10 Trends of the World’s Most Unsuccessful Designers

In today's article I want to discuss some of the most common traits of web designers who fail at design and freelancing in general. Mixed in with these ten items are topics that range from time management to the ugly table codes we've all grown to hate. If you know of something that an unsuccessful web designer does but isn't in this list, make sure to make it known to everyone in the comments section of this post.

Trends of Unsuccessful Designers
Image credit: heartshaped

10 Trends of the World's Most Unsuccessful Designers

Not Using Any Form of CSS

I know you've come across a website or two like this: White background (or even worse, an ugly, distorted image) with bright text on top of it (using inline styling) and the default blue/purple link colors. I'm sure no one here has even done a site like this once, let alone doing it for a living. Maybe it was the case in the early days of the Internet, before CSS and web standards, but not today.

Not Using CSS
Image credit: Aaron Landry

Making Everything on the Page a Graphic

Here's another example. You open a web page and see a blank screen. After a few seconds, images start to load on the entire site. 20-30 seconds later when the site finished loading - it's ALL IMAGES! The text on the page is displayed as images; the background is an image; the header, footer, and content areas are all images. It's like someone just sliced up a design in PhotoShop (or MS Paint, looking at the quality of their work) and put the images into a website and said "There, we're live".

Using Bright, Blinking Text Everywhere

Today, we see a lot of advertisements on websites with the bright red and yellow blinking text informing us with the message "You've won - click here to claim your prize". But, can you even remember when this was the norm for website designs? Not only is this unhealthy for people with epilepsy who may be viewing the site, but it's just downright ugly and unprofessional.

Stretching Their Time Too Thin and Causing Problems with Clients

Designers who fail at their freelance careers and end up back in an office setting, being employed by others are generally there because they weren't able to get their business off the ground due to bad time management. Their response is always "Yes, I can have that done by tomorrow morning", never taking into account that they've already got 11 hours worth of work to do before the sun rises.

Causing Problems
Image credit: CP Food images

Not Utilizing Any Web Trends After 1990

Some people studied web design for a few years and then gave up learning anything new. Even today, new freelancers don't think that CSS3 or HTML5 are things they need to look out for. Guess what, in a year or two, your design style will be outdated and your freelance business will start to dry up, resulting in you having to learn these new trends anyway, so you might as well start now. Another side to this coin is that some people find a web trend (for example, the 3D rounded corner tabs in web designs like From The Couch) and use them 100 times. Don't overuse it, but at least know what's out there.

Never Test their Designs in Different Browsers

This is for the designers out there who still use IE6 (or 7 or 8 for that matter) and don't know about, or test their designs in other browsers. Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, Opera and many other web browsers are slowly stealing the views of your visitors away from IE users, so you need to make sure you know what your site looks like in other browsers.

Making Things Pretty but Totally Avoiding Usability

A lot of web designers will ensure their designs look visually stunning, but the client they designed for will lose business because the website wasn't built to be functional or capable of moving the visitors to the right areas (for instance, the contact page or checkout page). Remember that usability is always of the same importance as the design itself. Yes, you can make the site visually "pretty" but never overlook the usability and functionality of the site.

Just For Beauty
Image credit: fluttering silk

Using Color Combinations That Make You Want to Puke

Many designers use 5-6 color's in a site thinking that it makes the site look fun and lively, but at some point during your design process, you must realize that certain colors just don't go well together and do not "remind visitors of a rainbow".

Tables - All Tables!

Alright, so some aspects of a web design can utilize tables in great ways (for example, tables of tabular data) but there is no excuse for a website to be completely coded in tables from top to bottom. 5-6 years ago, maybe, but today, if your site isn't at least using common CSS codes and DIV's for the layout structure, you're way behind the times.

Relying on One Source for Job Leads is a Death Trap

Some freelance designers will only take on jobs that their friends and family recommend. This can work for a while, but "Don't put all your eggs in one basket". It works here as well. Job leads will dry up, work will be few and far between and you'll be stuck without anything to keep you financially secure. You can avoid this by making use of Twitter, job boards, message boards in your target market, cold-emails and various other forms of marketing.

Input from Users on Twitter

I sent out an open call to my twitter followers to ask them for their opinion regarding this topic. Below are some screen shots and links to their answers.

Twitter Adammccombs

Twitter Anthonywoods

Twitter Madysondesigns

Twitter Echoenduring

Twitter Qpiddigital

Twitter Kervie

And We Pass it Onto You

I know that you can think of other major taboos of web design that people are still doing today. Let us know in the comments below!