We asked our resident webiste expert Terry Rajaram to tell us what he thinks are the worst website design sins, why they cause website abandoment and what can be done to fix it.
1. Not responsive
Have you ever visited a website on your phone and had to magnify all the text and buttons? It’s annoying, right? If you didn’t absolutely need the information on that page, you’d just up and leave, right? Right. Unless your target audience is made up exclusively of people with tiny fingers…maybe you should invest in a responsive website. There’s kind of no way around this one.
Hey there…we don’t even know each other and you’re already trying to shout at me or push your content down my throat. When I visit a website and am instantly bombarded with sound I tend to leave immediately. Also, in the age of mobile viewing, you never know where your website visitors are when they visit your site. Are they at work? In a waiting room? In the bathroom…? Best to give them a choice if they want to hear your soundtrack blasting through their speakers.
The sooner you show me the pop-up, the sooner I’ll go. That said, I can just about tolerate pop-ups that appear after 30-60 seconds, so long as the content is good.
4. Slow load times
Don’t make me wait! If I really want or need to visit your website then I might wait, but if I’m just curious or have clicked a link on impulse then I’m more, buh-bye. There are some simple, but technical ways to improve your load speed. Ask your development team to make some adjustments. If they can’t help you, contact us.
5. Poor navigation
Badly-designed navigation is one of the few truly mortal sins that you can commit as a web professional. Navigation needs to be intuitive, descriptive and straightforward. Flash-based sites tend to be among the very worst sinners (see #10). The best way to improve the situation is to ask yourself, what is my main objective for my website visitors (or even better, top 3)? If your website doesn’t easily and quickly answer this question, you have a problem that needs sorting.
6. Poor information trails
Why is this so difficult? I just want my questions answered, ok? If I can’t find things easily and quickly then I’ll visit your competition. Your goal should be to help people find the information they need. Sometimes this is as simple as making some updates to your navigation, or even adding an FAQ to your website.
7. Immediate sign up / registration demands
Why? Why now? We aren’t married! Heck we are not even dating. Maybe we should get to know each other first. Timing is everything. Ask yourself: how much information does a typical website visitor need before they’d consider giving your their information? After they see a product page? Read your blog? Added something to their cart? People are pretty careful who they give up their information for. It has to be worth their while.
8. Too much movement
It smacks of desperation and attention seeking, and is incredibly annoying. And if your website look like this you’ll probably cause a seizure in someone. If your website looks like this, you need to prioritize what you want to…no, you know what? If your website in any way resembles this, contact us immediately.
9. A lack of clarity
When I visit a website for the first time I need to be able to tell what that company does within seconds. Sometimes I scratch my head for a minute or so, and leave none the wiser. Maybe you want to tell me “What you do” and “How you can help me”.
10. Video-only homepage.
Video is aweome! But long videos that comprise the majority of your website…not so much. Video is time based and linear. If I have the time and inclination I might sit through a three minute video, but I think there should always be a text option (much quicker, and let’s not forget about Google / SEO). Alternatively you can include a quick, 30-second teaser video that give your visitor the option to view the long version.
10. Website built in / with Flash
Flash! Ah-ahhh…(sorry for the incredibly dated reference) Not only does Flash negatively affect your SEO impact, flash sites just plain suck. They’re bad news on mobile and many browsers (including Google) don’t like them. Unless you have a really, really good (and specific) need, get rid of it!
The reality is your website needs a purpose, and it should align with your business goals. In all likelihood – if your website has any of the above issues, it’s doing harm (hurting your business). Maybe we should talk?
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