There are a lot of rules of web design, but the number #1 rule of web design is:
Don’t Annoy Your Visitors!
There are so many websites out there, don’t do anything to annoy your visitors as they may very quickly choose to go elsewhere.
Whatever you do, don’t make your visitors feel uncomfortable, awkward, confused, or even worse, stupid.
If your site is making your visitors doubt themselves, you are certainly not making them feel warm and fuzzy in general, and certainly not warm and fuzzy toward you, and certainly not inclined to do what you want them to do!
Frustration can be caused many ways:
- difficult to follow navigation
- hard to read text — too small, not enough contrast, poorly written
- nested menus that are difficult use the mouse on
- critical information missing — phone numbers, addresses
- outdated information — hours of operation, products or services
- broken links — 404 errors
- too many concepts or topics on one page
- too busy of pages
- links and buttons that don’t do what you say they’re supposed to do
- links and buttons that don’t do what your visitors expect them to do.
We’ve always said that anybody who designs something should be forced to use it for a year before foisting it on the unsuspecting public. Website shouldn’t be an exception, look at your site through your visitors eyes and make them feel as comfortable as possible.