Common Web Design Requests... That Aren't Best Practice

Best practices for how a website should be designed to provide the best user experience is an often misunderstood topic. Many misconceptions have been passed along and, over time, developed into myths that have incorrectly influenced design decisions. What are the most common misconceptions, you ask? Let’s dive in below.

1. “We need to make the logo bigger on the header.”

You’re proud of your brand. You’ve likely invested a lot of time & resources into it and the design of your assets. You want your brand to stand out and don’t want its identity being overlooked. We get it. But bigger isn’t always better.

The truth is that your logo is not quite as important as your message. Your target audience is more interested in learning about your product and/or service and how they could benefit from it. Your brand’s message should take priority over your logo and is what needs to catch & hold your audience’s attention. Your logo shouldn’t dominate the page more than the headline or call to action. Instead, it should serve to identify the business and its reputation.

Simply said: oversized logos are considered distasteful and lack a simple elegance. You can think of it visually shouting at your audience. Take a look at brands such as Apple, Nike, Salesforce, and Johnson & Johnson. Their logos are minimalistic and relatively small on their websites. Instead of making their logos “loud”, they let their user experience & messaging speak for them.

While your logo is an important part of your brand and broader marketing strategy, it is only a small component. Focus on your web design’s overall visual communication and the impact your product or service will have on potential consumers.

2. “We need to put a slider on the homepage”

We often get requests to add an image/text carousel, or “slider” to the forefront of client websites. The myth is that you can make your homepage seem more “exciting” while squeezing in even more content in that above-the-fold space. The reality, however, is much less glajmorous due to three reasons:
  • Sliders rarely convert to action. On average, only about 1% of users interact with them. For those that actually do click on the slider, 89% of them only click on the first slide anyway.
  • SEO and Load Speed Implications. Underneath the hood of sliders lies a whole bunch of javascript, HTML, CSS, and image files. When a user comes to your homepage, all of these things are triggered to load at once. Naturally, this will cause your page to load slowly. Search engines rank pages and grant placements based on page performance and including a slider is likely to hurt more than help.
  • Sliders look awful on mobile. Mobile browsing accounts for 50-60% of all internet traffic as of 2022. This means that the content you put within a slider would potentially not even be seen by 50-60% of visitors.
To put it briefly, slides rarely enhance the user experience in any way and your site is likely better off without them.

3. “We need more CTAs/buttons”

Properly placed CTAs can make all the difference in getting users what they want and, ultimately, driving conversions. But how many CTAs are too many? The answer isn’t so straightforward as it depends on the page’s content as well as what the page is trying to accomplish. A balance needs to be achieved between what your visitors want and what you want your visitors to do.

Too many CTAs can be confusing and lead to undesirable actions. Think of it as a traffic roundabout with multiple exits. In this analogy, the “exits” are your CTAs. Too many exits can be overwhelming or confusing which would likely lead to you getting frustrated and going home. The same applies for your website. A better approach would be a more direct path to a destination.

Too few CTAs can also take away from the user experience. Not providing a way to perform an action where a user expects it is an easy way to lose traffic and, subsequently, conversions. The key is to think like your visitor and place CTAs where they expect to see them.

Additionally, we often see clients wishing to trickle several CTAs throughout the length of their homepage. The homepage is meant to tell the story of your brand and its offerings. For some sites, it’s important for a user to get the full story but can be difficult to achieve if CTAs are constantly telling them to leave and head to another page. Including CTAs in this fashion creates an adverse effect, ultimately diverting users away from your brand’s “big picture.”

In summary, as long as the path is clear on which action you’re influencing a user to take, and giving them the opportunity to absorb your brand’s value propositions without interruption, there isn’t a definitive number of CTAs to adhere to.

4. “There is too much white space”

White space, or negative space, is typically (and improperly) perceived to be a ‘waste’.

People that truly understand web design and user analytics know this to be untrue. Not only does white space have the ability to make a design look easier on the eye, but it has the benefit of allowing for better readability. That is not to say that a high degree of whitespace is beneficial, quite the contrary. Research conducted by Wichita State University showed that study participants reported more satisfaction and comprehension from a “medium whitespace condition” as opposed to a low or high whitespace condition. In other words, having a proper balance between the two extremes is key.

It also helps draw attention to what a business feels is an important element on the page as it helps them guide the user to what they want them to see. This is, in fact, useful because too many items on a webpage can distract from its intended purpose thereby resulting in users missing the intended destination. This is particularly useful for mobile applications where a large amount of content on small screens can often be dissuading and unpleasant to view.

All in all, when whitespace is used properly as an active element of website UX/UI, it will increase the readability, comfort, eye flow, and emphasis of your content to users.

5. “We need more stock photos”

Many corporate websites have perpetuated the misconception that stock photography is a necessary element. They believe that the use of such imagery will invoke the emotion that the subject of the stock photo is conveying; thereby reflecting positively on the company.

The truth, however, is that this is often not the case. Photos that appear too “stocky” or cliche are typically ignored. Per the Nielson Norman Group, users pay close attention to photos and other images that contain relevant information but ignore fluffy pictures used to “jazz up” web pages.

Additionally, an eye-tracking study performed by the University of Southern California observed that decorative images received no fixations and that images with little information are ignored. They concluded that “that images appearing unneeded, at least peripherally, will be erroneously tuned out.”

People want to see images of real people and the real culture of a business. When deciding between equally informative images of people, choose ones of “genuine” individuals, smiling and gazing at the camera — not models, which are often viewed as photos accompanying advertisements.

6. “People don’t scroll down the page so can we fit more content above-the-fold?”

Although it is true that the above-the-fold (upper half) content will still get the most attention, you don’t need to squeeze every bit of content into this area. ‘Concise’ & ‘actionable’ are the two rules of thumb for above-the-fold content.

Imagine this area of your site as the cover page to your business’s story. It’s meant to convey the main value proposition of your product/service and compel users to learn more. Naturally, this will make users scroll.

Software Usability Research Laboratory conducted a usability study that confirmed people find scrolling to be a natural action on a webpage.

According to Heatmap service provider ClickTale, after analyzing nearly 100,000 pageviews: People used the scrollbar on 76% of the pages, with 22% being scrolled all the way to the bottom regardless of the length of the page.

In July 2011, Apple removed the scrollbar from Mac OS X. This clearly shows that people are so familiar with scrolling that they don’t even need the visual clue for it.


The overarching theme here is providing an experience that is user-centric, user-friendly, and full of information that will aid in the user’s journey as opposed to including elements that will detract from it. Reducing fluff, increasing clarity, and streamlining that journey is what will set your website’s user experience apart from the competition as well as increase your conversions.