October 22nd, 2016. Posted by Solvid.
The birth of the Internet means that information can now be relayed to customers with a few simple clicks. Although there has been a number of improvements made to the online world in how quickly the information can be downloaded, the way we navigate the online world has also changed.
This can be due to the Internet becoming more prevalent within our everyday lives, which often require us to have a continuous connection to the Internet. As such, people are using the web for many aspects of their life, whether it be online banking, or updating their social network status.
A lot of users also rely on those behind the scenes to utilise the best user experience possible, regardless of whether they’re at a desktop or using a mobile device.
In order to ensure your website is working in the best manner possible, you should ensure that your users are not experiencing any of the following issues.
1. POOR COLOURS, FONTS & CONTRAST
When the Internet was first introduced, it was hardly pleasing to the eye, simply due to the limitations of technology. However, as the world has evolved into fibre-optic and 4G mobile broadband, the downloading of media is something of a breeze.
This means that the design of any website can now be a major factor. Gone are the days of doing lacklustre fonts and colours that cause something of an eyesore. More and more webmasters and ensuring that their logos are aesthetically pleasing and that text contained within the website is clear, easy-to-read and does not overlap with the background colour.
SOLUTION: Choose a maximum of 3-4 fonts and colours to use on the site. Anything above this level would cause consistency issues, and often some sort of confusion.
2. LACK OF CLARITY
When creating a website, having clusters of information crying for attention on the same screen can actually avert the online user. Instead, ensure you put the most important focal point of your site within the homepage, with clear navigation allowing them to find out more should they wish to.
- Keep the content clean, straightforward and easy-to-understand.
- Avoid polluting your Home Page with unnecessary information. A list of benefit statements and a few paragraphs about the business should do the job very well.
3. NO SOCIAL SIGN-UP
Modern day user is very demanding, and we, as webmasters, have to ensure that interaction with our website is as comfortable as it can be. Even a couple of extra steps in a registration form can quickly turn users away from the site. In fact, 86% of users feel bothered when asked to create a new account on the website.
Imagine having 20-30 different accounts for different sites and having to remember all of the log-ins and passwords. That’s a tough job.
As well as remembering all of the credentials, users have to verify their email address, which becomes even more inconvenient. Social sign-up eliminates this issue.
SOLUTION: If you’re running a site that requires users to create accounts, ensure to enable an option to register with a social network.
4. BROKEN LINKS
Broken Links is one of the most common issues that nearly every medium to large website encounters. Having a link on a blog post or a page that leads to a 404 – not found page would not be a good sign of good user experience, especially if the link is supposed to reveal more useful information.
As well as having an adverse impact on user experience, broken links can lead to indexation issues, where Google and other search engines would not be able to reach the page via the link.
Usually, broken links happen as a result of deleting pages or posts on the site, and forgetting to redirect the existing links to the new pages.
SOLUTION: Whenever you are changing URLs, structure and/or deleting pages and posts, ensure to redirect all of the existing links to the new pages or eliminate the link completely. Use tools like Broken Links Checker or Atomseo to check whether your site has any broken links.
5. POOR NAVIGATION & UNREACHABLE PAGES
Poor website navigation is simply a disaster for both, users and search engines. Unless your site is over 10,000 pages, users should have a seamless experience navigating to a particular page in no more than 3-4 clicks.
Poor navigation can also lead to important pages being unintentionally buried on the site. Hence, if users can’t find the page they are looking for, then they are likely to search for information elsewhere.
SOLUTION: Keep your navigation clean and straightforward. Think about the users, where would they click first to get to the desired page? If you are selling products, make sure to list them under relevant categories and tabs.
6. LACK OF RESPONSIVE DESIGN
First thing first, mobile is rapidly taking over the desktop usage. Currently, mobile traffic accounts for about 50% of all the traffic. Hence, having a non-mobile-friendly website is very likely to hurt, and would give your competitors the edge.
Moreover, Google has recently announced that they are going to divide their index, making the mobile index a primary one. This means that mobile users will receive fresher and better content. Mobile Friendliness is also one of more than 200 ranking factors.
This is clearly an indication that businesses and webmaster who haven’t yet made their sites responsive – are going to miss out.
SOLUTION: Ensure that your website is tablet and mobile friendly. If using WordPress, this simply comes down to choosing a responsive theme that will adjust the site automatically in relation to the screen size.
7. EXCESSIVE POP-UPS
Nobody likes pop-ups, we all know that. That doesn’t mean that they should be eliminated completely. Pop-ups can be effective for email subscriptions or social shares as long as they are not overused or cluttered with useless deals.
We’ve all visited a site that had at least 2 pop-ups on a single page with a tiny cross to close it. Then, another offer pops-up, and that’s when you decide that you should go and look somewhere else.
- Avoid placing multiple pop-ups on a single page
- Ensure smart placement of pop-ups. For example, don’t ask people to sign-up for email updates if they already have.
- Give people an easy option to close the pop-up
8. ASKING FOR TOO MUCH INFO
What often turns people away is the fact that most websites want to get as much information about the visitors before giving out free information. Although it makes sense for us, as marketers, because we often put it a lot of hard work to get the topic researched and published, users don’t feel the same way. The web is supposed to be the field of free information, and therefore, visitors may feel frustrated if you ask them for a telephone number or the address to download a free guide.
If you wish to earn trust and exposure, you will have to produce a lot of quality content and give it out for free, with a hope that someone will appreciate it.
- Avoid asking for too much information. That said, it’s ok to ask for an email address to download a Free E-Book. Yes, there is a thin borderline.
- Don’t implement strategies like “Tweet to Read” (revealing content only when someone tweets the link). This can lead to some serious indexation issues and high bounce rate.
9. INCONSISTENT DESIGN
There are definitely a lot of talented web designers and developers who create beautiful designs. However, there is a thin borderline between great design and consistency.
Far too often, designers create different page layouts and styles for every individual page. This is by no means can create some sort of confusion when users browse around the site. Although this approach may look attractive, it doesn’t always mean that visitors have a pleasing experience on the site.
- Ensure to use the same page template for every page on the site
- Avoid using more than 3 font styles across the whole site
- Don’t over animate your site
10. DID SOMETHING HAPPEN?
This point is specifically applicable for the sites that allow users to share content and create profiles. A lot of websites fail to notify their users when a specific action has been made. For example, on a community-based website, you would want to ensure that a user is being notified whenever someone answers or upvotes his/her question.
Same applies to booking platforms. When someone makes a reservation, the webmaster has to ensure that a purchaser receives a confirmation.
SOLUTION: Ensure to notify the user whenever they are taking specific actions on the site, such as making a purchase or cancelling a reservation.
11. POOR PLACEMENT OF ADS
While it makes sense to ensure that your site is monetized, it’s important that this doesn’t impair with the user experience. There are plenty of ways to ensure that adverts are situated in a way that can be seen, but without being an obstruction for your audience.
Many will understand the requirements for ad placement, as long as it is conducted in the right manner. Similarly, those who see nothing but a series of popup ads will often look to a competitor site instead.
- Test different ad placements to determine which perform better
- Use sections like sidebar to place the ads
- Ensure that ads are relevant to what people are looking on your site
12. LENGTHY CONTACT FORMS
The vast majority of websites use contact forms, whether it’s to allow visitors to get in touch or apply for membership. That said, most websites make the same mistake all the time – lengthy & complicated forms.
Would you be willing to fill out a 10-minute contact form just to get in touch? Probably not. The issue is usually coming from irrelevant fields used within the contact form. For example, as a user, you would be frustrated to give out your address if you are just sending an enquiry.
- If you desperately need to have a lengthy contact form, try to split it into multiple stages and steps. This creates an illusion that the form is much shorter than it actually is.
- Give people motivation. State how long would it take to fill out the form
13. POOR CONTENT
What can be more painful when you are researching a topic and end up on a spammy site stuffed with irrelevant ads and useless content? Although Google and other Search Engines are constantly trying to fight this problem by implementing anti-spamming algorithms, the issue still persists.
In order for a site to rank well and earn authority, it has to host a lot of quality content that carries value to its readers.
- Ensure to produce a constant stream of quality content
- Make the full use of content marketing to reach a broader audience and earn trust
- Avoid the common content marketing mistakes, such as selling too much and not repurposing your content
14. NO DRAG AND DROP FOR IMAGE UPLOADS
This point is particularly applicable to the community-based websites that allow a creation of the profile or file sharing/storage platforms (e.g. Cloud Storage). Sites that don’t offer an option to drag-and-drop a file, whether it be an image or a PDF document, are forcing a user to go through the complicated hierarchy of folders and files on their computers to find a relevant file.
SOLUTION: Offer a seamless experience by providing users with a drag-and-drop function to upload files. Providing a progress bar would also be advantageous.
15. IT TAKES TOO LONG
Slow websites are one of the most common issues that users face on a daily basis. Although this isn’t always the fault of a web developer, users are likely to abort a session if the site does not load within 3-4 seconds. This can then lead to more serious consequences, such as loss in rankings, conversions and traffic.
Furthermore, Google has previously announced that website speed is one of the 200 factors that determine the rank of the site. Therefore, it’s imperative to ensure that your site speed is adequate.
SOLUTION: You can easily improve the performance of your site by following the best practices, such as:
- Compress & Rescale Images (Often the most common cause of the site delay)
- Implement LazyLoad
- Enable GZIP Compression
- Activate page and database caching
- Implement CDN (Content Delivery Network)
- Clean your Database
- Minimise DNS Lookups
Hopefully, by reading this post, you now have an idea of what are the most common user experience issues, and ways to fix these.
Now, it’s time to take action on your site to ensure the best possible experience for your readers and visitors.