Tag Archives: web design

Oh my God, you’re annoying – 5 ways to turn off your web visitors

27 Jun

Have you ever clicked on a website and suddenly a song starts playing really rubbish music?  Perhaps a pop-up appears with moving graphics or some guy starts telling you about himself before you even know where you are.  How distracting is that?

If you actually enjoy that stuff and can honestly say it’s not made you quickly search for the ‘off’ switch or indeed ‘back’ button, you’re in the minority my friend. 

It’s one of many common problems with websites that soon switch off your viewers.  When people arrive on your website, they need to know you’ve got what they want, or are at least likely to be able to provide for their needs.  What they don’t need is anything that will distract or annoy them enough to put them off their task – the back button is very easy to push.

Starting with noises and pictures, here are five of the worst culprits:

1.  Music, sounds and whizzy graphics people can’t control

These are the bells and whistles that some web developers, novices or overly-excited web designers love to put on websites, often simply because they can.  Don’t follow their lead.  If you must put moving images, music or noise on your site, place the controls in the hands of your user and make it easy for them to turn off and on.

2. Where are you taking me?  Poor navigation

This includes links that don’t go where your user expects them to go when they click them.  It happens a lot  – you press the link and it either doesn’t work or goes elsewhere.  People arrive on your site and scan the page for things that look like they fit with what they’re looking for or are interested in.  They’ll look at your navigation and select the most likely option to get what they want.  If it doesn’t work, or most commonly it’s labelled confusingly, they’ll be annoyed.  Annoyed people won’t stay long.

3.  It looks nice, but does it work?  Overly-artistic web design

Some websites, due to the nature of the subject they represent, are designed in extraordinary ways.  There’s nothing wrong with a bit of creative flair, but it is widely held amongst usability professionals that web designers have to work within certain conventions in order for people to feel comfortable using a website.  That means placing content such as navigation, search boxes, copy and logos where people expect to find them.  Anything that requires too much brain power to find will make people irritated and more likely to leave.                                              

4.  Why are we waiting…?  Flash intro nightmares

Flash is the programme used to make moving graphics and those intro pages that take ages to load – usually with the word ‘loading’ or a loading bar and an ‘Enter here’ button.  Yawn.  They are pointless and annoying and if they take ages to load, people get bored and leave.  If you’ve used the web a fair bit it’s likely you’ve experienced it.  I assume it’s like a book cover (or because someone likes playing with Flash) – but what works in print certainly isn’t the same for the web.

5.  Corporate jargon which utilizes the exact phraseology to exemplify their working practices – or such bore-speak

Yes, I made up the word bore-speak.  But how annoying and dull it is when you come across a website that spouts nonsense at you – and it happens all too often.  You have to assume that your reader knows nothing about you or your company, so you need to explain in your copy what your site can do for them in terms they understand.  That means knowing who your audience is and how they express themselves in order to make the connection. Keep it simple and everyone is happy.                   

If there are any other aspects of websites that really get to you, please feel free to share them in the comment box below and we can all have a good old moan together. Hopefully it will help a few people to improve the experience for their users – and their sales.

What makes a decent website?

10 Jun

What are your favourite websites?  Why do you like them?  Your attention is being fought over by millions (indeed, squillions) of web pages, and you’ve picked those ones.  I can bet you the reasons you like those websites are because:

  1. They give you what you want
  2. You find them pretty easy to use
  3. They’re interesting
  4. You feel fairly satisfied when you leave – but not quite enough not to return again.

That’s what a good website is about.  However, there are so many things that prevent people from staying on websites and buying the products, using the services or even reading the information found there, if indeed that’s what the site is for.

It’s the same as if you were baking the perfect pie – you’d have to get the right balance of ingredients for it to taste good and for you to want more.  Websites need the right mix of attractiveness, ease of use, relevant and interesting content and engaging words to make you stick around.  Otherwise you get bored and leave.

If you’re interested in finding out more about what makes good web copy, what makes people stay on websites and a bit of social media and SEO info, stay tuned.