The 10 most egregious offenses against consumers are often the most overlooked part of website design. They may seem like a great idea to a business owner, but they make it difficult for users to find or use your website.
1. PDF Files
Most users don’t want to open up PDF files, especially when using a smartphone. PDF files are optimized for printing, not browser use. If the information is important, why not put it on a web page? This will make it easier for your users to read.
2. Print Layouts for Articles and Blogs
To draw users into the text and support scan-ability, use layouts for web writing. Do not write as if you are creating an essay for school. Consider the following when writing an article or blog:
- Bulleted lists
- Highlighted keywords
- Short paragraphs
- Put the explanations at the end
- A simple writing style
- Remove the fluff
- Address the consumer’s problem in the first two sentences
3. Advertisements & Fillers
Those who are shopping for an Acme Widget know what one looks like, or is used for. Do not waste time telling people you have the best widgets, or fill the page with a description of a widget. Instead, think about ways you can help people determine whether this widget will work for them.
Selective attention is powerful. Today’s consumers have learned to stop paying attention to ads or content that interrupts their goal-driven navigation.
4. Opening in New Browser Windows
This may seem like a great idea when building a website, but if the consumer ends up with five or more opened pages it becomes more of a burden. If it crashes their browser then they won’t want to buy from you, even if your product was the best one.
5. Not Answering Consumer Questions
Consumers are goal-driven. The shopping experience is all about them.
They visit websites because there’s something they want. The ultimate failure of a website is to avoid offering the information users are looking for.
The biggest mistake is not including the price, or making them fill out the shopping cart to find out the taxes and shipping costs.
Bonus! – Product Comparisons and Guarantees
A website must soothe consumer’s fears about buying the wrong product, or they’ll postpone their purchases. There is no guarantee that they will return to your site when they do decide it is time to buy. When a website has multiple products in the same category then explain product differences so clearly that it’s obvious to people who lack industry expertise why they should buy one particular product over the others.
Guarantee that you will stand behind your product. Do this when you are describing the product. Don’t ask the consumer to scroll down to the footer, search the fine print menu, and then click to another page to find the guarantee. Click here for more information on web design and our design