1. Interactive Sliders
Sliders have been proven to engage very little activity from visitors. They are also a very annoying feature. Have you ever seen a slider on an eCommerce website and saw a deal you wanted to click and missed it? So, if you were lucky, there were arrows that you could scroll thru till you found it again. If you weren’t so lucky, they made the slider without arrows and no way to manually control the slider. So you had to sit and WAIT for the slide to come back. The majority of users, just don’t wait.
Sliders ‘feel like advertisements’ making your site instantly feel cheap and spammy in which visitors have conditioned themselves to ignore. Sliders are only good for useless information that you don’t care if your visitors see or not. Such as blog posts or your latest articles.
Sliders are an accessibility issue because screen readers and keyboards users cannot interact with them the same way visual visitors can.
The internet is VERY competitive and every second you spend WASTING a visitors time is more reason for them to deject off the website increasing your bounce rate and further decreasing your SEO value. Most people & businesses, don’t need to use sliders.
2. Embedded Maps
I’ve completely stopped embedding maps on most my client websites. The reason is because most people just don’t interact with it and it creates unneeded load time on a page, especially if they are loading maps on every single page. Yikes!
I prefer to use a link that says ‘open map’ or ‘view directions’ and have the visitor open Google maps or Bing maps easily in most phones or computers. It’s a much nicer user experience because they can very easily start getting directions, more often than not, using their phone for GPS.
3. Fixed Main Menu Navigation
I’ve started opting out of the fixed navigation that scrolls with the user.
Reason 1: It speeds a website up and saves on load time. When a menu is fixed, it’s constantly making calls to the browser to retain that information as it’s being used. Stop the scrolling navigation and you’ll see and increase in load time.
Reason 2: Visitors scroll and while they scroll they should be guided on a tour of what you want them to do next. Reducing their options in the line of site. Reducing options gives us greater control in what a user see’s and what they can interact with as they scroll the page.
Modern web design is removing the menu almost entirely. Some websites favor the hamburger menu, making this ideal in directing websites visitors to interact the way we tell them to. Not allowing them to make their own choices. If done right, this can increase sales of your service or product.
4. Too many choices. Lack of Direction
Stop giving visitors a choice. Give them direction. Reduce distractions and increase the visibility and clarity of content. Too many websites out there just say TOO many things. Overwhelming an already short attention spanned society. Too many messages = no message.
Have you ever been to a restaurant that gave you TOO MANY choices? It takes you forever to go thru the menu. Not to mention, that you are going to spend more time making sure you make the right choice, because there are so many to choose from. Then you forget about half the stuff you read anyway and start seeing new stuff. Which restaurants are most successful in today’s market? It’s Burger joints like In & Out Burger that give you the least amount of options. Those Burger joints have perfected the few options they have and make decisions easy for people in line. They make the choice faster and the food comes out faster.
When you create less choices for your visitors, you then need to give them direction on what you actually WANT them to do. Focus on 1-3 call to actions that are important for your visitors to know and interact with. In my case, in my own design (as a web developer), it’s important for my visitors to visit my web design portfolio, my client reviews, and to contact me. I want them to see the quality work I provide, trust me and call me.
5. Overcrowding Content / Not using White space
Forcing too much textual information on a landing and home pages isn’t a great for converting visitors into customers. Web surfers tend to scan thru content. So when we say what we want, with less words, they are more likely to read our message and slow down. Smaller paragraphs and smart use of imagery and white space make for better user experiences. Don’t be fooled. Just because white space looks simple, doesn’t mean it is. It takes a keen eye to know what to say, how to say it and where to put it in the website to get the message across in an effective way. Having education in marketing and design goes along way.
Notice the before in this picture. It’s not terribly crowded like some really bad sites out there, but pay attention to the after picture on the right. Notice how your eye is drawn to the text on the right? The use of imagery fits the verbiage? Notice we don’t give them a lot of options? There really is just the main menu and a call to action button to choose from on the home page. White space doesn’t always have to be white. It’s just an intelligent use of space to get your message READ instead of skipped.
6. Not explaining what the company does for the visitor
If you sell products, SHOW those products immediately. Don’t make your visitors HAVE to search beyond the landing page to find something to buy.
However, if you provide a service, explain that in the first 1 to 2 sentences above the fold.
However, there are different kinds of products that require explanation. Those types that need presentations in order for the visitor to understand how it functions and why it’s different from the rest. Those would need a very skilled way of presenting the materials to the visitor. One great example would be the Purple Pillow & Mattress website. Lots of people sell pillows. However, this company had done rather well in sales because not only do they sell a very superior pillow, they have presented it in a way that is very conversion friendly. The use of white space is beautiful too.
7. Not Including Staff Imagery
If you are a business that interacts with your customers or clients, having staff imagery is highly important for converting a visitor into a contact. Humans naturally make connections with other humans for various reasons. Without that imagery, then we treat websites like any other business and we have missed our chance to envoke emotions from the visitor. Take a look at my home page. I’ve included an image of myself so that the visitor makes an instant connection to me rather than ‘just a web developer’. Adding that human touch is imperative in softening the the visitor and building trust.
8. Too Many Animations
Animations are cool, but too many can slow a website down and are unnecessary in most circumstances for conversions. Movement is caught by the eye before anything else. Messages in your text or images could be overlooked. Making it harder to get your message across and increasing bounce rate.
Visual Page Analytics
Would you like to see detailed information on how your visitors interact with your page? Which links do they click most? Which buttons are getting more traction. What areas are being ignored? Try installing this Google chrome Page Analytics extensions for an easy visual of click activity on your website.
Is there anything I’ve left out? What sort of conversion and user friendly tactics have you been implying in web design?