Often times, in an attempt to achieve aesthetic perfection on their websites, business owners forget about important elements that ensure an enjoyable experience for their users. A user-friendly website is not only about beautiful and unique design. Design alone doesn’t mean great usability.
At the same time, usability does not equal a visually pleasing design. What makes users come back and use a site again and again is the right combination of both, but that is a fine line that can sometimes become a real hassle. The key to striking this balance lies in putting users’ interests first, not your own.
Businesses that fail to do so end up having to deal with user irritation, high abandonment rates, low conversions, poor SERPs and a terrible reputation. And, for online businesses, this doesn’t bode well.
How often have you accessed a website and left shortly after because it wasn’t something you expected? How often do you find yourself annoyed while visiting your own website? Be careful. These exact same things may be irritating to your visitors as well.
What Annoys Your Users About Your Website
#1 Slow Load Speed
Approximately 40% of your visitors will be mad and, even worse, will abandon your website if it doesn’t fully load in less than three seconds. Slow load speed and overall website performance will not play into your hand. Website load time has to be #1 on your list of priorities because it is going to be the first thing that affects first impressions. Pay close attention to image sizes, broken links, your amount of rich content and broken code to fix this problem.
Nowadays, Internet users prefer mobile devices over desktop. So far, not every website has succeeded in keeping up with the fast pace of ever-developing mobile user’s needs by optimizing for mobile. Sure, this frustrates the owners of mobile devices. Today, we are required to adjust quickly and provide seamless user experience regardless of what devices users like better.
#3 Long Intros
Seriously, a long intro looks cool only once – when your user gets onto your website for the first time. If you want your users to come back and enjoy using your website, cut it out. Even if your intro has a “skip” option, cut it out. Users want to use your website, but do not want to wait until you are done showing off how cool your special effects are.
#4 Autoplay Media
Users hate when music or videos start to play without requesting them to. Guess what they usually do when they come across a website that auto plays media? They close the window or click the “back” button. Your user should be the one to choose whether or not to listen to your theme song or watch a video of someone talking about your products and services.
#5 Distracting Animations
Too much animation, blinking advertisements or other interactive components distract your users from the purpose of why they got onto your website in the first place. If users cannot orient themselves on your website in no more than 3-5 seconds, you’ve lost them as customers.
#6 Multiple Pop-ups
Anything that pops up on your website and takes over your user’s attention is annoying. Sign-ups, subscribe requests, downloads or any other pop-up CTAs, especially those that guilt-trip users who are not yet willing to get your emails or download your PDFs, are not making your user’s journey pleasant at all.
#7 Complex Navigation
Who ever said that unusual navigation was a good idea? Users don’t like to be confused by complex navigational schemes. They want to have a clear understanding of how to easily find the important parts of your website and, at the same time, make the minimum possible clicks when going through your menus. And don’t forget to add search boxes and filters.
#8 Improperly Implemented Internal Linking
Links that don’t open in a new tab, but, instead, in the same window, make people mad, especially if your visitors are not done reading the page they are currently on. Another annoying thing about internal linking is links that point to pages that have nothing in common with the content they are linked to. This should be avoided.
#9 Hard-to-Read Text
Poor readability occurs when there is inadequate contrast between the text and background colors, complex fonts or long bulky paragraphs. Keep in mind, users only read approximately 28% of the information on your website, the rest is just scanned. So your task, obviously, is to improve scannability to better reach your audience.
#10 Keyword-Stuffed Content
Even though Google punishes websites for stuffing content with keywords, you can always find websites with owners who didn’t hear this news. Hopefully, you are not one of them. Keyword-stuffed copy gives users the feeling that the content was last updated at least 10 years ago. This doesn’t facilitate a great reader experience.
#11 No Social Media Buttons
Sure, this depends on the type of your business and what you offer to your users. But if your website contains content that visitors find share-worthy, you’d better give them an opportunity to share it. Would you ask them to copy and paste your URLs? Really? Don’t force your users to do this. Add social media sharing buttons to your pages and blog posts to provide better UX.
It’s hard to find a site on the Web that pleases each and every user and there are no fixed rules on how to create the perfect user-friendly website. The above list is a compilation of common things that drive users nuts, but they are not all there is. This article can give some basic insight on how to refine your website and start moving toward the goal of “better usability”.
Looking to provide better UX to your users? Leave your website to the professionals.