Sunday, October 14, 2007

10 reasons why your website sucks

Tips for improving your websites usability ...

"There are a lot of excellent websites out there and many have focused on improving the user experience in recent years, but there are still a lot of sites that fail to pay enough attention to usability issues.

After the jump, our list of the things that annoy us about websites, some from well known brands who really should know better...

1. Poor navigation
People visit your website to find information or the product they are looking for. Navigation should be easy to find and use, and always located in the same spot on every page. Make users work too hard on this and they won't hang around. Don't try to reinvent the wheel with your navigation (a common complaint with Flash sites - see reason 4 for more), just make it as straightforward and obvious as possible.

2. Too many 'Bookmark My Site' buttons
If someone wants to bookmark your site, they will do it, no need to ask them. In addition, adding this button wastes valuable space on your web page. Social Media Icons Overload Syndrome is another example of this sort of madness, as Matt Linderman has pointed out in the past.

3. Site intros / Interstitials
See for a downright appalling example of this. NOBODY wants to watch a 30 second advert before they get to the article they want to read. At least with Forbes you can skip the intro, though some sites make it hard to find the link to do this. But that's no use - we've stopped reading Forbes around these parts, just to avoid The Rage.

4. Excessive use of Flash
Flash has its uses, but we don't think there's any reason for using it to power your website. When done badly, it can take up bandwidth, can confuse users with bizarre navigation and control mechanisms, and there are plenty of issues relating to accessibility. River Island, which stupidly relaunched a Flash-based site as recently as 2006, is one example of this - it even carries an apology to all the disabled customers who cannot access the site. On the flipside, Flash is sometimes used well for rich microsites, such as the one that supports the excellent Sony Bravia ads.
5. Overlay ads
Thankfully, this kind of advertising is less prevelant than it used to be, but some sites still persist, including the likes of The Guardian and The Times (a shame as they are otherwise excellent sites). Overlays are simply awful for the user experience. Advertisers shouldn't be buying them. Publishers should disown them and sort out their ad strategies, rather than selling out. Interruptive advertising will ultimately die. It's this sort of thing that has led to the rise of pop-up blockers and ad-skipping PVRs/Tivo/Sky+ boxes."    (Continued via E-consultancy)    [Usability Resources]


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