Monday, June 17, 2013

5 Ways to Annoy your Website Visitors

Have you ever left a site that had exactly what you were searching for but couldn't deal with the website antics themselves? Hopefully a good web consultant will let the customer gently know that certain web design offerings detract from the products and services that the customer wants to get out there. I recently had to complain to Amazon about their website. I couldn't shop their offerings because of distractions in the sidebars. Even the big guys need to focus on the real reason for the website and that is to sell and give information on products, not demonstrating a mastery of web bells and whistles. Here are a few things to avoid when you're looking at web design:

  1. Ads that drop in and around. I recently came on a site that surrounded me with advertisements. The ads dropped down from the top of the screen and surrounded me from the left and right sidebars. The ads then followed me as I scrolled down the screen. I immediately left the site. This website reminded me of those physical stores where you are surrounded by sales people talking in each of your ears only this one has the added component of someone dropping down from the ceiling.
  2. Flashing that doesn't stop. Vegas neon works fine in Vegas but really detracts from a positive web site experience. If you feel that your side bar must flash then include a timer so that the flash doesn't  continue for the entire time that the customer is on your site. Certain people with disabilities are unable to withstand some of the flashing lights. You probably would like these people to be your customers too. Is the Vegas style even appropriate to your services and products?
  3. Music that auto plays---or worse yet auto plays and doesn't have an off option. I've seen sites that offer business products with auto music. Imagine being in a quiet office and the boss asks you to price paper. Would you really spend much time on a site that blares the Rolling Stones at you as you browse?
  4. Drop down menus that don't work. With recent programming enhancements there has been a rash of websites that have lightning fast menus. Barely have you moved your cursor when you find yourself on a new page with little knowledge of how you got there. Web people may find these lightning fast menus efficient with their nimble web ready fingers and super up to date equipment. But most customers don't fall into the web expert category. Solicit feedback from your customers and redesign accordingly.
  5. Those fading fonts. Designs are constantly evolving and one of the trends is toward lighter fonts. Keep in mind that the population is aging. Also remember that there are people out there in your potential customer population that are color blind. Fonts need to be readable by everyone that views your site. Include verbiage so that even the blind can be potential customers.
Your website should reflect what happens in your physical business (or if you had a physical business). You want to greet customers to your site, allow them time to browse, and offer plenty of information to make choices. And don't forget to be there for them when they have questions or want to buy. Just as you wouldn't install a disco ball in your physical store to show off your construction skills, you shouldn't add needless bells and whistles to show off web construction skills. Sometimes less is so much more---more in sales and that is what it is all about.  

What annoys you when browsing?

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