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4 Most Common Alaska Web Design Mistakes

4 Most Common Alaska Web Design Mistakes

Jan 27 2017

Being honest

So far as I can figure from speaking with other local developers, the primary root problems with Alaskan websites are: that many websites have not been updated in years, were built on a micro budget, and have not been considered to be very important.

Thus Alaska's online claim to fame are websites that:

  • Are clunky
  • Look like 1990’s designs because
  • Were developed with 1990s techniques
  • Are not intuitive or user friendly
  • Have no content flow
  • Are visually overwhelming
  • Are not interactive

Moreover, with the rise of social media in the last 5-10 years, businesses have had further reason to simply use (free) social media as an online storefront.

As I mentioned in another post, social media is renting on the web – and is no replacement for a website. Not only for Alaskan internet marketing purposes, but simply as a place that functions as the face of your business.

Here are 4 things reasons that leave many Alaskan websites in a sorry state.

1 – Antiquated Alaska website design

When was the last time you had a web redesign? By the looks of most businesses, they look like they are about 15-20 years old – antique by modern technological standards

What does that mean?

Older websites tend to be visually overwhelmed by content. This is because older designs lacked the technical ability to make content flow down a page in a coordinated way.

Older websites also tend to be very 2 dimensional. What I mean by this is a very strict background and designated content area. The result is that older websites appear bland, less interesting, and contrasted (color, design, etc.)

Modern websites by contrast are generally more 3 dimensional with:

  • Multiple content areas that change size with window size
  • Full page content (i.e. no background)
  • Backgrounds that are stylistically/functionally integrated into content areas (Parallax effects, etc.)

Naturally, more modern websites tend to be visually much more interesting, sexy, and inviting.

Like older web style, many Alaskan websites suffer from:

2 – Old development techniques

After a bit of digging, I quickly discovered that so many websites look so old because they are built with techniques that are 15-20 years old.

How do I know this?

Several reasons. But you need a brief understanding of how modern websites are built

  • HTML – physically renders different elements a webpage
  • CSS – controls the size and style of everything you see on a page
  • JavaScript – increased user activity

CSS was initially released in 1996, and was quickly adopted in standard web development practice. Before CSS, when only HTML was used, websites were built with using a HTML table system. A developer would literally create a table grid as the framework for a website, and plug content in. That’s why older websites look “square” and clunky.

With the ability to easily control size, style, and positing of elements with CSS, the HTML table grid system became immediately outdated.

Yet I come across websites for Alaskan businesses all the time that are built with the HTML table grid technique, very limited CSS, and no JavaScript, leaving me to believe that such websites have not been updated in at least 10 or 15 years.

The secondary problem with this is that such websites are not scalable without a total makeover.

3 – No mobile responsiveness

I speak about this point more from the frustration of a user standpoint. Few Alaskan websites are mobile friendly. Trying to access website information from my phone usually proves to be a futile attempt.

I’m stuck either trying to zoom in to find pieces of information, or getting lost scrolling around a webpage that is much larger than my screen size.

If you’ve also tried to navigate web pages this way, then you know how easy it to accidentally click the wrong link, to be unable to click the right links, etc. The problems are numerous.

And always frustrating. I’ve spoken before about the importance of businesses’ going mobile. Here are a few more reasons why mobile design is critical:

  • Companies spent 5 times as much money on mobile marketing this year than three years ago
  • Nearly 60% of the time people spend on the internet is from mobile devices
  • Social Media platforms’ mobile users are more prevalent than desktop users

The fact alone that more people are using social media from mobile devices means it’s all the more imperative that businesses are mobile responsive to integrate their web/media platform.

Yet I would say – and this is a rough estimate – perhaps 3 in 10 Alaskan websites are truly, and not simply passably, mobile friendly.

To put it simply

4 - No Alaskan website design updates

Many alaskan websites simply need a redesign. Badly.

And for multiple purposes:

  • For Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • To better show off content
  • To be more  engaging
  • For greater interactivity
  • To simply look more appealing and be more inviting

Redesigns are a good alternative to completely new sites in terms of cost. However, a new site may also prove to be more beneficial - it really depends on the current state of your website.