10 Ways to ruin visitor experience on your website.
After a few weak opening posts, I am going to kick off the blog with something that I think is actually useful for ecommerce website owners: 10 Ways to ruin your visitor’s experience on your website.
Keep your flash to a minimum, and make sure you use a <noembed> tag for the users who don’t have flash. Use it for the occasional banner, but not for your global navigation.
If someone reaches your website and sees only this, it’s bad.
9: Disable Right Clicking.
See that button on your keyboard called ‘Prt Scr‘?
That means print screen, and someone can copy your images whether or not you disable right clicks.
I personally spontaneously right click my mouse all the time. This is probably the reason that I hate the 1 button mouses on Mac’s, and when I get an alert box every time I do it, I get a bit annoyed. Or more appropriately, I leave.
8: Re-size your images only using the width=”” and height=”” html tags.
What do you get when you do this? Slow download speeds, and poor images. If you haven’t figured this out by now, you should probably hire someone else to create and manage your website. Web browsers are less than adequate at properly resizing and interpreting the data from images that are a different size in the browser than the size of the actual image. The actual size of the image never changes, so even really small images take just as long to load as the originals.
Re-size your images in an image editing program, or setup your server to re-size them on the fly. On the fly resizing is a fairly complex task, but can be done with several programming languages (not HTML).
7: Place Google adsense or Yahoo contextual ads everywhere you can fit them.
Any one who has used adsense or Yahoo ads know that every click gets you $10 or more, right?
The best sites are the ones that ruin their website’s design by placing adsense everywhere. Its pretty obvious that these sites aren’t trying to provide any useful information. They’re just trying to get people to click on their ads.
If you are actually trying to make a quality website that people want to come back to, keep the ads to the minimum, and cleanly integrate them into the website.
6: Force visitors to contact you through a complex proprietary system, but don’t let them get the support they want.
Large retail shopping sites seem to be very guilty of this. Google can be pretty hard to get a hold of. I cringe at sites where the contact page is a glorified FAQ page. Sometimes I don’t want to answer 500 questions just to get to a form to hopefully contact the support department. Ticketmaster doesn’t even allow you to contact most of their departments even after they recommend you contact them through their online form.
Almost as annoying was my last customer support experience with Dell. I got transferred 4 times through their online chat system because I wasn’t connected to the correct chat department. Eventually I did get to the correct department, which happened to be the first one I was connected to. After thirty more minutes of slow, painful typing to the Dell rep, he couldn’t help me and I had to call their support department on the phone.
5: Stuff your content with relevant key phrases you want to rank for.
Using your keywords in-front of every word you possible can is a great way to help your site rank in the search engines, and it definitely helps convert your visitors into customers. Making them bold helps even more.
The SEO part may have been the case a few years ago, but as far as helping visitor conversion, well, not so much ever.
4: Use Frames
Frames went out of style about 10 years ago. There are still some great sites that use them which is pretty sad. Frames are terrible for usability. Scrolling doesn’t work the way most people want it to. It’s confusing trying to backup on a website with frames. The list wont ever stop.
If you are still using frames, now is a great time to learn how amazing css design can be, or even table based web design.
3: Don’t let visitors know how they can pay.
The first thing that I do when I get to a website with the intent on purchasing something, is figure out how I can pay. With the exception of some very hard to find items, if I cant see my available payment methods, I leave.
I don’t want to wait until I register to purchase something (discussed below) from your site to see that you don’t accept credit cards. I want to know right away.
Put your accepted payment methods on every page of your website. It will help.
2: Make sure you don’t include an internal search engine on your website.
Something that seems so simple, and is recommended in so many places, but is often forgotten. Even though internal search engines are not always the most efficient methods to find information, they are widely used.
Sadly, three of my favorite blogs, which are some of the foremost expert resources in marketing and usability, don’t have internal search functions. Creating Passionate Users, Seth’s Blog, and GrokDotCom are all lacking even a basic search function. I recently found this out when I was looking for a specific post on one of the blogs. After my searching through the archives failed, I gave up. Needless to say that without a search function on any of the blogs, the search function didn’t even have an opportunity to fail.
1: Require your visitors to register with your website in order to make a purchase.
Why do you need your customers to register to place an order with you?
This is probably the biggest conversion killer out there. All too often registration is required before the shipping prices are shown, which just compounds the situation.
I’m not even going to explain why. Just stop doing it.
Some other recent posts related to poor usability:
Seomoz – The Successful Website’s Natural Enemy – Instructions
Can Accessibility And Usability Live In Harmony?
For some great examples of bad sites that the owners are at least trying to improve, checkout: http://fixmysite.blogspot.com
If you are a web designer, take this site as an example not to follow.
Subscribe to the RSS feed and have all new posts delivered straight to you.