How To Avoid or Fix the Top 9 Website Development Mistakes
A website is a digital storefront for a business. As such, a well-designed website is essential for companies to remain relevant and visible to potential customers.
When designing the best websites, an expert Chicago web development agency avoids and fixes these top nine mistakes:
- Overlooking device compatibility
- Lacking code planning
- Having incorrect code structure
- Using unoptimized visuals
- Adding too many plugins
- Not using code documentation
- Avoiding version control
- Not clearing the browser cache
- Skipping user experience (UX)
This guide highlights these web development issues and their corresponding fixes. Let’s go!
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1. Overlooking Device Compatibility
Overlooking device compatibility leads to a poor user experience for visitors. With so many types of mobile devices and varying screen sizes, web developers must ensure that their website is accessible and usable across all devices.
Visitors to a website expect a seamless and consistent experience, regardless of their devices. A website not optimized for different devices can be challenging to navigate and frustrating for users, leading to a negative perception of the business.
Web developers can ensure device compatibility through these strategies:
- Adapt a responsive design to make sure that the website looks and functions well on all devices. This includes optimizing the layout, font sizes, and navigation.
- Applying cross-browser testing, such as on Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge, ensures that websites work as intended on all browsers.
- Conduct user testing with various devices and screen sizes to identify any issues.
- Consider a mobile-first approach, designing for the smallest screen first, then scaling up for larger screens.
2. Lacking Code Planning
Lack of code planning can be harmful, leading to inefficiencies, bugs, and a poor user experience. Before writing any code, plan. Look at a website's architecture, design, and functionality. Define the project's scope and create a project roadmap. Finally, outline the functionality and features of the website.
A well-planned codebase is easier to maintain and update. Developers can make certain that the code is consistent and modular, making new features or fixing bugs more manageable. Expert web developers conduct code planning through these steps:
- Define the project scope, including the website's purpose, goals, and target audience.
- Create a project roadmap that outlines the major milestones and deliverables of the project, such as the timeline, budget, and resources required to complete the project.
- Produce wireframes and mockups that visually represent the layout and design of the website.
- Choose a development methodology that aligns with the project goals, such as Agile or Waterfall.
- Define the architecture, technology stack, database schema, and server infrastructure required for the website.
- Define coding standards and best practices, including style guides, naming conventions, and code review processes.
- Break down tasks into smaller ones and assign them to team members.
3. Having an Incorrect Code Structure
"Code structure" refers to how code is organized and structured within a project. If incorrect, it can result in poor website performance, slow load times, and unresponsive user interfaces. It can negatively impact the user experience and lead to high bounce rates and reduced engagement.
An incorrect code structure can make finding and fixing errors challenging, leading to poor functionality, security vulnerabilities, and a dissatisfying user experience. These best practices to improve code structures are:
- Follow a consistent naming convention for variables, functions, and classes throughout the project.
- Use modular design by breaking the code into smaller, reusable modules for easy testing and maintenance.
- Use comments and documentation to explain the purpose and function of the code.
- Implement design patterns like Model-View-Controller (MVC) or Singleton to ensure code consistency.
- Logically and consistently organize files and directories.
- Use version control software like Git to track changes and collaborate with other developers.
- Conduct code reviews to identify and address any issues with the code structure.
- Consider AI tools to implement effective web development, such as Uizard, Tricentis, and Durable.
4. Using Unoptimized Visuals
Unoptimized visuals refer to images, videos, or other multimedia assets not optimized for web use. Unoptimized visuals can negatively impact the user experience, page load times, and search engine rankings because search engines prioritize websites with fast loading times.
Websites with unoptimized visuals can increase the website's bandwidth usage, leading to higher hosting costs and possible slow loading times for users. Web developers can optimize visuals using these top techniques:
- Compressing images reduces their file size without sacrificing too much image quality.
- Use the appropriate file format for different types of images. For example, JPEGs are best for photographs, while PNGs are better for graphics and images.
- Limit the number of visuals on a page to reduce page load times.
- Use responsive design to guarantee optimized visuals for different screen sizes and devices.
- Optimize videos using compressed formats such as MP4. To reduce bandwidth usage, consider hosting videos on third-party video hosting services such as YouTube or Vimeo.
5. Adding Too Many Plugins
Too many plugins can negatively impact the website's performance, security, and stability. Plugins are third-party software installed onto a website to add new features or functionality. Each addition can increase page load times and server response times.
Plugins can significantly introduce security vulnerabilities to a website if they are not updated regularly. Outdated plugins can become a target for hackers and malware. Remember these best practices when using plugins:
- Choose reputable plugins. Research the plugin and its developer to ensure it is well-supported.
- Keep plugins up to date to ensure that they are secure and compatible with the latest version of the website's core code.
- Limit the number of plugins that are essential to the website's functionality. Add plugins only when necessary.
- Test plugins before installing them in a staging environment on a live website.
- Use lightweight plugins to avoid adding unnecessary bloat to the website.
6. Not Using Code Documentation
Developers can maintain code faster with code documentation, which allows other developers to work on the same codebase.
Proper documentation helps developers efficiently identify the source of bugs, reducing the time required for debugging. Web developers apply proper code documentation by:
- using comments written in clear and concise language,
- following a consistent style for documentation, including naming conventions and formatting,
- including external dependencies, such as libraries or APIs, used in the code to understand how the code interacts with external systems,
- providing examples to demonstrate the use of complex or abstract functions.
7. Avoiding Version Control
Version control tracks file changes over time, allowing developers to collaborate on projects and maintain a history of modifications. A version control system (VCS) allows multiple developers to work on the same codebase simultaneously while keeping track of who made what changes and when.
Without version control, it can be hard to keep track of changes that different developers make, leading to conflicts and overwriting of codes. This can also lead to losing important data and having difficulty reverting to previous versions. Web developers use version control in these ways:
- Choose a version control system including Git, Subversion (SVN), and Mercurial.
- Create a central repository where the code and its versions are stored. Hosting services such as GitHub, Bitbucket, GitLab, or a local server come with storage.
- Initialize the repository by adding the files and directories of the project using the command line or a graphical user interface (GUI) tool.
- Create branches or separate code versions that can be modified independently, such as new features, bug fixes, or experiments.
- Commit changes to the code by creating a new version in the repository.
- Roll back changes to a previous version of the code using the version control system.
8. Not Clearing the Browser Cache
Not clearing the browser cache can cause users to see outdated or incorrect website versions. When a user visits a website, the browser downloads files such as images, stylesheets, and scripts and stores them in a cache on the user's device.
The browser uses the cached files to load the website faster the next time the user visits it. But if the developer updates these files and the browser continues to use the cached files, the user sees the old version of the website. If the website is an e-commerce site or has essential information, users may make decisions based on outdated information.
Web developers need to clear the browser cache. They perform browser caching using these techniques.
- Clear the cache manually from the settings or options menu in their browser.
- Add cache control headers to the website's HTTP responses to tell the browser how long to keep cached files and when to check for updates.
- Use cache-busting techniques such as adding version numbers or timestamps to file names.
- Include a content delivery network (CDN) to reduce the distance between the user and the server and improve website performance.
9. Skipping User Experience (UX)
UX encompasses all aspects of a user's interaction with a website, from the design and layout to the functionality and ease of use. Suppose web developers skip UX and focus solely on the technical aspects of building the website. In this case, they will have overlooked the importance of designing a site that is intuitive and easy for the target audience.
Similar to optimizing user experience for mobile app development, poor UX can damage the reputation of a business or organization and make it challenging to attract and retain customers.
Therefore, web developers must prioritize user experience and work closely with designers, stakeholders, and end-users to ensure the website is easy to use and engaging. Web developers can implement UX on a website in several ways.
- Conduct user research through surveys, interviews, focus groups, and usability testing.
- Collaborate with UX designers to create a clear and intuitive layout, using appropriate typography and color schemes, and creating interactive elements that are easy to use.
- Optimize website performance by minimizing loading times, reducing the number of HTTP requests, and using caching techniques to improve page load speeds.
Avoid these nine website development mistakes to create a compelling and engaging website. By partnering with a Chicago web development agency, you can fix and prevent these issues in real time.
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