to create a separate page on the site with all of the images, allowing the visitor to decide to load the pictures. The designer should also have the images as thumbnails that can be clicked to see the full size picture as it will save load time for those that only need to see one or two of them.