5 Web Design Mistakes That Send Users Running
- Gerry Arcari
- September 27, 2012
It’s no wonder that developers choose different paths when building websites given the sheer scale of the web world. That doesn’t mean that we should all stick to ‘common user practices’ to create great, consistent sites. Here, we explore five web design mistakes that send visitors reaching for the back button. Traffic is hard to come by in a competitive world – so the need to keep users once they hit your site is no less than crucial.
1. Poor structure and design
Design is subjective – we all have our own tastes. But poor design can immediately create a barrier to site success. Design isn’t just about making it look pretty – it’s about how the site works too, and by making your customers think about what to do or where to go next, you are bound to increase that bounce rate.
Equally, if your site looks like it was built in the 1990s (that’s officially vintage, you know), you can send the wrong impression to users no matter how good the content is.
2. Poor/unusable navigation
Not every user will find what they want immediately. But if they can’t navigate your site easily, they’ll leave. Make it easy for users so that they invest the time to find what they came for.
‘Mega menus’ may look good, but if they make it impossible to navigate easily, they defeat their purpose. Make sure your site structure is clear and to the point. As the saying goes, ‘Don’t make me think.’
3. Slow loading pages
Speed is a hot topic, with both search engines and users judging websites by how fast they load. If you have slow loading pages, you’ll see increasing numbers of visitors give up before the content has fully loaded.
Every second you knock off your loading time can make a huge difference to your conversion rate, as various studies have shown. Faster content means greater visitor satisfaction. So, keep it simple. And make it snappy.
4. Not built for users
Don’t build your site for search engines, build it for users. They are the people who will share and link to your site.
Long gone are the days where stuffing your page with low quality content will help you in the search engines. In fact, it can harm your ranking and annoy your visitors. Make your content for your users and you’ll see a much better return.
5. Cross browser issues
Simply put, if your website doesn’t work in the popular browsers then you’ll drive visitors away. Cross browser compatibility is a big issue.
Be sure to test in all popular versions of browsers. If you’re running Google Analytics, you can see exactly which browsers people are using to visit your site.
Let this guide your test plan. There’s nothing more damaging to conversions than having 40% of your traffic coming via Internet Explorer 6, and your website not working in that browser.
These are just five of the many web design mistakes that can drive web visitors away. Getting people onto your website is hard enough, so don’t lose them with silly mistakes and overlooked development issues. There are many other things to look out for, but remember; if your website is built for users and is clear and to the point, you won’t have many issues.
This article was written by Gerry Arcari from Vivid Creative in Sheffield. Vivid is a leading web design firm in Sheffield. Outside of the web & branding, Gerry is a very keen cyclist.
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