We all use websites for buying, searching, watching, reading, asking – you name it. As the online environment continues to grow, everyone visits multiple sites daily. Competition for people’s time and attention is fierce. Having invested significantly to attract people to your website, the last thing you want to do is do something to cause people to leave. So, why do the same web annoyances continue to pop up? Although I could spend days explaining the worst of the worst, I’ll pick three of my least favorite, and coincidentally most common, web mistakes.
1. Auto-play. You’ve all experienced this. You visit a site and are immediately hit with audio or video set to play automatically. Immediately upon opening the website, music or a message blares from the computer speakers. This is especially annoying if the volume is too loud. To become user-friendly, sites should turn off auto-play so site visitors can decide when to play an audio or video file.
2. Excessive advertisements. While advertising on websites is here to stay, too many banner ads tend to get in the way of a site’s content. Even the best content can be overshadowed by excessive ads, which looks cluttered and unprofessional. To rectify this, I use Adblock, an add-on for content filtering on web browsers. It speeds up the search process and allows for cleaner and easier Internet navigation.
3. Pop-overs. On many sites, these will pop up over the content you’re trying to read and ask you to sign up or subscribe to something. More often than not, users will do one of two things: close the tab and forgo the sign-up, or leave the entire site. Either way, the site loses visitors.
While there are a bevy of mistakes that websites can make, these three common errors are among those that irritate people the most. Website managers should remember that visitors want something easy, functional and full of the content they’re looking for. Annoy your visitors once and you’ve likely lost them forever. Give them what they want, and they’ll come back again and again.