Little Known Factors That Could Affect Your Website UX

As websites have grown from just information portals to important business assets, the user experience of websites has grown in importance. Moreover, your website isn’t just competing with other sites, but it is also trying to fend of competition from mobile apps.

Little Known Factors That Could Affect Your Website UX

Apps are much faster and users find them easier to use. However, good UX design can make your website function much faster than it currently is.

The principles of good user experience design have been laid out in great detail by a number of experts now. The challenge for your UX team is how you will implement those principles as they apply to your website.

Every company has different values, products and target audiences. It is important to spend a lot of time on integrating UX principles with your own company brand. At the same time, you need to make your website as easy to use as possible for the end users.

Mistakes in UX design are made at two different levels, and they are end design and team protocols. Some of the highest profile UX failures on the web have occurred because of the way teams are structured.

Yet, when companies analyze their own failures, they focus on specific UX design elements. We will first focus on the common UX design mistakes and then go on to the little known underlying factors that lead to those mistakes.

Requiring login

It used to be that websites only required logins when the user needed an account for some service. This could be media, subscriptions, email or any number of things. Somewhere along the line, UX designers (or web admins) decided that it was better to require a login for everything including reading articles or using a web service for free.

It is tedious enough for users to remember and manage login credentials for necessary services. Don’t add to their pain by requiring them to register with your website to do anything. Only ask them to login:

  • If you need to keep track of their use of your services
  • You have a subscription module
  • You have specialized content that is designed specifically for individual users
Requiring email

This is yet another tactic that many websites have taken to in order to get more email addresses for newsletters and marketing emails. Websites routinely ask users to enter their email addresses and then send URL’s to web pages, PDF’s or other media.

The annoying thing for users is that they receive links to pages that are otherwise accessible by just typing the address in the browser. Why add an extra step that provides no value to the user? While this seems to be a great way to get a visitor’s emails and add a potential customer, it turns many people off and they may simply move away from your site.

Trying to be too different

Yes, we’ve all heard that if you want to be noticed, you need to stand out from the crowd. You need a design that is different, novel and eye catching. The problem is that most such designs turn UI conventions on their head and confuses visitors no end. UX designers then wonder why people aren’t staying on their website, even with a different design.

The thing is:

  • People expect certain things to be same across most websites
  • The menu goes to the left or the top
  • Links within text body are either underlined or formatted a bit differently

You can show a lot of creativity even within these universal UI guidelines, but don’t go overboard. If you want, you can A/B test your wacky design with a more standard one. You will find that a more standard website can improve your conversion rates.

Not taking UX feedback from visitors

All websites tend to have a feedback link on their website today, but they only exist to give users an impression you care. The problem is that many UX designers don’t take that feedback into account when they are evolving their designs. Here are some facts:

  • Only a small percentage of your users will post feedback on your site
  • These visitors either love your website or are incredibly annoyed with it
  • Users who can find what they want quickly, usually don’t wait around to post feedback

What does this tell you? Any UX feedback you receive is an extreme reaction. If a visitor is very unhappy with some part of your website (functionally), it means there are hundreds or thousands others who may have simply moved away from it because of that flaw. Take regular stock of feedback (maybe once a month) and incorporate them into your decisions.

Ignoring responsiveness

A design that makes your website easier to use and creates an intuitive flow is good for your conversion rate. Many UX designers are however so enamored by this that they tend to add a lot of features to make things even simpler. Meanwhile, the technological stack underneath all that experience grows larger. It ultimately slows your website down and that is a clear UX anti-pattern.

Before adding features, consider:

  • If it will slow down your web pages considerably
  • Is it really necessary or just something you want to do?
  • Whether it required another feature to be removed in order to maintain its responsiveness

If you have to choose between features and speed, always choose speed because a smooth UX keeps users on your site and improves their conversion prospects much more than features do.

Simplifying excessively

Yes, simple is better but that does not mean you strike out everything that looks unnecessary. We are increasingly seeing blogs and websites:

  • Not posting date and time or even the author’s name with articles in the name of simplicity
  • Having very few links on their pages, so much so that users find it difficult to navigate to other parts of the site
  • Placing all links at the bottom of the website rather than at the top or the left or right

All of this may make your website look very clean, but it is also too confusing for users. Many of them feel like they are reading in a vacuum with zero-context. You can avoid putting unnecessary links on your home page, but make the navigation links highly visible.

Always prioritizing home page

The home page is the most important landing page on your website. There’s no doubt about that, but that is only to get users to your site. You want visitors to go to the other pages from there and make you some money by buying your products or service. If you don’t have an equally good design for those pages, you will see them leave your site just because they don’t get what they want.

Prioritizing home page UX over others brings down your conversion rate significantly. Few companies look at this way. They try to make their home page even better and then sit back and watch the same results.

Separating UX research and design

Many big companies tend to have a team that does the UX research for them and hands over guidelines to a design team. The problem with this is that:

  • The UX design team has nothing other than a black box of rules
  • They don’t know why they have to follow those guidelines
  • Without the underlying reasons for those UX rules, they tend to implement them even when they lead to a bad experience for visitors

You need your UX research team to be the same as the design team, which leads to a more coherent UX design that makes sense to you as well as the end user.

Bike shedding

Attention to detail is a buzz phrase these days. UX teams see how Apple and other leading companies pay attention to the smallest of UX attributes, and they want to do the same. What they don’t realize that successful design has fewer details to pay attention to.

You can have too many features and then focus on all of them. This wastes a lot of your UX team’s resources and has very poor ROI. The best way to deal with this is to first make your UX simple, and then fine tune details.

Not setting UX guidelines

On one end of the spectrum, there are UX teams that work with too many guidelines and constraints. On the other, there are teams that go completely free to express their creativity with user experience. This mostly ends up as a jumbled mess of UI elements and a very confusing experience for users. All teams should work with certain guidelines that are in line with branding and what users expect when they visit your site.

Always gunning for the latest design tools

Since a lot of website design has been made easier by HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript, there has been an explosion in the number of tools available to design user interfaces. Many of them indeed shave off hours and days from the time required to take a website from idea to deployment.

Many companies are however enamored by the tools themselves and keep evaluating new ones every week. This wastes a lot of time. The most efficient way to go about your UX design process is to pick a tool after evaluating and spend time learning its ins and outs.

Architecting website based on corporate structure

This is a classic UX mistake that is made mostly by medium sized and large businesses. Your visitors want nothing to do with your internal departments. So stop creating navigation menus by roles and others. Instead focus on products and find ways to help customers reach the page they want in the shortest possible time. Having to click through a dozen links to reach a particular page is a huge turn-off for visitors.

Excessive documentation

If your UX team has to dig through dozens of pages to decide whether a particular UX decision lines up with the guidelines, you probably have too much documentation. You need to rethink your guidelines and take a bigger view. It is best to have:

  • a few concrete design guidelines based on branding, usability and research
  • brief explanations for the reasons behind those guidelines

This will make it much easier for user experience design teams to come up with practical interfaces and flows for your customers.

Using a waterfall design approach

A waterfall design is when all the UX decisions are made before you implement even a small part of the design. What happens is that the teams implementing the design find certain UI elements, which are not compatible with each other, and it only shows up during development. This is why it is important to prototype your designs in real time, so you know what is and isn’t practical.

Avoiding these mistakes with user experience design takes a lot of work because they are not immediately noticeable. It does take some time initially, but then that’s what it takes to gain more customers among intense competition.

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2 Comments

  1. Thank you for making this post. I don’t often do a lot of UX work, as I have someone else for that, it still helped open my eyes to some problems I could have been creating in my coding.

  2. Basic but very significant points. If unnoticed, this could turn out to be one of the reasons for poor performance. Thanks. Great post.

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