overused words“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napoleon Hill

The good news is, we want to see you succeed and like Napoleon said, your words matter- especially in web design. Steer clear of miscommunication with your designers by clearly stating what you really want.

If you stay up to date with our blog, you’ll remember my previous post about overused words. Well, I found more words that really grind my gears in the web design world and it’s time to share them. Take a look at the list, including their definitions and synonyms.

6 Overused Words in Web Design That Make Me Want to Punch Myself in the Face

You may be using the wrong word.

1. Professional


Professional is an adjective meaning undertaken or engaged in as a means of livelihood or for gain.

Now if you really read the definition above, you’ll note that you technically can’t have a professional website. We know what you’re trying to say though. You are creating a website for your business, and your business is your means of livelihood or gain. Although your website represents this, the word professional can’t technically be used to describe how you want that website to look. Maybe you want it to look neat and orderly. Instead of using those words, try these instead.

  • Organized
  • Tidy
  • Uniform
  • Uncluttered

2. Clean


Clean is an adjective meaning characterized by a fresh, wholesome quality.

The challenge with clean is that it’s an arbitrary word left up for interpretation by the designer. When you think of a clean room do you mean vacuumed and dusted, free of clutter or both? Clean can be interpreted differently by everyone. Of course everyone wants a fresh, wholesome quality website, but what exactly does that mean? Maybe you’re meaning simple. If that’s the case, try these words.

  • Uncluttered
  • Inelaborate
  • Not complex
  • Austere

3. White Space


White space is a noun meaning the unprinted area of a piece of printing, aka the space in your designs that is not content.

In the past, website designs trended towards displaying a lot of content everywhere, reserving little room for white space. While that was popular just a few years ago, now our clients often refer to these designs as “busy”. However when presented with a design utilizing copious amounts of white space they think the design is “plain”.White space, while not inherently decorative, can be your best friend; when used correctly white space and be used to direct the viewer’s attention towards the right button or words simply and effectively without using tricks like star bursts, blinking or movement. It can allow a design element in your message to be loud but not obnoxious.

I find clients often think they want to see lots of white space in their designs but those designs often put them out of their perceived design comfort zone because it’s not what they’re used to seeing on a daily basis.  And in response clients often shy away from it in practice trying to fill all the lovely, and sought after, white space with something!

There’s a possibility when people say “white space” they may mean more spacious instead of lots of actual white space. These words may represent your meaning a little better.

  • Spread out
  • Roomy
  • Uncrowded
  • Widespread

4. Classy


Classy is an adjective meaning of high rank or grade, stylish, elegant.

When you think of a woman’s classy style, does that mean the color scheme she’s wearing, the material of her clothes, how she carries herself or the types of clothes she wears? This is really a word that just needs to be clearly defined and explained whenever used, especially when describing how you want your website to look. I just asked our designer, Tim, what a classy website looks like to him and he started describing colors. There’s a high potential that’s not what the client was thinking of though. Let’s try neat instead.

  • Tidy
  • Precise
  • Refined
  • Particular

5. Innovative


Innovative is an adjective meaning to introduce something new or different.

When I spoke with Monica, MayeCreate’s Chief Creative Officer, about innovative websites she asked, “Is anything really innovative? So many people say innovative, but mean the “innovative” website they’ve seen before. If the design already exists and your modeling your design after it, can that really be considered innovative?”

Design innovation is another technique, when implemented, often puts clients out of their design comfort zone.  They have an easier time approving a design that looks more like something they see on a daily basis because they comfortable with it.  That would mean the client doesn’t really want innovative they want conventional or want the status quo.

Innovative doesn’t follow the rules, it breaks barriers and pushes comfort zones beyond recognition. Unless you want a website that’s unconventional, try to stay away from the word innovative. But if you do want an unconventional website, here are some nice synonyms you can use instead.

  • Contemporary
  • Cutting-edge
  • Newfangled

6. Good


Good is an adjective meaning satisfactory in quality, quantity or degree.

In my mind, good is mediocre. Ehh, make my website look good. Woah, your website is going to look freaking GREAT when we’re done with it. Your company does awesome work, so good just doesn’t cut it. But in case you want to sound mediocre, go ahead and use the words below.

  • Acceptable
  • Satisfactory
  • Favorable

Why would you want to be mediocre?! I’m not sure. Try these words instead.

  • Excellent
  • Hellacious
  • Awesome
  • Fantastic
  • Marvelous

It’s time to enhance your web design vocabulary.

These words are worn out in my opinion. I’m talking more worn out than your favorite pair of work boots that you just can’t seem to let go of. It’s time to move on to better words accompanied with photos and well thought out descriptions. I promise you’ll be ok!

Of course it’s alright to use the above words in the beginning, you have to start defining your design wants somewhere. So after using those words, define what they mean to you, take the time to think of more engaging and impactful ways to communicate about your business. If your business is astounding, you need an animated word choice to expose how awesome you really are! And if you want to have a clean, professional, classy, innovative and good website, please clearly define what you mean.

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