{{ searchResult.published_at | date:'d MMMM yyyy' }}

Loading ...
Loading ...

Enter a search term such as “mobile analytics” or browse our content using the filters above.

No_results

That’s not only a poor Scrabble score but we also couldn’t find any results matching “”.
Check your spelling or try broadening your search.

Logo_distressed

Sorry about this, there is a problem with our search at the moment.
Please try again later.

There are a lot of excellent websites out there and many have focused on improving the user experience in recent years, but there are still a lot of sites that fail to pay enough attention to usability issues.

After the jump, our list of the things that annoy us about websites, some from well known brands who really should know better...

  1. Poor navigation
    People visit your website to find information or the product they are looking for. Navigation should be easy to find and use, and always located in the same spot on every page. Make users work too hard on this and they won't hang around. Don't try to reinvent the wheel with your navigation (a common complaint with Flash sites - see reason 4 for more), just make it as straightforward and obvious as possible.
  2. Too many 'Bookmark My Site' buttons
    If someone wants to bookmark your site, they will do it, no need to ask them. In addition, adding this button wastes valuable space on your web page. Social Media Icons Overload Syndrome is another example of this sort of madness, as Matt Linderman has pointed out in the past.
  3. Site intros / Interstitials
    See Forbes.com for a downright appalling example of this. NOBODY wants to watch a 30 second advert before they get to the article they want to read. At least with Forbes you can skip the intro, though some sites make it hard to find the link to do this. But that's no use - we've stopped reading Forbes around these parts, just to avoid The Rage.
  4. Excessive use of Flash
    Flash has its uses, but we don't think there's any reason for using it to power your website. When done badly, it can take up bandwidth, can confuse users with bizarre navigation and control mechanisms, and there are plenty of issues relating to accessibility. River Island, which stupidly relaunched a Flash-based site as recently as 2006, is one example of this - it even carries an apology to all the disabled customers who cannot access the site. On the flipside, Flash is sometimes used well for rich microsites, such as the one that supports the excellent Sony Bravia ads
  5. Overlay ads
    Thankfully, this kind of advertising is less prevelant than it used to be, but some sites still persist, including the likes of The Guardian and The Times (a shame as they are otherwise excellent sites). Overlays are simply awful for the user experience. Advertisers shouldn't be buying them. Publishers should disown them and sort out their ad strategies, rather than selling out. Interruptive advertising will ultimately die. It's this sort of thing that has led to the rise of pop-up blockers and ad-skipping PVRs/Tivo/Sky+ boxes.
  6. Disabled back button
    People not able to use Back button will click the third most important navigation element - that X button in the top right. Fact. Why make people stick around if they want to leave? Idiocy.
  7. Hidden contact details 
    "Where is the goddamned telephone number?" Well, where is it? If people want to speak to you then please let them. It's not such a bad thing. Prominently displayed contact details can help engender trust. Hiding your email and phone numbers has the opposite effect. Go on, try the One Minute Find A Telephone Number Challenge on Amazon. It's harder than you'd imagine. The clock is ticking...
  8. Automatic audio/video
    Forbes.com again provides a shitty example of this. If I want to play a video or listen to something, I'll click on it. Otherwise it is just annoying, and intrusive. Stoppit, please! Advertising creatives take note. Please.
  9. Slow loading sites
    The promo site for the BBC's Electric Proms is a good example, taking at least a minute to load up. There used to be a loose 'eight second rule' for page loading, but, with the prevelance of faster broadband connections this may now seem tardy. Any more than a few seconds and many users may aim for the back button, assuming it works...
  10. Poor page layout
    This site is one example of poor layout, only letting you read two lines of the story before having to scroll down for the rest, just to make sure you see all the ads. Pathetic, really. And as for sites that automatically expand the browser window to use your full screen, well, they really suck, especially if you use two monitors! Ogilvy is guilty of this - click on the 'Our Work' link to annoy yourself.

Is there anything we've missed out that irritates you about websites and spoils the user experience? Leave your comments below... 

Related research:
User Experience Briefing - July 2007

Related video:
Dr Dave Chaffey on Web Design mistakes

Graham Charlton

Published 4 October, 2007 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (27)

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Avatar-blank-50x50

John Abbott

Well done ! Number 1 is very clear but should really have the word usability in it. Number 2 is correct, as you say if your site is great, and has something for a user, they willbookmark it without fail. Number 7 is a great one for me in particular, I come from a media background (spending a lot of time trying to get a 'call to action' just right and ensuring that you can properly give an opportunity to engage with a customer directly) and take my word for it, a huge amount of sites still do not understand that their customers want to easily access the telephone number quickly - if you cannot find it, it is upsetting. Number 9 is a killer, design the site right and it should not happen, but we are still blighted by slow-loading sites.
Just in case anyone gets on my case, our website (www.solutions.co.uk) is being re-thought as I write and i will help 'drag' it into the 21st Century.
Well done again !

almost 9 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

jole

How accurate :), these are the exact things i can't stand in websites however the 'BBC's electirc PROM' (no. 9) should be moved up to number 1, i finished reading the article before it loaded :)

almost 9 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Don Buchanan

uh, i detect "Social Media Icons Overload Syndrome" on this very page!

almost 9 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

LOL - we stopped at four links Don, maybe that's too many! We're making some changes around these parts and may adopt the www.addthis.com widget to tidy things up a little...

almost 9 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Clive

Hi,

It's great that you've publish this list but you missed rule 11 - Test for compatibility in multiple browsers. Sadly your own page failes this test! It displays very poorly in Opera - the most standards compliant browser there is. The links that you have on the page also don't work in Opera. Poor show if a web consultancy. Here's betting that you don't publish this ;-)

Kind regards,
Clive

almost 9 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Rich

Put simply according to this list this site needs to overhaul its self from atleast 4 of your points.

Also(not so simply) find the contact details for Amazon is simple(I dont use Amazon and I still went straight to the contacts page). All you do is goto Help in the top righthand corner next to where you go to login or sort your account. The scroll down to the section called(strangely) Contact Us. Then simply you can login(I guess so you can query orders) or skip login and be given all the details you require(now getting them to respond is proberly an issue but as I say I dont use Amazon).

I aint got the time to state what else is wrong with the article see if you can all notice the many personnell opinions and need to put things in to make it to 10 reasons :P

Last point annoying fact 11 rubbish verification pics where you have to write down the letters to post your reply. Get something a bit bolder but what still does the trick.

Good day.

almost 9 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

John Dallman

The trouble with "poor navigation" as the lead item is that everyone who designs a site thinks it has good navigation. It's just that so many of them are dead wrong. Lead with things that are clearly identificable and unambigious, like 6, 5 and 3. Once your readers have begun to realise that they are not innocent, then you give them things that require them to think.

almost 9 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Rob White

Today I was over at a website that breaks most of the rules. For what is supposed to be a professional tech site the amount of random ads is insane!

almost 9 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Chuck

Please examine your own home page. It is a definate candidate for poor navigation. Also, losing nearly 25% of the content viewing area to adds is pretty bad.

almost 9 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Rob White

Sorry that is the site I am talking about :)

almost 9 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Dave M.

Here are a couple more for you , that really burn me up.

11. By all means, make (cough) *interesting* use of color choices for text and background! Like 'slate-on-black' or 'blue-on-purple'. Who gives a damm whether anyone can read it - it looks really kewl.

12. Hasn't anybody on the Web EVER heard of such a thing as a 12-point font?
I hope God reserves a special Hell for those who not only indulge in "kewl" color combos, but do so in 6-point Arial Fineline font. Think about your audience - for just once. There just *might* be people out here who would read your stuff - if they could see it!

almost 9 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Ed

Point 7) Where's yours?

You may provide all the information anyone will need on the contact page but if you can't find the link to it in the first place, what's the point?

It reminds me of a saying I heard as a boy: "son, it's easier to put someone down than rise above them".

almost 9 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

roffle

this is all pretty amusing when YOUR website has no less than 7 ads, embarrassingly narrow collumns that look terrible on any modern screen, and generally looks like shit with any browser but internet explorer

almost 9 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

Some fair points here and, yes, our website isn't perfect.

In our defence, we are in the process of redesigning the site and some of the problems mentioned, such as compatibility with different browsers, will be sorted out.

almost 9 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Marcus

Wow, #10. Poor page layout. How can you talk about poor page layout if this site is guilty about what you are complaining about. I surf at 19X12 I would like sites to use more than the 30% in the middle of the page. This site suffers from very poor page layout. Here is a hint don't use 768px or 900px use a relative size. Also Ress, 2davanced.com. Actually 2advanced. Does not detect, flash correctly. It complains and has no way to avoid using flash.

almost 9 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Shaman

Here's another pet annoyance of mine. Some sites bring up pages in new windows that can't be resized (some online banking pages come to mind...) At the same time, the actual page doesn't fit in the window so they graciously give you scroll bars. So, you might have a 1920x1200 monitor which would fit the whole page and more, but you are forced to scroll up'n'down, left'n'right in a tiny window. Arrgh!

almost 9 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

SkyrocketLabs

I wouldn't be so quick to judge the folks who maintain this web site. Like Mr. Charlton said, they're redesigning it, which is always an organic process.

A good list, I must say, although I would add 2 additional items:

1. No use of social bookmarking / RSS. By employing even a basic RSS feed with subscribe calls to action, you're offering users a way to bond with you and have your feed listed on (potentially) high ranking sites, which can increase your own ranking. It also makes it easier for them to keep tabs on what's going on which is good for both client-centric and info focused sites.

2. Not writing effective copy. The importance of site copy that's relevant and makes good use of the keywords and phrases that optimize SEO is critical. This goes hand in hand with proper layout and navigation as well, which is on the list.

almost 9 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Jermayn

Too many graphics would be another issue

almost 9 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

mani

slow loading time is the worst of all.
one more thing to add...and the thing i hate is...

in home some audio will be playing...and it will irritate me like anything...

over 8 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Luke

I hate those sites, I would never do anything of the sort... The grizlies...

over 8 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Stoian Adrian

First should be Poor graphic design , then poor navigation i think. A website must be a pleasure for the eye in the first place ... like a woman i`m rite ?
Your website sucks .... mine too :)
Great article !

over 8 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Digby Green

Thanks

A great list.

I agree with the hard to find or non existent telephone number. It is amazing the number of large corporations that do not list a phone number. Then there are those that give you an 0800 number which is every one knows is not unuseble from overseas visitors.

I would also add - small type, ie anything under 12 point especially when it is in a light weight. Remember lots of people do not have perfect eyesight.

And yes I hate captchas that cannot be read easily - they are a real pain.

about 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

PC Pixel Icon Pack

Thanks for making it so clear! Thanks, that makes sense.

about 6 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

website designing delhi


Wow. I just love list like this. Some of these I have saved as a favorite but you just can beat a list that includes a little of everything kinda like a one stop resources page.

Thanks for putting this together!

about 6 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Outsource

i think  there would me more videos and  pictures as well as irrelevant contents and un wanted pictures

almost 6 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Willem

Hi,

just came across this site. Funny thing is the amount of share buttons on this very site. 3 in the header and 4 next to the title of the blog post... :)

about 5 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

psoriasis

Sufro psoriasis desde hace 3 años y experimentado con multiples tecnicas sin apenas
tino

over 3 years ago

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Daily_pulse_signup_wide

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Daily Pulse newsletter. Each weekday, you ll receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.