I’m currently in the US and have been searching online for a lot of information about the cities that I’m visiting for the first time; information on things to see and do, places to eat, shopping malls, how the public transport works, how to get a pre-paid sim card and lots of other stuff.
I’ve been surprised at how bad a lot of the websites are. So bad that although I persevered to find the information that I needed the first time I visited, I hope I never have to go back!
Here are the reasons why. If you can avoid these things on your own website, your visitors will have a pleasant experience rather than a frustrating one.
1. Website is ugly and outdated
Websites have come a long way in the last ten years. So if your website was built ten years ago and hasn’t had a make over since, it probably looks outdated.
Tell tale signs are that it hugs the left hand side of the browser, there is a huge white space on the right hand side, all the text is in bold and the images are from clip art.
2. Unclear Navigation links and site search doesn’t work
Navigation links should have simple clear names. The main links should be directed to the pages containing the information that most people want to find easily.
Don’t have navigation links just to fill a space. And have one called “Contact” to make it easy to find your contact details.
When the navigation is difficult to use the next option is to try the “site search”, if a search box is available.
On the sites I’ve been looking at, often the search results were nothing at all to do with what I was looking for, and that makes me want to leave!
3. Key information is hard to find, or not there at all
This is probably the worst thing on the list. I’ve been searching for sight seeing type tours and a lot of the websites have big images stating the value of the free things that are included in the tour price, yet it’s nearly impossible to find out the actual tour price until you’re at the point of handing over credit card details.
4. Being redirected to another website and can’t get back
A lot of the sight seeing tour websites redirect you to a website on a different domain when you want to make an online booking. But if you decide not to make a booking (as per the point above I went there simply to find out the price!) there isn’t a clear and obvious link to take you back to the original website, and the back button doesn’t work.
5. Fast pop-ups that are difficult to pop-down
I’m sure some people use pop-ups effectively on their websites. I’d say that acceptable pop-ups pop up when you’ve spent a little bit of time on the site.
The ones that drive me nuts are those that pop-up straight away and make it really hard to quickly see how to make them “pop-down”.
Sorry but if I’ve never been to your website before and haven’t even had a chance to look at your home page then I don’t want to take your survey and I haven’t had enough time to decide if I want to subscribe.
Well, thanks for letting me vent! What things about a website make you hope you never have to back?