JDM has been developing B2B websites for a long time. Throughout that time, we've come across numerous egregious website design offenses committed by amateur web developers. Here's a few of the most common web design mistakes to look out for.
1. Reliance on PDF Files for Online Reading
People hate coming across a PDF file while browsing a website. It breaks the flow. Even simple things like printing or saving documents are difficult because standard browser commands don't work. Layouts are often optimized for a sheet of paper, which rarely matches the size of the user's browser window. Bye-bye smooth, vertical scrolling. Hello tiny fonts.
PDFs are great for printing and for distributing big documents that need to be printed. Reserve it for this purpose and convert any information that needs to be browsed or read on the screen into real web pages.
2. Un-Scannable Text
A wall of text is deadly for an interactive experience. Intimidating. Boring. Painful to read.
Write for online, not print. To draw users into the text and support scannability, use best practices like descriptive headlines & sub-headlines, short paragraphs, readable fonts (san-serif), and bullet lists.
3. Violating Design Conventions
There's something to be said for consistency in website layout and design. Remember that users spend most of their time on other sites. In other words, if you deviate too far from the conventional, your site will be harder to use and users will up and leave.
4. New Browser Windows for Each Page
Opening a new browser window for each new page is beyond irritating. Don't pollute my screen with any more windows (particularly since current operating systems do a miserable job of window management).
5. Not Answering User Questions
Today's users are highly goal-driven on the web. They visit a site because there's something they want to accomplish—maybe even a purchase to make.
Perhaps the worst example of this is not answering their price question. No B2C eComm site would make this mistake, but it's rife in B2B. All too often "enterprise solutions" are presented so you can't tell whether they are suited for 100 people or 100,000.
Afraid of "sticker shock"? Don't be. Better to qualify visitors than lose qualified, prospective customers because you were ashamed to get down to brass tacks.
Extra Credit Reading?