More Reasons Why I Hate Your Website

A while back, I wrote a post about irritating website features. I’ve just done another round of heavy Internet research, and ran into more disturbing trends–not as much in the data, but in the execution. Maybe these features sounded like a good idea when you planned your website, but consider their effect on the user. Or at least on this user. Here are six more reasons why I hate your website:

1. Slideshows. Oh, how I hate slideshows. When I’m doing research, I’m on the clock. I want my information and I want it quickly. If I’m writing an article on cooking with insects, I don’t want to manually scroll through 45 separate windows containing a paragraph each on different ways to serve Madagascar hissing cockroaches. This makes me not only want to leave your site and never return, but write you a nasty letter demanding a refund for all the time I wasted going through all those slides. Yes, they can be fun and entertaining. But please, either limit your slideshows to ten panes or offer the information in a quick list form.

2. Save your surveys. Imagine that I’ve just arrived at your home page. I’m quickly scanning the information, looking for what I need. I find the right link, and just before I’m about to click on it–Bam! The entire window fills with an invitation to take your survey. I am not happy. I don’t know you, you’ve done nothing for me, but you’re asking me how I like your business. If I approached a brick-and-mortar establishment, and a salesperson stopped me as I was opening the door to ask what they could have done to improve my shopping experience, I’d wonder what she’d been imbibing during lunch break. If you have given me information, for instance, if I’ve downloaded something or signed up for your newsletter, if I’d spent a lot of time on the site or was a returning customer, then I’d consider your survey invitation more seriously. Otherwise, keep it to yourself. New Balance’s website, shopnewbalance.com, has this down to a science. They wait until you’ve bought a product to ask for your comments.

3. Readability, people! I was recently sent an HTML e-mail chock full of links. It was for something that I really wanted: a fun-filled day at ComicCon as a reward for attending a trade show last year. Unfortunately, these links were dark blue on a black background. I couldn’t even read them to figure out what I wanted to click on. Prevent this from happening by sending a preview of your HTML e-mails to someone over 40 before you blast them to your entire database.

4. The geek factor. Now, I love geeks. I am 70% geek, by my estimation. Even if your website was designed by your IT department, don’t make it look that way. Dead giveaways? Type that runs all the way to the edge of the windows. Lots of charts. Too many fonts and no apparent thought as to their alignment. More attention given to navigation than design. For the best combination of user appeal and user friendliness, your site should be designed by an artist who has been trained to create websites, rather than a technologist who has been trained to create art.

5. No means no.  Unless I’ve experienced a power failure, leaving your website requires a decision and a physical action. When, upon deciding to leave, various windows keep opening imploring that I reconsider my decision to go elsewhere, it smacks of desperation. I’ve made my mind up. Leave me alone. Okay, maybe I’ll tolerate one reminder in case I’ve accidentally closed the window. After all, my software says, “Are you sure?” to my decisions throughout the day, so I’m accustomed to one bit of nagging. But that’s all. I mean it. Don’t make me come down there.

6. Proofread. Just because you can make changes to your website any time you wish does not excuse you from throwing it up there full of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. We’re all human (gasp, even me!) and we all make mistakes. But when the errors are excessive or unfortunate—for example, “pubic” when you meant to write “public” (yes, I’ve seen this, in an e-book)—it makes your pages unreadable and seriously undermines your credibility. If proofreading isn’t your thing, hire a professional. Otherwise, I’ll be navigating somewhere else.

What are you seeing lately on the web that ticks you off? Anything going on that you especially like? Let’s talk!

Five Reasons Why I Hate Your Web Site

I’m a writer, which means I spend a lot of time on Facebook and reading my friend’s blogs doing research on the web. Consequently, I must have landed on more pages than ex-Senator Mark Foley. Many of these sites are great, and I can get what I need quickly and easily and get on with my article about the medicinal value of Madagascar hissing cockroaches. Some sites, however, have ticked me off so thoroughly that I’ve vowed never to return. Here’s what I hate about your web site:

1. You make me give up my e-mail address just so I can read your content. This is so wrong. Not only does that input window block everything I want to read (I imagine that’s its purpose), but it immediately raises all kinds of red flags. What’s going on? What are you hiding from me? Is your confidence in your content so low you won’t think I’d add myself voluntarily to your mailing list? Because I’m easy that way. I’ve come to your site of my own volition, probably because I thought I’d find something useful or interesting there. All you had to do was ask for my addy. Now, I won’t give it to you, no way, no how. So there.

2. Things blink and flash at me. This is obnoxious. Cut it out. Tell the advertisers on your website to cut it out. It makes you look cheap and spammy, and not like a place I, nor my editors, trust for reliable information.

3. Your color scheme is atrocious. Science backs me up; some color combinations make text more readable than others. Also, like many other people navigating around the web, I no longer have 20-year-old eyes. Forcing me to read gray content on a white background does not make me very happy with you. If there’s absolutely nothing you can do about your color scheme, at least offer a “print article” button that puts your content in an easy-to-read, lovely, black-on-white format.

4. Your embedded media starts up without my say-so. I liked your direct mail piece enough to click through to your website. I liked your headline enough to keep reading. But then, into the serenity of my writing room comes blaring music or a bright, chipper voice extolling the virtues of your upcoming FREE webinar. Sorry. I won’t be attending. Give me the option of hitting the “start” button next time.

5. Your ad claims are egregious. I’m not stupid. I know there are no miracle cures for certain diseases, and there is simply not one thing I need to do to eliminate belly fat. When I see stuff like that, I want to run. Which is probably the one thing you need to do to eliminate belly fat.

What are your web-surfing deal breakers? Let me know! Maybe if enough of us get together on this, we can make them stop.