The information laid out in this article was created to help designers deal with issues from the year 2017. There are several design-related issues that seem to have appeared in the year 2017 that have not been resolved yet. Some have appeared due to changes in technology, and other have appeared due to changes in the way people access websites, which includes changes in the way Google works.
It is up to designers to either find solutions for these issues, or to avoid making similar mistakes in the future.
- Quit Adding Auto-Start Videos
Of all the annoying elements a website can have, an auto-start video is probably one of the most anger inducing. They are also the reason why many people will quickly bounce from your web page.
If somebody is on the Internet, then he or she is doing it in silence and/or he or she has some sort of music or video on in the background. What people don’t want is a sudden and unsolicited noise from their computer, especially from a stupid video that they didn’t want or ask for.
People have even started altering their web browsers so that they may stop auto-start videos from playing. There are websites full of tips and extensions that show youhow to stop auto-play videos from startingwhile you browse the Internet. Not only are auto-start videos annoying, they are also bad manners. The user chooses what to watch, the user will not have videos stuffed down his or her throat.
- Test, Test, Test And Re-Test Your Virtual Content Before Presenting It
You should consider a virtual version of your website, but stop trying to be one of the first to create a popular virtual website. Firstly, interest in virtual technology only seems to flare up during the holiday seasons, which is usually when the big brands bring out their new version. Secondly, a virtual device is not a go-to device for Internet browsing. Thirdly, your competition is almost none existent because very few companies have created a website that is fully and smoothly optimized for use with a virtual device.
If you have had the sorry task of testing virtual websites, you will know that most of them are terrible. If the gaming industry hasn’t yet created a worthwhile game to play on a virtual device, then why are you rushing to create your virtual website? Do yourself a favor and repeatedly test your virtual website before you inflict it on the public.
- Stop Using Popup technology
People used to be concerned about popup adverts, but they don’t really exist these days unless you visit a naughty website such as a piracy or pornography website. However, many websites have a popup that appears when you visit their website.
The best websites don’t have any form of popup. Average websites have a popup that appears upon your first visit and then doesn’t appear again until you visit again. Bad websites have a popup on every page, and the worst website have a popup that appears whenever you leave a page.
Just stop with popup adverts. They are becoming more and more aggravating because more and more people are using them, and that is in turn creating a series of metrics that convince people they are successful conversion tools. Just stop using them, they are annoying, and they don’t work nearly as well as their creators claim they do.
- Super Simple Almost Works
A writer for DesignMojo claimed that super simple home pages are becoming more and more popular, but there is a limit to what some people may call a simple home page. Nobody wants to return to the days where websites start with an opening graphic that fades and then redirects to a home page, and nobody wants to return to the days when home pages were too busy. Nevertheless, simplicity has its limits.
It doesn’t really express a genuine or usable brand principle, it doesn’t offer very much, and people who are not mobile-phone tech savvy may not know to click on the menu bars hidden at the top right of the screen. The website doesn’t even indicate that you may click on the red text to be taken to another page. Still, let’s not return back to the old days when home pages were too busy.
- Stop Being So Optimistic With Regards To Eye Tracking Predictions
Many web designers are taught to consider where the user’s eye lands and where it will go. Designers are taught to lead the eye, but your personal experience with the website you are designing makes you a very bad judge of where the user is going to look. Designers become too close to their designs to the point where they are no longer a good judge of its flaws or where the eye will be led.
Here is what web designers hope their readers will do:
Here is what website readers actually do before they bounce:
Eye-tracking software and a gaggle of willing testers may help you get a better idea of where people look at when they visit your website. However, before you start testing, simply pull back your optimistic expectations. For example, you could concentrate on getting people to look at one page element and then consider it a bonus if the user looks at something else prior to bouncing.
- Site Searching – Apple iTunes Doesn’t Excel at It
Place your site search function somewhere on your website that people expect to see it. If you have a sidebar, then put it near the top of the sidebar. Otherwise, you should put your search bar at the top of your web page. The only real exceptions to this rule are if you are running a comparison website where the search bar is the focus of the website’s usability.
Now that you have your search bar in the right place, you need to optimize it to work as smoothly and as quickly as possible for the user. For example, if you use Apple iTunes, it is actually quicker and far easier to find something using Google than it is to visit the Apple iTunes website and search using its search bar. It is amazing that such a big company has allowed this problem to exist for so long. They are so busy trying to sell you things based on your cookies that you cannot find what you are really looking for. Do not make a similar mistake.
- Stop The Ping Noise For Unsolicited Live Chat
If you listen to music or videos with your headphones on, then the worst thing you can hear is a loud ping from a website. More and more websites have live chat installed into them, but there are some websites that have the live chat function pop up without any form of solicitation. What is worse, some of the websites have installed a loud ping noise to go along with the unsolicited message they force on you.
The essay writing industry also uses this trick which isn’t good because their target student audience is one of the demographics that is most likely to have earphones in while searching for writing services.
The shock of hearing the loud ping noise on your headphones, especially the fact it is unexpected, is enough to make users go onto social media and rant about it. Unsolicited live chat messages, be they automated or not, are annoying enough, but the loud ping noise is the icing on the cake.
- Enable Task Completion Wherever Possible
A year after the Google Hummingbird update came out and Google started acting more like AI than a complex program, the Google bloggers started writing about the trend where people were running Google searches with full sentences rather than with a string of keywords. Surly, some of them must have noticed that the Google auto-complete/suggestions function was to blame.
The suggestions and clickable auto-complete function is probably the reason why Google is still so popular. You don’t even have to make sense when you type your query into Google, and you certainly don’t have to worry about getting your spelling correct. Mash a few keys that vaguely resemble what you want to research, and Google offers suggestions that you can click on.
This sort of task-completion paradigm should be carefully weaved into every possible part of your website, from clickable auto-sign in, to your search bar offering suggestions based on the misspellings that your viewers entered into it.
- Don’t Be So Concerned About Slow Loading Times
Stop believing figures and research in general because they are not always as helpful as you expect. For example, Amazon said that every one second delay will decrease their sales by 7%, but that is Amazon’s problem. The Amazon website does very little selling because most of their customers have already decided what they want and now they are just looking for the best supplier. Unless you have a website like Amazon, then you shouldn’t worry too much about loading times.
People have such fast Internet connections and computer devices that websites take seconds to render and load. Most people rarely even think about loading times. It only becomes an issue if the loading time is excessively long. Otherwise, you shouldn’t worry about creating a heavy website.
Don’t be fooled by data that suggests websites with slow loading times will do worse on Google because it doesn’t apply to you. If you are not sure about that, then try trimming down one of your current websites and see if the increased loading speed makes that much of a difference. Google judges your website on so many factors that loading time doesn’t even matter unless your website is so poorly optimized that it takes an excessively long time to load.
- Get Your Mouseover Delay Correct With User Testing
If you use dropdown menus, then you need to make sure that the active elements in your menu are clearly visible and that they clearly stand out. You need a comfortable space for the viewer’s mouse cursor sit in. You need to make sure that the content does not disappear too quickly if the user’s mouse cursor ventures outside of the menu item.
You don’t want the delay to be too slow, or the user will have his or her mouse hovered over the menu item for seconds before the next menu item spawns. Nevertheless, it is no fun if the menu items disappear and the user has to go back and re-hover over a previous menu item to re-spawn the one that just appeared.
Have a number of people user test your website while you watch them. Don’t rely on people/testers mentioning flaws such as this because testers only mention things such as this if it goes from a minor irritation to an annoyance. You need to watch over the shoulder of your tester yourself to enable you to spot problems such as this. If you see your visitor playing a game of ‘chase the content’ when trying to click a target before it vanishes, then you have a problem with your mouseover delay.
Conclusion – Testing Only Gets You Part Of The Way
If you learn anything from this article, then consider the fact that research data is not as useful as it seems unless it is exclusive to your website, and testers are not as useful as they seem because sometimes you have to stand over them to see what they are doing and why. The tips on this article address issues that are relevant in the year 2017. Hopefully, some of the issues, such as popups and terrible VR websites will be a thing of the past one day.
BIO: Laura Buckler aims to deliver creative and strategic content that will engage the audience and make them take action. In addition to being a strategic writer, Laura helps many companies boost their engagement and reach millions of readers. You can follow her on twitter.