Website design is a tricky subject to master, and keeping a user’s attention on the page is even trickier. The average computer user/ website visitor is a finicky creature. They like things that are easy to digest both visually and cognitively.
A website visitor likes websites that are aesthetically enjoyable, easy to understand, navigate or interact with and either informative, entertaining or highly functional (depending on the intention of the site).
The best, and most popular, websites on the internet have the aspects previously mentioned in common.
How to Ruin You Website’s User Experience -
The practices mentioned below are the practices you should AVOID when designing a website or, else these could ruin your website’s user experience.
Using too many “sign up” or “sign in” options.
Too many options will result in confusion, which then ultimately results in fewer visitors to your site.
Imposing a limit on the length of a visitor’s password.
When signing in, it is best to avoid limiting a password to a certain amount or type of characters, especially if there is no financial risk involved (i.e. someone couldn’t hack the account and cause financial troubles for the user). Again, simplicity is crucial and having to come up with too complicated of a password will result in fewer visitors to the website.
Sending confirmation e-mails.
Sure, some sites may need confirmation e-mails, but most do not. So be mindful of whether or not a confirmation e-mail in necessary for your website.
Using a confusing format.
Always keep in mind that the website needs to be user-friendly, so always try to keep in mind basic design principles, such as hierarchy of information and an easy-to-navigate home page that sticks to the basics and does not get too fancy.
Don’t get to know your visitors.
Just as a writer must always keep their audience mind, so too does a web designer. Become familiar with what your visitors likes, age, gender and race. All of those demographics will become useful in choosing the content and overall feel of the website.
Provide sub-par content.
Websites do not get popular just because they look pretty. In the end, the visitor is coming to your site looking for useful, engaging, unique and informative content.
In today’s modern age, in which a visitor’s attention span is ever-shrinking, freshness is the name of the game. A popular website must continuously update itself with a new look and new content.
Very few things will perturb a visitor more than a boring, uncreative website design. Even if the site has the greatest content available, a visitor will close the window at the drop of a dime if the design and ease of use of the website is not up to snuff. So try to be fun, imaginative and on the cutting edge of website design.
Ignore user feedback.
If a visitor takes the time to let you know what they liked or did not like about your website, you need to listen. The information gathered from user feedback forms will clue you into how to achieve some of the goals listed above. Keep in mind that detractors are generally more vocal than protractors, so don’t let the negativity effect your psyche. Understand that you’re going to receive more negative than positive feedback, correct for the issues and move forward.
The longer spent thinking instead of doing can put your website at a huge disadvantage. Taking action is the name of the game. If there’s a tweak that needs to be made or stale content that needs to be removed, don’t delay!
The ideas above are relatively common, but so too are the number of website designers or operators who ignore them. We get wrapped up in working on what we want to do and forget to bring it back to the basics and check to make sure we aren’t making common mistakes.
About the Author:
Jonathan Martin works principally as a Seattle Magento developer, but also assists clients with end to end website design and development. His years in the industry have taught him that the simple mistakes are often the most common.