The good, the bad, and the ugly of user experience design

Digital360 on 2 August 2017

Have you ever been tricked into accidentally keeping an online subscription? Or made a bad commitment because you didn’t read the fine print? People make these mistakes all the time, thanks to poor user experience.

Recently, some people inadvertently committed to 1000 hours of community service when signing up for free WiFi. While the WiFi scenario was a gag exercise, others are not so lucky. But trickery – intentional or not – can ruin a website’s reputation and deter future customers. Investing in website optimisation is on the rise, but some SMEs are still lagging behind. Sadly, user experience (UX) mistakes are common.

UX is the process of enhancing user satisfaction with a website by improving its usability and accessibility. UX is concerned with how the overall design of a website helps the user complete their task easily and enjoyably.

So, why does optimising your website for UX matter? Well, poor UX will cost your business. It will discourage new users from visiting and old visitors from returning. Ultimately, poor UX design will impact the customers you'll convert online.

Here are 5 of the most annoying UX mistakes and how to avoid making them.

1. Call to action buttons that go nowhere

Have you ever clicked on a button and nothing happened? This is one of the most common, yet easy-to-fix, UX mistakes made by web developers and designers.

CTAs are integral to a strong digital strategy, but are only effective when they function correctly. Users want to be prompted, so well-placed, functional CTAs work for converting customers.

2.Static web pages that won’t move

A non-responsive webpage is one of the most crippling UX mistakes you can make. Most internet users are now choosing mobile and tablet devices over desktop. A website that doesn't 'respond' to these devices not only will make your visitors frustrated, it will also perform poorly in search engine results.

It's easy to find out what device most of your visitors are using by checking analytics data from search engines like Google. If your website is non-responsive, users will not see the information they need easily, and quickly exit your site.

Responsive web design is aimed at desktop webpages being viewed in response to screen size, where all text and images are optimised for smaller screens. If you are unsure about the responsiveness of your website, it's simple to find out with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test.

3. The academic essay and complicated copy

Clear copy is one of the core tenants of a great user experience. Long and complex blocks of text will confuse and distract your users from achieving their task. At a time when user attention must be grabbed in at least the first 10 seconds, great copywriting has never been so important.

Instead of putting all your information in one text block, break it up with headings, sub-headings, customer testimonials and relevant imagery.

If you're thinking about hiring a copywriter for your next web project, make sure they work closely with your designer and web developer. This ensures design and content go hand-in-hand.

4. Filling in that long form

Usability and form design go hand-in-hand. Best-practice methods suggest there are six components to a web form: labels, input fields, actions, help, messages and validation. A well-made form won't get in the way your visitor achieving their goal.

Don’t ask for too much information up front. There’s nothing worse than a user having to give their life story when signing up to a whitepaper or filling out an enquiry.

A/B testing is a great method of testing the effectiveness of a form. Simply change one key difference between variant A and variant B then review analytics data to see which one gets more conversions.

5. Intrusive pop ups harm, not help

When it comes to UX design, less is more. Internet users are experienced enough to know when they’re being sold to. In this way, bombarding site visitors with pop ups will only make them frustrated.

Exiting a pop-up block can be hard. This makes users frustrated because they cannot access the information they want. Make sure there is a recognisable exit button so that users can make their own choice. And avoid CRO tactics like 'confirmshaming', too.

It’s important that pop ups do not diminish the experience of your users. Short term conversions gained by an intrusive pop-up can come at the cost of building long term trust. Many visitors may think twice about dealing with your business in the future.

Investing in website optimisation

UX mistakes are common. But fixing website design issues are often at the low end of an SME's priority list. However, simple changes to a website can make a huge difference to a business's bottom line. By investing in digital marketing and website optimisation, SMEs do see remarkable year-on-year growth.

Contact one of our digital design specialists in Melbourne for an assessment of your site's performance.