Our Top 10 Web Design Pet Peeves


For the past few weeks we’ve been harping on about the customer journey and the important role your company website plays to encourage consumers to use your services over your competitors. If you read our last post on website conversion, you’ll remember that 68% of users leave a website because of poorly designed UX. This means that if consumers have a bad time on your site due to poor navigation, a cluttered layout and clunky features, chances are they’re not going to stick around very long.

As a digital agency, we’re a stickler for user experience.

We believe websites should be created so that the customer sails effortlessly through a site, finds exactly what they are looking for and maybe even a pleasant surprise with something they had not have thought about before…then without hesitation, heads them straight over to the ‘Buy Now’ button.

With this in mind, we thought we’d take this opportunity to voice our top web design gripes, the things that really yank our chains about website design and often leave us no option but to look elsewhere.

Flat design graphic showing a computer screen flooded with keywords

Josh, Digital Marketer: Keyword Bashing

“Shoving as many keywords as possible into your content in the hope that it’ll trick Google to index your webpage or site favourably not only doesn’t work any more since Google launched their penguin update, but it also makes your entire site look like pages and pages of nonsense garble. Meaningful, relevant content which aims to engage your audience is much more appropriate and will make your site appear much more credible.”

Flat design graphic showing breadcrumbs and the negative effect of not using them

Dave, Creative Director: No Breadcrumb

“Breadcrumbs are the small lines of text you see at the top of most web pages to show the user how they have journeyed through a site to get to the page they’re currently on. It is often the case that users ‘switch off’ once they start delving into the architecture of a site so providing them with a reference to get back to where they started is important to ensure they don’t get lost”

Flat design graphic of a hand holding a mobile device, showing a mobile optimised website

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Grace, Marketing Executive: No Mobile Site

“It still baffles me why in this day and age, when such a huge percentage of the UK population owns a mobile device, businesses owners still forget about their mobile audience. Nobody likes to pinch in and out of their smartphone to make sense of tiny text whilst using sausage fingers to press impossibly small buttons. I urge all businesses to access their site via a mobile and see how long it takes before you want to snap the thing in two. Websites that respond to the device they are being accessed on is a must in this day and age and will allow your website to reach a much wider audience without impacting on design.”

Graphic of a laptop showing a cluttered webpage

Neil, Customer Support Manager: Cluttered Layout

“I can’t stand having to sift through busy websites to find the thing I am looking for and will be more likely to look elsewhere if the company hasn’t bothered to make it easy for me to find their services. A website is a reflection of the brand it represents so if the website looks messy chances are users will perceive the company to be unreliable and will steer well clear”.

Flat design graphic of a laptop, showing a website taking a long time to load

Simon, Director of Operations: Slow Download Speeds

“Nowadays I expect things to be fast. If I have to wait more than 5 seconds for a website to load I already start to feel irritated and if this becomes a running theme within the site I tend to leave after the first couple of pages. A recent statistic said that people now get frustrated at a site loading time of over two seconds so I guess by this standard this makes me a very patient man.”

Graphic of a hand holding a mobile device, browsing a website with annoying music playing

Ross, Developer: Music

“There is a time and a place for music, your company website is not it. When I’m sat on the train having a quick browse around the web, the last thing I want is to have to frantically search for the mute button on a site whilst almost suffering a minor heart attack for leaving my headphones on the highest volume setting.”

Graphic showing a computer screen with a big question mark over an image of a labyrinth

Ray, Development Manager: Confusing Navigation

“Navigating around a site should feel like second nature. I shouldn’t have to think too hard about where to find what I am looking for and certainly shouldn’t feel like I need a map. Good websites will not only provide users with a clear navigation bar and drop down menus but also include the little extras to make life even easier such as filters, next and previous links and advanced site searches.”

Graphic of a laptop screen with a 3 second countdown to load a website

Ann Marie, Admin Assistant: Flash Intros

“Waiting 5 minutes for a flash video to load and then a further 10 while your logo does a few backflips is not ideal when I’m in a hurry. More often than not, these introductions do not offer me the information I am looking for and feel a waste of time. It’s often easier to visit a different website than to click the ‘skip intro’ button.”

Flat design graphic showing multiple pop-ups showing up on a laptop screen when navigating a website

Liam, Developer: Pop-ups

“Luckily the majority of modern browsers now come with a pretty good pop-up blocker for those pesky ads that make their way onto our desktops, however what we are seeing now are those god awful in-browser pop-ups which appear moments after we have arrived onto a website asking us to ‘rate our site’ or ‘sign up to our mailing list’. I have been on your site for seconds, and know very little about your company and what you offer, why on earth would I want to give you my details? Funnily enough I have never once rated or signed up through one of these yet.”

Graphic of a hand holding a tablet device with lines and lines of text on screen

Andrew, Developer: Too much text

“Nothing puts me off a site more than being faced with pages and pages of text. When I am looking for information, I want to be able to quickly and easily skim through a site for the answer rather than be faced with the gruelling task of reading page after page with no promise that I’ll find what I’m looking for. Breaking large chunks of text up with images, meaningful headings and bullet points makes it miles easier to scan through text quicker and feels a less daunting task.”

If you want to provide a positive user experience for visitors to your website then all of the above are definite avoid-at-any-cost practices.

But what do you think? What really turns you off when landing on a website and sends you running for the nearest exit? If you’ve anything to add please let us know, we’d love to know what really grinds your gears!

Grace Waite

About Grace Waite

Grace Waite is a Marketing Executive at Mediademon, a digital agency based in Lincolnshire. A stickler for strategy and all round communications buff, Grace works closely with clients helping them to improve their web presence and maximise their market potential through digital marketing, social media, PR and internal marketing exercises. Google+