We see a LOT of websites in our office, both for good and for bad. So when we asked our staff what website features drive them nuts, they came up with this list. Here are 50 website features we think really suck:
1. Cheesy Taglines – These are just as cringe-worthy online as they are offline.
2. Pointless Information – Your website needs to answer a few simple questions, most importantly being who you are, what you do, and how I can reach you to get involved or make a purchase. A 10-page write-up of what inspired you to move to the city where you found a puppy that led you to meet your wife with whom you later started this business is cute and all, but really not necessary.
3. Not enough text – How many times have you gone to a website and clicked on every link of the site, desperately seeking information on, “What IS it??” Assume your audience knows nothing at all about your product and provide some basics.
4. Too much text – This blog post could have been written as a 5,000-word block of text, but that wouldn’t have been much fun to read, would it? Readers are accustomed to skimming content online. Break your content into short paragraphs or bullet points to make sure your readers see all the most important info on your site.
5. Content available *only* in video or audio with no text version – In the world of hyper attention deficiency, most internet users rarely want to sit through an entire video or listen to something. Providing accompanying text alongside media allows for skimmable content and makes your content twice as Google friendly.
6. Content available *only* by downloading PDFs – Ok, so PDFs aren’t *always* a bad thing, but for basic things like restaurant menus? No, I don’t want to download, print, and frame a hard copy of your menu. I only want to glance at it and see if you serve something I might like to have for dinner tonight.
7. Broken Links – Don’t let your customers be the ones to find holes in your website!
Bonus Feature Stuff
8. Out-of-date Content – If your website content smells dusty, your customers won’t be calling. Should I call? They might be out of business…
9. Ancient Updates – Pro Tip: Having a blog with recent posts is one of the easiest ways to quickly demonstrate that your website is current!
10. Menu items that open a PDF instead of taking me to a page – Surprise! You’ve just wrecked my browser. I didn’t want a pdf, I wanted to read your website. Please don’t drag me into a pdf unwillingly.
11. QR Codes Anywhere!! – Why do you need one of these on your website? Why is it NOT a link? (Read more about why you probably don’t need a QR Code.)
12. Pop-up Ads – If you’re shoving a sign-up form in my face before I can even read your About page, we’re not likely to stay friends.
13. Excessive Ads – One, two, or depending on the size of the site maybe even a half dozen different ads might be appropriate. But littering your website with third party “Buy now!” images devalues your content.
14. Overuse of Animation – Do you really need a bouncing ball, a flyover zoom, and a dancing baby? Too much animation feels like a bumpy theme park ride, not a smooth sales process.
15. MUSIC!!! – This one nearly every person in our office agreed on. Keep your website quiet, keep your visitors happy.
16. Anything that makes noises ever unless it’s after a “play” button that I clicked – Self-explanatory. Just don’t. There’s a special place in digital hell for websites that force users to look externally for ways to escape terrible website sounds.
17. Mouse over surprises – Simply moving your mouse shouldn’t warrant unpleasant aftereffects. Navigation trails, noises when you mouse over (remember those smiley face ads?)…. Surely no one since 1995 has thought these things were pleasant.
18. Flashing Text or Images – These are the visual equivalent of capslock. There’s no need to yell!
19. Websites that autoplay videos – Look, I know how important video content is. And we’re excited that you’re excited about it! But let me push ‘play’ myself, please?
20. Those weird animated people who walk out onto the screen – Reminiscent of 1980s horror flicks, these modern day monsters are pure shock value. Words cannot describe how we feel about these.
21. Animated Backgrounds – They make us feel like we ate too many hotdogs before getting on the fair rides.
22. Starbursts, sparkles, and anything else that moves – No, no, no. (The exception to this rule being satirical gifs – but even then, do you really want these on your website?)
23. Tiny Font – Self-explanatory; magnifying glasses should not be required of your website!
24. Giant Font – Remember the story of Goldie Locks? Be considerate of your audience and find a font size that is neither microscopic nor in-your-face. Your readers will thank you for it.
25. TEXT IN ALL CAPS – Shouting is rude, both offline and on your website. Keep the capitalisation to a minimum.
26. Hard to read Colours – Yellow text on a white background? Blue text on a black background? Remember that you WANT people to read your content, and making it easy for them to actually see the content is a big thing to help them do that.
27. Hyperlinks on every single word on the site – If you do this, Google hates your site and so do we.
Contact Detail Stuff
28. Hidden Contact Details – How many clicks does it take to find your contact info? (Hint: if it’s more than 1 click away from any given page, you may need to rethink your website.)
29. No Contact Form – The point of putting your contact details on a website are so that potential customers are able to easily communicate with you. Your contact forms should always give an option field for long answers where customers can tell you what they want.
30. Hiding Where You’re From – Not all businesses offer services to all places. If your business is limited to a location (whether it’s city, state, or continents), say so! Don’t break my heart on the check-out page by denying my order for being overseas. (Bonus: lots of online customers will actively seek out local business websites. Highlighting your location can bring you additional business!)
31. Forms with too many required fields. – I’m glad you’re allowing me to get in touch, but *you* care how I found you and what suburb I live in: I just want to ask a question.
32. Long Load Times – The internet is a very busy place and there are lots of other websites I can buy things from. If your site takes more than 2 seconds to load, I’ve already gone elsewhere.
33. Pop-ups that ask you if you *really* want to leave – Yes I did want to leave and NOW I never want to come back!
34. Requiring Registration to Purchase – You want me to create a username and password so I can give you money? No.
35. Shopping Carts that Require Login – Even worse than forcing me to create an account to place an order? Forcing me to log in at checkout and then saying, “The email address you have entered is already attached to an account, please start again.”
36. Misleading Navigation – Links in your menu should go to other pages on your website. Period. Don’t automatically send me to a pdf download or to a third party website! Send visitors to your site to a page on your site, where you can add a text item explaining where and why they’ll be navigating away.
37. Missing Links – Just because I’ve made it 3 clicks into your website doesnt’ mean I want to stay there. Make sure there’s a way to get back to your home page without having to rely on the Back button.
38. Postcodes to Pass Go – The content on your website cannot possibly change that much based on my postcode. Please don’t require visitors to enter it in order to view the site!
39. Menu Items that Go Nowhere – Oh, what’s that empty menu item? You wanted me to click on the 8 child pages below you? Then why are you there!
40. Websites that force you to use Internet Explorer – Yes, they still exist and are awful. Over 75% of web users do NOT use Internet Explorer. Way to exclude the majority!
Customer Service Stuff
41. People who respond to my email enquiry with a phone number and ask me to call – I’ve already taken the intitiative to contact you. Why don’t YOU call ME!
42. Being signed up to mailing lists just from purchasing something – Sorry, I don’t remember opting in to your mailing lists… Neither does the Spam Act.
43. Being on a mailing list that you can’t unsubscribe from – Don’t make me beg for the sake of my inbox.
44. Never responding to requests – This happens all too often. If someone sends you a contact enquiry, you should be burning rubber to answer that prospective sale.
45. Splash/entry screens – This ‘hate’ could just as easily go under usability, but we’d like to emphasise that it’s an important part of design as well. The first thing your people see of your website should be… your website. That’s it.
46. Anti-mobile websites – We don’t mind if you don’t have a mobile version of your website, but if it doesn’t work at all on a standard phone it’s a problem.
47. Overcrowding – Too many graphics on your site can camouflage your content. If you’ve got too many images on your site, pages won’t load and your users have to scroll eternally to get back to the top of the page.
48. Lack of Images – Just as unfortunate as too many images is the website with no images at all. Plain text websites are boring! There are better things to look at on the web.
49. Overuse of Web Styles – As with all things, balance is key. We like to preach consistency, but don’t think that means that every single item on your website needs to be the same colour, every corner rounded… It’s ok to shake things up!
And the Absolute Worst Website Feature of All Time….
50. Flash – Banners, intros… Flash anything. Worst. Idea. EVER!
Have we missed anything? What website features do YOU hate? Tell us in the comments below!
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