Think about the last website whose good user experience (UX) blew you away. Did it have a flashing marquee? What about Cosmic Sans font? It’s safe to assume it didn’t have either. Unless, of course, fluffy font is your thing. In that case, this blog may not be for you.
When it comes to websites, marketers and designers love to talk about different elements that make sites impactful and engaging. But with the good comes the bad. If you can focus on what functionality or design not to put on your website, you can make your UX the best it can be. Here’s what you should avoid using to ensure your website is top-notch.
When your website’s navigation is weak, your online visitors can’t find the content they’re looking for. This can quickly cause frustration that leads them away from your site. And a continuously high bounce rate can negatively affect your search engine rankings. To avoid all that trouble, make sure your navigation does not:
- Have too many options, especially in a dropdown (can cover up information)
- Puts unimportant links in the primary bar
- Use text labels that are too long
- Have multiple flyout submenus (also covers up information, inaccessible on mobile)
- Have a confusing flow
- Leave important pages isolated (i.e., not linked back to your homepage)
Now, because your navigation is the centerpiece of your website, here’s some advice on how to make it functional:
- Be descriptive in your labels (but don’t be too wordy)
- Avoid dropdowns (unless it’s a mega dropdown where everything is visible at once)
- Limit the number of items to less than ten
- Order the items by importance
Poor Use of Image and Video
Images and videos can be compelling pieces of content, but if you misuse them, they can become disruptive. For example, too many full-sized images or videos can slow down your site’s speed. No one wants a slow site because not only do visitors hate them but so does Google.
Similarly, auto-playing videos are off-putting to users. The sudden noise can prompt your visitors to mute your video, rendering the content useless, or leave your site entirely. Triggering them using mouseovers proves to be just as disruptive for people, as well. Your best bet when it comes to videos and images is to limit the number of them, make sure they’re optimized, and avoid auto-playing them.
Your website should be orderly, with your elements coming together to create a cohesive look and feel. When your website features too many different colors, fonts, and styles, your users may assume you’re unorganized with undefined branding. If anything seems out-of-place or random, your visitors will notice. Additionally, your UX may be poor if your design:
- Doesn’t utilize color contrast well (i.e., light font color on a light background)
- Doesn’t use contrast at all (when done correctly, it helps information stand out)
- Has text that’s too small
- Makes hyperlinks unclear (i.e., the color is the same as the body text)
- Utilizes super bright colors as backgrounds
- Uses clashing fonts
- Has no emphasis on important text
- Mixes too many different types of graphics (illustrations, icons, real images)
- Doesn’t use white space or has too much going on (minimalism is a growing trend)
Ineffective CTA Placement
Without some call-to-action, you wouldn’t be able to convert your online visitors. That being said, the most significant impact on your UX is not having any CTAs. But if you do use them, you must be careful about how you do so.
For starters, if you have an entry pop-up that asks for your users’ information in exchange for something else, ditch it. This is an old trend of the past. If someone has just landed on your site, they probably don’t know enough about you to sign up for something. If your heart is set on using a pop-up, an exit-intent CTA will perform better.
Additionally, not all of your users will scroll through your entire site, so placing your critical CTAs too far down on your pages will not be effective. However, this could ring untrue for your specific website, so it’s best to utilize a tool like Hotjar to see where people go and click on your website.
Anything That’s Broken
It should probably go without saying that if you have a broken link or image on your site, it’s not good. Do you want your potential customers alerting you of a bad link? Of course you don’t. So, regularly check to make sure your links, forms, images, videos, and other clickable elements don’t produce any errors.
While the look and functionality of your website are critical, the actual content is what convinces a user to buy or use your service. Therefore, you must be aware of the type and amount of content you put on your site. For instance, having too much or too little can backfire. And providing only awareness-level material won’t move your visitors along their buyers’ journey smoothly. More content-related things to avoid:
- Content that doesn’t offer any useful information
- Outdated information (i.e., expired information on your company, your industry, your products, and services, or pricing)
- Not having any consideration or decision-stage content
Not Being Mobile-Friendly
By now, you probably recognize the importance of having a mobile-friendly site, but we’re going to mention it nonetheless. After all, we live in a mobile world, so if your website isn’t responsive, you’re bound to lose visitors. Pinching to zoom, pixelated images, and roll-over or dropdown menus send mobile-users fleeing.
If you’re still shaking your head, try using Google Analytics to see just how much of your traffic comes from mobile versus desktop. Then, see where the traffic falls off. If your site is responsive, hopefully, you have good results. If it’s not, you may want to consider a responsive design. You’ll benefit from a better UX as well as higher rankings on Google.
To Sum It Up
When your site is both functional and well-designed, your visitors will have a better experience while going through its pages. If your site’s navigation is poor with a bad design, no CTAs, and lousy content, those visitors will say goodbye and may never come back. As demonstrated, these elements, along with others, can create a bad UX. To create a fully-effective website requires avoiding them, which in itself is a delicate process.