June 24, 2016
Your time is limited. By the time you finish this sentence, someone will visit and abandon your website. Unless you give your visitors a reason to stick around, they're gone. High bounce rate is an indicator of visitors' lack of interest.
It may be absolutely fine for a user to check out one page, especially if it's a press release or another event driven piece of content. But if your goal is to build a relationship with your visitors, one and done won't cut it.
Here are some of the most common problems in website design:
- There's no clear path. You want to extend a warm welcome to your visitors. Give them an easy way in and through. Too much competition for attention is a turn off. When you provide too many options, the functional result is no options.
- Outdated design. Your site was state of the art in 2009. It's got a header, a couple of sidebars, and a big chunk of information running down the center. Guess what? It looks like it's nearly a decade old. Because it is. Time to refresh with current design thinking. The layout of a page has evolved over the past decade. These days the best sites break up content into smaller, digestible bits.
- Overused stock images and icons. If visitors see the same image on multiple sites, it erodes trust. That picture of people sitting around the conference table? They sure get around to a lot of offices!
- Too many textures and colors. You are trying to add interest, but you just add clutter. Limit colors and fonts. Maintain a thematic color scheme. For professional sites, try to limit the variety of fonts to three or fewer.
- Design for the wrong reasons. Always begin by identifying your target audience and customizing design and content. You may want your site to look "modern" or like another site you've seen, but if you haven't checked in with what your audience needs and wants, you can fail miserably.
- Cute that doesn't cut it. When your links have adorable, witty names, the experience gets tired fast. Links that don't make much sense are not user friendly and won't ingratiate you with your visitors. Be practical and basic when naming links. Make it easy for people. Design for multiple visits. A rotating banner is cool the first time, and maybe the second, but at some point it's just a stale eyesore. Monotonous calls to action.
- Your site isn't optimized for mobile. You shouldn't need to be reminded of this, but numbers don't lie. Mobile is overtaking desktop. It's increasingly likely that your visitors see your site on a tiny screen. If they have to pinch and stretch to read, they'll find a better source of information. Be sure to test your site on smartphone and tablet.
- You play hard to get. If you want customers to find you, make sure your address, phone number and hours of operation are easily accessible on your site. Too often, that information is hidden or completely absent.
Thanks to Zivtech's UX/UI Designer Jen Rovner for co-writing this article.