Missteps that diminish your website’s user experience
Websites have been around since the early 90’s. In other words, for the past 25 years or so, we’ve had plenty of time to assess, understand, and define what a good website experience is like. Of course that experience is always evolving as site-building tools and technologies advance. But by now we generally have a good feel for what we like and what we don’t whenever we visit any given site, right?
Unfortunately, many people building websites today still don’t get it.
There are a squazillion sites out there that continue to have features and/or elements that irritate the heck out of most visitors. Like glacial load times. Incomprehensible navigation. Ridiculous numbers of pop-ups. Lack of social sharing buttons. No mobile optimization. You get the idea.
Now we understand that, if you’re a non tech-savvy individual or small business owner who is building a website all on your own, coming up with a fast, seamless, engaging website can still be a challenge. You people get a pass.
But we’re looking at those companies and organizations with sufficient funds, knowledge, and access to website-building expertise to know better. Before your website goes live, at the very least, have a group of non-tech folks spend time going through your website, clicking every link, visiting every page, viewing it on different devices, etc. and report on what the experience is like. Is that too much to ask?
Let’s take a look at some of the above-mentioned bugaboos. Not only are these annoying, they clearly can lead to visitors eventually abandoning your site—and you losing out on potential business and engagement opportunities:
Load delays: Many consumers expect a website to load in two seconds or less. Face it—we’re an impatient society. Making people wait for anything nowadays is never a good strategy. Expecting people to endure interminable website load times for the sake of showing off design acrobatics, fancy Flash animations, or embedded media from external resources just won’t fly.
Navigational mysteries: While it seems to be a no-brainer to make it easy for visitors to explore your website or get to where they need to go quickly, you’ve no doubt run into sites that leave you in the dark. Even sites that do a good job of engaging you and/or motivating you to make a purchase decision sometimes fall down when it comes to providing an unambiguous call-to-action or directing you to an appropriate response. Be crystal-clear in what and where you want people to do and go.
Lack of mobile optimization
We are not only an impatient society but also a mobile one. Smartphones and tablets are becoming our primary means to access the Internet. So it doesn’t take much of a leap to understand the importance of having a website that’s optimized for a mobile device. Yet we all continue to encounter websites designed primarily for desktop computers that force us to pinch and zoom, scroll every which way, and squint just to make out what’s on them. Enough already!
Google recently introduced search updates that penalize websites that aren’t mobile-optimized and reward those that are. These are welcome developments—and a significant issue for websites who depend on search rankings for traffic. It’s simple: be mobile-ready or be left behind.
There are many other common mistakes that can diminish your website’s user experience—and can be easily avoided. This article provides an excellent overview of the most common miscues that continue to be overlooked when building a site.