Some websites treat visitors badly, either by neglecting their needs or throwing unnecessary obstacles in their way. Considering how hard it is to attract a qualified lead to your virtual doorstep, inviting them in only to give them a bad user experience is a mistake no business can afford to make.
The following are the top 17 website features that most frustrate users today along with solutions for eliminating them.
1. Popups that scurry around like cockroaches
Popups that block, flash, crawl, or otherwise dog your user until they give up in frustration are mean-spirited. Popups that don’t readily go away with a single click are abusive.
Solution: All popups disrupt the user’s flow, and if you’re going to do that, you need to do it right and for the right reasons. A single popup that drops in on your visitor at a key moment can be effective so long as it (a.) offers something useful to the user and (b.) requests a quick, easy response. This can be especially effective when users click to leave the site, since they’re on their way out anyway.
Oh, captchas. Boy, do users hate them. And the most heinous of all are ones that wipe out an entire 22-field form or a paragraph of user comments every time the user enters the wrong characters. You’d better be offering something really, really great if you’re going to do that to someone.
Solution: Use only when necessary, and there’s no need to nuke the user’s work every time you deliver a new captcha, is there?
3. Forms that don’t autopopulate
Sometimes there’s a good reason to disable autofill. But if there’s no reason, why not let the browser do the work? Any hurdle you throw in the user’s way is an invitation to abandon ship.
Solution: Let the machines do their work. They exist to serve.
4. Treasure hunt web design
Website designs that don’t make it clear what elements are “live” and clickable and which are static, forcing the user to go around poking things to see what they do, are bad form.
Solution: Use design clues like hover states to clearly show the user when an element is clickable.
5. Lack of feedback
When forms just disappear when submitted, the user has no way of knowing whether the submission went through. Sometimes users will even resubmit. That’s a shame, because you’ve just answered a conversion by giving the user extra work and uncertainty.
Solution: Thoughtful web design offers a quick thank you to users for every submission.
6. Bad navigation
If your site visitors are using the browser bar to back out of pages, your navigation is failing them.
Solution: Good website design provides easy navigation through well-structured menus, bread crumbs and other user-friendly features that allow users to move through the site like an expert on the first try.
Flyaway menus, dropdown menus and hover states that look cool but elude clicking, forcing the user into agility games with the mouse, are effective at deterring clicks. And you don’t want that.
Solution: Moving parts can be very effective and enhance user experience when properly designed. Elements should be easy to identify, hover and click through.
8. Enough about me . . .
Sites that don’t feature an About page with basic identifying information are frustrating to readers who are just trying to determine who you are and what you do.
Solution: Every website should feature a basic 1-3 line description of what you do in layman’s terms, even if everyone you know already knows that.
9. Don’t call us . . .
No, really, don’t call us. It’s hard to believe, but some websites don’t offer basic contact information, or bury it so deeply that the user has to work to find it.
Solution: Every site should have some means of making contact, preferably including an email address and telephone number with hours of availability. If you have an office or store, your days and hours of operation should be prominently featured on your site.
10. Sliders built for speed
Sliders that blow past before the user can read their content are just confusing. It’s even worse when there’s no user control to allow stopping or browsing through the sliders.
Solution: Slide shows should be paced to allow users to comfortably read the entire slide. Sliders should also feature user-friendly navigation devices to let the user control the show.
11. Illegible content
Content that is too light or too small for reading without enlarging the screen tells the reader “Don’t bother.”
Solution: All content on your pages should be easy to read at a normal viewing scale.
12. No Calls to Action (CTAs)
It’s amazing, but some websites don’t offer the user a means of converting. It’s nice to be subtle, but users should never have to go hunting for their next step.
Solution: Every page on your site should have a CTA encouraging a next step, and your most important CTA should be ever-present throughout your design. CTAs should be prominent and clearly identified to encourage conversion whenever the user is ready to click.
13. Autoplay videos
Videos the user wasn’t expecting that begin playing automatically can disrupt rather than enhance the user experience.
Solution: Background videos without sound that merely provide a setting for the main attraction are awesome. But videos with audio require the user’s full attention. Consider the user’s flow and decide whether autoplay is appropriate for the situation. Don’t just autoplay because you can.
Nobody likes to see an error message or land on a page under construction. Sometimes they’re necessary, but a user-friendly website redirects users seamlessly as needed and minimizes these dead ends.
Solution: Audit your site and make sure all expired pages are properly redirected.
15. Dead links
Links that go nowhere or lead to an error page are a waste of the user’s time and an invitation to leave.
Solution: Site links are highly valuable as long as they work. Be sure to test them periodically, especially if they lead to external content, and eliminate or update bad links.
16. Design that is not mobile-ready
If your site isn’t working well on mobile devices, it’s not working well more than half of the time. That’s the percentage of traffic on mobile right now.
Solution: As we recently wrote in this article on Mobilegeddon, your site needs to be optimized for all browsers and devices.
17. Bait and switch
The number one complaint from consumers about website content is being confronted with content they aren’t looking for and don’t want. This includes marginal advertising.
Solution: Make sure your page content, from metadata and hyperlinks to imagery and headlines, clearly and accurately reflects what the user can expect with every click. If your site features advertisements, be vigilant about the types of ads you admit. If they’re on your page, they’re part of your users’ experience.
Treat visitors right . . . and get results
Need to tune-up your website to give your visitors a good experience? Want them to dwell long enough to leave an email address or sign up for your newsletter or follow you on Facebook? Let the expert web designers at Synapse engineer a great user experience for your visitors, and see what a state-of-the-art website can do for your business.