11 Information Architecture Mistakes to Avoid in Your Website
Making sure that visitors can find what you want them to find is second only in importance to making sure they can find what they are looking for.
1. Avoid too many Pop-ups
You may think that bombarding people with pop-ups the moment they open your website is a good idea because they encourage people to decide to buy or subscribe, right? And if they don’t encourage them to do that, it will encourage them to close your website instantly. They will slow down your website and make people more likely to jump back and close the tab or absentmindedly close all the pop-ups. Even if it is just one pop-up, people tend to just close them.
2. Avoid things that look like headings, but are not
One thing that is sure to confuse people, is if you make your headings small and your text large. one other things that confuses people is if, in the middle of a paragraph, you make one line of text really big, that will confuse people, and make them think that it is the beginning of a new section. They will have trouble comprehending what you are saying, and will turn away confused.
3. Avoid walls-of-text
You need to avoid walls of text, which means having more than 300 without section breaks. If you have small amount of text, heading, small amount of text, and back and forth between things, it is okay to have more than 300 words in a page, But if you saw 400 words sitting there on a page, with no breaks, are you REALLY going to read it all? If you would, you have to put it in perspective. If you would read that, you must be very patient. Most people nowadays are in a big hurry, very impatient, and all they think about is moving on… would THEY read it?
4. Avoid paragraphs or pages that mix multiple topics without structure
This is yet another thing you need to watch for, to bring down confusion levels. A very confusing paragraph, would go from selling candy, to how to set a broken bone, and then you proceed to tell your users your contact information. And you tell them that all in one paragraph or page, with nothing telling them about the switch! Selling candy and telling people how to set a bone should not be one one website, let alone one page or paragraph! So please, to avoid confusion, add headings, and have a plan of what you are going to say before you say it, so that you cannot wander around with your words to every place on the earth.
5. Avoid misleading calls to action
Your calls to action should tell people exactly what they are doing when they click the button. If your user clicks a button, and it takes them to a page that doesn’t match, they will be confused, and…well…let’s just say the purpose of putting that call to action there will be lost. Here are examples of common mistakes made in calls to action:
- “Submit” or “Click here” leads to a purchase
- “Buy now” leads to a subscription
- “Contact” leads to anything other than a form
6. Avoid mislabeled links or menu items
Your customers want to click the contact button on your menu, and find a phone number, email address, and a contact form. Don’t give them the inconvenience of sending them to your about page from the “Contact” button. And same for the “About” button or any other button/link.
7. Avoid broken links and buttons
You do not want your website to be filled with buttons and links that don’t work. It will be counterproductive. When a button doesn’t work, the way to the place you were leading them is lost. If it happens to be important information, or worse, the “buy now” or “Subscribe”, or the button for whatever your website is for, It could make your website completely useless.
8. Avoid having too many menu items
When your menu items have long names, or there are just a lot of them, it will look cramped, people will have trouble choosing which page to go to. Over all, it is best to just put the important things on your menu, and to give them short memorable names like, “Home”, “About”, “Contact”. Don’t worry about the names of your menu items being over-used. There is a reason they are used so much, and that reason is, that they work really well.
9. Avoid deep nesting of menu items
You should not have a slide-down from one of your menu items, and then a slide-down from one of the menu items in the first slide-down. First of all, that makes it very difficult for people using mobile devices, since they cannot hover over the menu to make the slide-down, slide down. Second, it makes it hard for people to find what they need. One easy way to avoid that, is too have less items on your menu.
10. Avoid requiring several page jumps to get to key content
Your key content should be on the first page, or only a click away the moment the open your page. People will likely miss the important things, if they have to go through three pages to get there. If it is something that it is important that your users see, make sure it is easy to find, and that it doesn’t require any patience, because now days, that is something that many people severely lack.
11. Avoid distracting ads, overactive sliders and flashy effects
Ads can be very distracting, and cause people to turn from reading your content to watching the ads. Some sliders are very annoying because they move before you can read them, and also, the constant movement is very distracting. You want your users to be reading your content, not watching ads, and trying to read overactive sliders.