Your law firm’s website should result in a positive user experience (UX). Not only can a bad UX diminish the impact of your website, it can hurt your conversion rate and even your SEO. One mistake that’s commonly made is integrating useless web design features that don’t produce any legitimate results. Instead, they merely detract from the UX. If you’re using any of the following five features, you should ditch them ASAP.
1) Visitor Counter
This may have been cool back in 1998 but it’s completely unnecessary in 2017. That’s why there’s analytics. Not only is a visitor counter pointless, it looks really unprofessional and “Mickey Mouse.”
2) Flash Animation
While you could make the point that there is a place for flash animation on some websites, it’s definitely not something a law firm should be using. Cartoon figures don’t exactly convey a message of professionalism and is only going to hurt your credibility in the eyes of prospective clients. Besides this, many experts speculate that flash animation can adversely impact your SEO. So just avoid it.
3) Background Music
This is another feature that’s extremely outdated and conjures up memories of late 90’s Angelfire sites with those horrible MIDI songs that were once so popular. There’s simply no place for background music on a lawyer’s website.
4) A Carousel
This type of web design is where there’s a “carousel” of images that appear at the top of a site. Although this was definitely popular for a period, most web designers would discourage using it in 2017. The main reason being is that they’re difficult to navigate and can be quite frustrating for visitors.
SitePoint makes a great argument as to why it hurts the UX. “Sometimes we’ve finished reading a slide long before it’s ready to move on. Other times we’re still reading a slide as it’s ripped away from us. And our readiness may vary day-to-day or even hour-to-hour as we tire.”
Just opt for a static image instead. This is more simplistic and should result in a better navigational experience.
5) Interstitial Ads
Google has been waging war on sites that are anything less than 100 percent mobile friendly. One thing in particular they’ve targeted recently is interstitial ads, which are defined as “an online ad that is dynamically displayed at natural transition points in an interface design. It is commonly displayed in full screen or in large size that can obstruct most of the viewer’s screen.”
If you’ve ever visited a website only to immediately be hit with a full-screen ad saying “buy this” or “sign up for this,” you’ve experienced an interstitial. These ads are often annoying and kill the mobile viewing experience, so Google will be penalizing sites that use interstitials starting January 10, 2017. If you’ve used this technique to increase conversions, you’ll want to rethink your strategy because it’s almost guaranteed to hurt your SEO.
Web design is something that’s continually evolving. If you’re guilty of using any of these useless web design features, go ahead and ditch them and work on your UX. This resource from Smashing Magazine can provide you with some helpful guidance on web design best practices.