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20 reasons why users leave your website in 10 secondsWhat makes people press the back button, shortly after visiting your website? Why do they bail out so quickly? And what can you do about it?

I’ve been thinking about this and realised that there are many more negative factors than I’d originally anticipated. 

Taken at individual level some of these factors might not be enough to make visitors back out, but when combined together they may give off entirely the wrong impression.

It’s not easy to create a beautiful, brilliant user experience, and the reality is that most sites have issues of one kind or another. But keep an eye open for the following – often avoidable – negative factors and try to eliminate them, to create a stickier website for users.

Let’s start with the truly horrific…

1. Autosound. This drives me nuts. When I visit a website and am instantly bombarded with an unwanted cacophony of nasty sound I tend to leave with immediate effect. Publishers that accept ads that play sound automatically are often the worst offenders (they could say no to these ads, as I do), along with websites in the hospitality sector. 

2. Popups. An oldie but a goodie. And yet still we see them. If you want to bombard me with pop-ups then I’m going to want to leave. The sooner you show me the pop-up, the sooner I'll go. That said, I can just about tolerate pop-ups that appear after 30-60 seconds, so long as the content is good.

3. Interstitials. I don’t visit Forbes any more because Forbes simply loves an interstitial. Information Week should be renamed as Interstitial Week. Nobody likes to wait but this is really just about expectations. When I click on a link I expect to be taken straight to that page, rather than being dumped on a page with a big ad on it. 

4. Pagination. Do you really need me to load 10 pages to see 10 medium-sized pictures with small captions? Or to read a Top 10 list across 10 pages when it could just as easily be displayed on one page? Pagination is a cheap trick, in my view, to artificially inflate page impressions. It proves that the way online ads are bought and measured is all wrong, and it’s one of the reasons why publishers are so screwed (they pander to CPM / impressions, when they should be in the data / engagement game).

5. Slow load times. Don’t make me wait! I pay a premium for my 50MB home broadband connection and I’ll be damned if your slow-ass pages are going to cause trouble for me. If I really want or need to visit your website then I might wait, but if I’m just curious or have clicked a link on impulse then I’m more likely to leave.

6. Prioritisation of ads vs content. This is the evil twin of slow load times. Some publishers prioritise ads over content (load the ads first and bank the ad money). Some navigation may quickly appear before the whole thing grinds to a halt while we wait for an ad server to kick into life. In this context, a slow ad server adds up to a slow site. It's something publishers need to keep an eye on.

7. Woeful navigation. Badly-designed navigation is one of the few truly mortal sins that you can commit as a web professional. Navigation needs to be intuitive, descriptive and straightforward. Flash-based sites tend to be among the very worst sinners. 

8. Poor scent trails. Hey, I just want my questions answered, ok? If I can’t find things easily and quickly then I will look elsewhere. Your job is to help people to sniff out the information they need. This is where optimisation and testing comes in.

9. Key information is AWOL. I visited the Hoxton Hotel website recently to find out how much it costs to stay there. After a couple of minutes of hunting around I realised that there were no details on room rates (well, I couldn't find any). It's bizarre. Just for the record, there is no way I will click a ‘Book A Room’ button just to see how much a hotel room costs. I’ll just book with The Zetter instead. Make sure the basics are all in place. 

10. Immediate registration demands. Why? Why now? Aren’t you going to tease me a little first? Timing is everything. 

11. Too much flashing, scrolling shit. If I’m browsing the internet then it’s usually a good sign that I’m not in a nightclub, which is the only environment where I personally tolerate lots of flashing lights. Yes, it can grab the attention, but not in a good way. It smacks of desperation and attention seeking, and is incredibly annoying. There is one notable exception to this rule, which is so crazy and personality-driven that it’s hard to dislike! 

12. Typos. Typos and poor grammar do not send the right signals to the visitor. There are literally no excuses. This is about attention to detail, as much as anything. If you’re not bothered about that kind of thing then what kind of message does it give out?

13. Rubbish fonts. You’re using Times New Roman? Really? It’s ugly. Still, at least it isn’t Comic Sans. No right minded person would leave a website purely based on font aesthetics, but lame fonts can give off the impression that you’re not trying hard enough. And that, in conjunction with one or two other negative factors, might be the difference between a visitor hanging around and bailing out.

14. Narrow sites. There’s just something about sites designed for 800px monitors that gives me the creeps. Don’t you think?

15. Left-aligned sites. Again - and I can’t really explain why - sites that are aligned to the left (rather than centrally) just seem so 2002, at least to my eye. I don’t know why exactly but I always notice this and I don’t consider it to be a good thing. Talk about the princess and the pea…

16. Cookie cutter websites. Some websites look a little bit me-too for my liking. I actually rather like standardisation (I wish all online checkouts were designed in line with our best practice guidelines), but it can be a turn off as far as web design goes. Who wants to be known as a copycat? 

17. Cobwebs. I like to see a ‘news’ or ‘blog’ section on a homepage, to show some signs of life. Headlines and dates are enough. If the last ‘news’ was from ‘January 2004’ then I won’t hang around for long. 

18. A lack of clarity. When I visit a website for the first time I need to be able to tell what that company does within seconds. Sometimes I scratch my head for a minute or so, and leave none the wiser. A descriptive, meaningful, plain English strapline is key. 

19. PRspeak / jargon. I tend to be of the opinion that you can shove your synergies where the sun doesn’t shine.

20. Browser issues. Up until three days ago Microsoft refused to support Google Chrome, my browser of choice, for Xbox Live's customer services area. So wrong, on so many levels, especially since I'm a paying Xbox Live customer. Browser problems come in all shapes and sizes. Test, test, test, and figure out what your audience likes to use. Try to avoid controlling the browsing experience too (opening up links in new windows, for example).

21. Flash. Sometimes I’ll hang around, much in the same way that people slow down on motorways to gawp at car crashes, but I normally back out faster than you can say "Jumping Jack". I have come to learn that Flash websites, almost without fail, suck, and I only tolerate them in exceptional circumstances. I'm a hardliner in this respect. 

22. No ‘About’ page. Many websites are allergic to About pages, for reasons I cannot begin to figure out. I often visit a website simply to find out more information about the company, and whenever the About page is missing I ever so slightly lose the will to live.

23. Video-only homepages. The use of video to explain what the company does, or to talk about specific products and services, is another growing trend, particularly among startups. If I have the time and inclination I might sit through a three minute video, but I think there should always be a text option (much quicker, and let’s not forget about Google / SEO). 

24. Boring vs unprofessional. Some sites have no verve, no personality, and are uniformly dull. Others live so far beyond the realms of expectation that you don’t quite know what to make of them. Both can be troublesome, as far as bounce rates are concerned. 

25. Contrast fail. Poor colour combinations can make it difficult to read text. And if you cannot read something there's really very little point in hanging around.

There are all kinds of other factors as to why people will leave a website before they've really visited it. So what did I miss? What turns you off?

[Image by Nicholas Smale via Flickr, various rights reserved]

Chris Lake

Published 2 December, 2010 by Chris Lake

Chris Lake is CEO at EmpiricalProof, and former Director of Content at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ or connect via Linkedin.

582 more posts from this author

Comments (226)

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Madelaine

Hi Chris,

I really like you article. I am writing my thesis about the future of the internet. One chapter are the principles of a website, using the ADOF model. Most of you things belong to the design category. I will use them as examples, cool! 

almost 6 years ago

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Linda

I couldn't agree more!

almost 6 years ago

Ciaran Norris

Ciaran Norris, Chief Digital Officer at Mindshare

The video one is so, so true.

almost 6 years ago

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James Robertson, Web Marketing Manager at www.venuebirmingham.com

Can I add to the list: opening links in new windows? - I'll thank sites to NOT tell me how best to use my browser thank you - and what genius thinks it's a good idea to break the back button?!

almost 6 years ago

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Shelley Alexis

This is so true was shaking my head the whole way through your post!

almost 6 years ago

Pauline Randall

Pauline Randall, Director at Florizel Media

I am so with you on this!

My mega hates are Flash sites and pop-up ads. Especially the pop-ups which appear when your mouse wanders around the screen, I was trying to read something on a site the other day and these blasted ads kept getting in my way - what is that about? Don't you want me to read what you've put written?

Just live in hope that some of the culprits read this. But that is probably unlikely (or they'll think that it doesn't apply to them!)

almost 6 years ago

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Jenn Van Wyk

I agree with James, having links open in new windows is also annoying.  I was doing some online shopping the other day and every link I clicked opened a new browser window.  By the time I found what I was looking for, I had 10+ windows open!  

I also think that ads before online videos (such as news stories) are also annoying.  If I click play and immediately see an ad, I will look for an all text version of the story.  I know they have to make money somehow, but it's a hassle.

Great article!

almost 6 years ago

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Phil Simon

Great list. Posts like this make me wonder why so many sites are stuck in the 90s... 

almost 6 years ago

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Jason Mayes

Is it just me or does anyone else get a popup whilst attempting to read this article? ha!


Totally agree with all the points though.

almost 6 years ago

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Shane Lennon

Great piece - sounds simple but then people like confusion cause it hides their limitations or BS. Some of my these I had to comment on as I don't get why people do or do not follow them.

#1 please send this to FB - all I keep getting lately is this loud audio ad for $1000 Walmart Gift Card

#4 CPM is flawed it is like TV metrics - yeah, when I run to get a cup of tea during the ads, did I really see your $2M super bowl ad? and did you pay for that view?

#9 always have a call to action tied to what you do, if you sell hotel rooms then have the room rates/reservation button front & center

#10 give something for free, no form to fill out, if they like it they'll come back if they don't you just wasted server resources on capturing info and endless marketing on follow up to someone who does not want what you have

#18 & #19 love these two, being a marketing person, how many times do we fall into this trap, industry speak and marketing speak, plain english is just fine > this is what we do, is this your problem or need?, this is how we can help you, these are the benefits (3 are fine not 15) and this is how we do it and here are some examples, please buy!

Keep up the great work eConsultancy!

almost 6 years ago

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Peter L Masters

Brilliant and thank you! I agree with every word and must just rush to my website (blog) and check it out! 

almost 6 years ago

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Ed

Great article! Number 1 and 22 will drive you nuts. Auto sounds force you to search for the off button or the X box. The whole point of having a website is to show off your work/ your business. it is to inform others. If you don't have an about us page then what's the point? Great article on the About page http://on.fb.me/aUAoGv 

Facebook.com/webvanta

almost 6 years ago

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Shay

Great article :)!

I put the 'about' in the front page... hope that works for you.

Best regards,

Shay

almost 6 years ago

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Kim

Love it! This is an excellent list. I especially love #15, which is a much less obvious reason to leave a website. I can't even say why I hate left-aligned sites, but I really, really do!

I have one to add: Do not, under any circumstances, tell me that your site is best viewed with IE7+ or whatever browser you prefer to optimize for. No, you can't please everyone, but you should at least have the courtesy to design your site for the last 2 versions of the 3-4 most popular browsers. *I* am the customer, I should not have to change software just to do business with you. I would much prefer to go to your competitor and keep doing things my way, thank you very much.

Great job!

almost 6 years ago

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Lorraine

Whew, I bet you feel A LOT better after getting this post off your chest. I know I feel better after reading it. Everyone of these issues drives me 'round the bend. And here's one more: Embedded video ads that follow you incessantly as you scroll down the screen. Truly maddening. I recently was itching to read a compelling news story but was continuously distracted by the heckling video in the sidebar. Developers of this kind of website torture are surely destined for Dante's Inferno--perhaps in the 8th Circle with pimps and panderers..

almost 6 years ago

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Ian Brodie

While I personally agree with almost every point, it would be interesting to see some data to back up the opinion. That's one of the lovely things about online - we can measure just about anything. So for example, although many people find popups annoying, there are plenty of stats to show that for many sites, when used in combination with a giveaway, they'll increase optins significantly. Ian PS - one thing I hate is bloody captchas one comment forms...

almost 6 years ago

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Mike Hare

And the last shall be first. Anyone who think 8pt ultra fine in blue or reversed is legible is so wring. Many ultra readable fonts have emerged in the last 20 years and anyone who thinks they are a web designer should become familiar with a few of them. 

almost 6 years ago

Tameka Kee

Tameka Kee, Writer/Analyst at Econsultancy

Sound, registration and interstitials are the worst for me.

Though, with CTRs and CPMs so low, I do wonder how publishers can survive without the interstitials. They're essentially forced view-throughs that can help keep a site afloat, no?

almost 6 years ago

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spirit equality

Ironically, I went to the website for The Zetter, the hotel you mentioned in the middle of your rant about not being able to find hotel rates and...it was difficult to find the room rates. How absurd is that? By the way, I think poor graphic design (esp. hard to read combo of text/background colors) and poor content generally are much higher on the scale of offensiveness for most surfers. If an excellent site has automatic sound, I won't as quick to leave as I would seeing a horrible Geocities-style homepage.

almost 6 years ago

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Mark

Amen to everything you've said. Unfortunately the list reads like a list of everything that modern web designers "do do".

almost 6 years ago

Paul Shearing

Paul Shearing, Head Of Product Development at Search Laboratory

Hi - Great post.

Number 18 is the biggest here and I would say should be number 1 in a large bold font!!! 

If you can convince people that they are in the right place then they may at least try and persevere through other poor design issues.  

If they don't think they will find what they are after then it is an instant back button.

almost 6 years ago

Nigel Copley

Nigel Copley, Managing Director at Click Perform

Great Post - Loved the reference to lings cars.

I've found that a few times, a website that is so appallingly bad in every way, is actually quite good, the genius is that everyone is trying to do the same and so sites that do stick out like a sore thumb actually do get some attention (whether its for the right or wrong reason)

We're all guilty of following best practice and creating sites of uniformity...

almost 6 years ago

Nick Pape

Nick Pape, Affiliate Marketing Manager at Wiggle

I read through the above and can't agree more with @Jason's 'open window / pop-up' comment. What’s a good example you say? Have a look at Trip Advisor. Search for a hotel, hit the 'check rates' tab and watch the cascading pop-up frenzy takeover your screen. (NB. This site only likes browsers that accept pop-ups!). Not the greatest experience in my book. What I found ironic is this form of advertising has proven to yield increased conversion for hotel advertisers. Go figure!

almost 6 years ago

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Andrew Croasdale, Founder at TENcx

Great post, thank you. There's an overarching point around 'I don't see me on your site, it's all about you', but perhaps it's more about the take-out from many of the points you raise

almost 6 years ago

Miles Carter

Miles Carter, SEO / Web Developer at Zeland

What a great article, I'll be bookmarking this for future reference! There's certainly a lot to be written about how ass-backwards media/publishing types have things, the interstitials, forcing registration, ridiculous pagination which will all make me not just leave a site, but more significantly, ignore all links to it in future. I came across this site earlier today http://www.armls.com which is a case study on 8. Poor scent trails. and 9. Key Information is AWOL So much so that neither me or my colleague who I shared the link with was able to work out in more than 10 minutes what this apparently large company does other than it has something to do with Arizona and Property Listings. When a site has a 200 word 'mission statement', large "about us" section including FAQ, but reading them only produces confusion and more questions, it's got to be a bad sign!

almost 6 years ago

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Moksh Juneja

Think, it is the most complete issues at hand that need to be solved interms of understanding what the reader is reading and trying to use the website for?  and no one isFace strying!!

almost 6 years ago

Nick Craig

Nick Craig, Managing Director at Mackerel Media

It makes for rather depressing reading doesn't it! My particular pet peeve is sites that have one of those walk-on videos of an actor saying "Welcome to the xyx web site" or 'explaining' where the navigation is "the main navigation is just above me". My cursor always moves involuntarily to the back button for some reason...

almost 6 years ago

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Helen Williams

Great list - except for the opening links in a new window point - I totally disagree on this one, from both a professional and a consumer perspective.  I accept it is trying to control the user experience to some extent - but your aim is to try to keep users on your site, not provide them with a really interesting link elsewhere and send them away. However, I get even more riled as a consumer.  E.g. your link in point 11 - I clicked to see what it was about, then I explored that site a bit, then I wanted to come back to your article and had to hit "back" about 10 times - yes I know, I can right-click and choose to open a new window or tab, but that's less intuitive and slower (and many users probaby don't even realise they can do that).

almost 6 years ago

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Helen Wiliams

Just to clarify - I think links opening in a new window is only a good idea when they are links away from your own site - links to your own site opening in a new window is just plain stupid, like the experience described by @Jenn Van Wyk above!

almost 6 years ago

Miles Carter

Miles Carter, SEO / Web Developer at Zeland

@Helen Williams, if you are right clicking and then choosing "open in new tab" you're missing a trick. Just middle click (the scrollwheel button) on the link! Or Ctrl-click if your mouse doesn't have a middle button.

almost 6 years ago

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Casino Dave

For some reason number 11 makes me more happy than you will ever know! Also I too hate flash with a passion and will exit that page fast!

almost 6 years ago

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Andy Walpole

Fantastic article - I actually agree with every point 100%... one to bookmark for future use to show clients if some of these points come up in dicussion... which they do regularly...

almost 6 years ago

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mentor

Great post, but I don't agree with popup thing. It happens only with poor design + popup, some popup's won't give you option to close it, that's really irritating.

almost 6 years ago

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arsen

Cool article. I disagree with you on the subject of target="_blank" option. on my website, it's always on for outbound links - may be, just my own preference. otherwise liked this! thanks for writing

almost 6 years ago

Nigel Copley

Nigel Copley, Managing Director at Click Perform

@Chris - to be honest i couldn't find the drop downs :-), but i did spot a link to Live Visitors which was just under the flashing red banner saying Indian Call Centre - Linghani give you car info 

You have to see (and hear) it to believe it, gave me a shock at first! http://www.lingscars.com/sitemap.php 

almost 6 years ago

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Spencer Howerton, MyNewsletterBuilder.com

Dead ON!

A great list of points to share when working with a client on their site development and discussing strategy for their eMarketing campaign. And sharing it with folks in a direct manner in which this article was written get's their attention. Great list! I do hate not being able to find a price... Do people really think they are going to capture the sale from me without sharing how much somethings price is without clicking buy?

Only thing I would add is affiliate links. Most sites that have learned about affiliate marketing can make the mistake of creating a quagmire instead of relevant links on relevant pages. 

almost 6 years ago

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custom website design

another one is the 3 second rule... if I can't understand what the site is like after the first few seconds (based on design) then I probably will not spend any more time on the site. Designing a comprehensive site is vital.

almost 6 years ago

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Amr Boghdady

Are there any left aligned sites still out there ? :D

Thanks for the great article & tips
You pointed out a couple of mistakes that I've already fallen in :$

almost 6 years ago

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Karen Clark

I agree 100% and I would add - text that is centered, other than headlines! When we are taught to read left to right from a very early age, looking at centered text makes our brains work harder and just looks wrong. Thanks for the great article! Karen

almost 6 years ago

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jane

Your post title is incorrect! It shouldn't be 'reason why', it's just 'reason'. So you fail on point 12.

almost 6 years ago

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Steve

Did you ever visit a site where it seems that maybe there are 3 or 4 sentences going in one line but the webmaster did not know what a run-on sentence was like for his users to try and disect what he is trying to say?

LOL - My wife says that I myself am famous for it & is why she proofreads most content.

almost 6 years ago

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martha hart

When I saw the 25 in the title, I was a bit wary, thinking I'd have to skim through [yawn] to get 3 good bits of info. Thanks for surprising me with your terrific comments and making me laugh on a Monday with in-your-face delivery. Bravo... this one's a keeper.

almost 6 years ago

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Marc

I use the contextual menu extensively to open links in new tabs, etc so I hate sites that use those disable right click scripts.  Photographers are particularly guilty of this one (and many others on the list).

almost 6 years ago

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softwarecandy

26. Big *red* headlines, comprising most of the home page, which happens to be the entire website (or most of it)... Also, if you could elaborate on reason #19 (19. PRspeak / jargon) that would be great.

almost 6 years ago

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Jessica Nelson

I actually prefer if a link that leads away from the site opens in a new window. It makes it easier to bail quickly if said site is 'difficult'. Same-site links, though, should never open a new window.

almost 6 years ago

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Nancy

great list--you haven't truly experienced your worst online nightmare until you stop by goody.com and try to navigate anything there...good luck! It should be your "poster child" site for all not to do...

almost 6 years ago

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Mark

great article a couple of things I wouldn't use a back button....close window another thing that bugs me big time is, sites that have widgets/apps/etc. that either don't work at all or are flakey and unreliable oh and e-commerce....if you force me to register just to get the full delivered price....I'll be out of there before you can say "reboot"

almost 6 years ago

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mark

nice.....this text editor ignores carriage returns....should I leave this site immediately?

almost 6 years ago

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Patrick

Can I add a couple more; 1- multi-level drop downs, you know, where you hover over the nav another menu pops up, then you hover over that nav and another menu pops up and then you hover over.... 2- Copying Apple. I guess this really goes with the cookie cutter sites, but so many people are copying Apple these days it drives me bananas!

almost 6 years ago

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James

Unoriginal and hackneyed content and link bait articles that list things we've all seen many times before is also a big turn off. 

J.

almost 6 years ago

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roberta ward

This is a great article. Some other bits I hate are: White text on a black background- Makes the text swim small text, very frustrating pale coloured text - insipid grey is worst-style over substance not breaking up long paragraphs for easy reading bad grammar on sales sites really long repetitive sales pages built on a 'formula template'

almost 6 years ago

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Bill Marshall

All good points. I'd add another. Sites that start off with stuff like

"Welcome to our website, we've put a lot of effort into making it interesting..."

It's not about how wonderful you are, it's about what you can do for me, what your product or service is. Save the welcome for when I come and visit you in person.

almost 6 years ago

Stu Bowker

Stu Bowker, Web Analyst at TUI Group

To be honest I don't mind videos on homepages. I stare at a computer screen all day looking at data and reading. It's refreshing to have a break and let my ears take some of the strain! BUT it shouldn't replace text, have the two together, the SEO impact is too great.

Besides that I agree with everything!

almost 6 years ago

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Matthew Bruce

I couldn't disagree more with regards to your comments surrounding flash content.

Also point '23' surrounding video content is utter nonsense and although I understand this is an 'opinion' it is wildly different to what people and organisations on the ground are saying.

almost 6 years ago

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Dave

Great article, pages linking out to other sites in a new window is ok. I will bookmark this site and look at how i can improve my site. Is having to much information a bad thing? or are uses only interested in price? Also sites that have type that is to small and they then bold every other word.

almost 6 years ago

Robin Gurney

Robin Gurney, MD at CRE8ORS

Good list of "fails".

This is all part of website credibility issue and the Stanford University produced, a long time ago, list of factors affecting credibility.

Things should do and stop doing to enhance credibility and therefore reduce bounce rate.

of course it varies from sector to sector but in fields of health, finance and "gov" ; website credibility is oh-so important.

You can find more about the factors and link to Stanford's work here on an old blog post I made: http://www.altex-marketing.com/export-website-credibility

almost 6 years ago

Matt Clark

Matt Clark, Analytics / CRO Consultant at Userflow

All great points. It's amazing how far some businesses still have to go before they can tick (or untick!) the majority of those boxes - especially when it comes to SMEs.

Although it is also amazing to think about how far we've come. Go back 10 years and big flash intros, splash pages, flash sites with no content which were impossible to navigate. And at the time this was all considered innovative and cutting edge.

What were we thinking!?? Long live the useable, useful web!

Matt

almost 6 years ago

christopher gordon

christopher gordon, Marketing Communications Manager at Tetra Pak

Great list, and all so true.

I work in Italy now and as such the understanding of Internet and e-marketing in very low (most businesses are SMB and family owned). Here Flash is seen by many clients as the future, likewise there is a belief that 'because its not my first language, spelling mistakes are acceptable'.

This list will stay on my office wall...

Lings Car Hire is brilliant, a wonderful example of everything wrong working in such harmony as to become absolutely right. If you review the comments from her customers its clear the site is a reflection of her-good-self and humour. Next time I am in the UK I WANT to hire from her to see why her customers are so enthusiastic..

almost 6 years ago

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Damien Francis

Re point 25:

Large amounts of white copy out of a black background gives me a severe headache and is illegible. A waste of copy. It didn't work in print (for 99% of cases) so why do people think it will work online?

almost 6 years ago

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Stephen Murphy

Don't forget the most annoying omission - restaurants & bars that don't have their address and full postcode prominent on their home page - aarrrgghhh!!

almost 6 years ago

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Anonymous

Opening items in new windows isn't always the Devil's Work... I'll always make the link open a PDF in a new window so that people don't close down on me after reading the PDF.  Likewise any links going OUTSIDE of the site.  Otherwise it's same window all the way.

almost 6 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

Hey all,

Thanks for sharing and commenting. I didn't think the post would be quite so popular but clearly I've touched a nerve! Keep the comments coming, as there are plenty more reasons why people bail out of websites.

Cheers,

c.

almost 6 years ago

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Jos Williams, Marketing Director

Funnily enough most of these were true 10 years ago.  But that doesn't stop them still being relevant.

almost 6 years ago

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Nigel T Packer

At every seminar and training session I have delivered over the last ten years I have asked one question of the audiance. What do you hate about websites? In all I have surveyed over 6,500 people with this question.

Most are in the UK but I also asked the question at conferences and business events in capital cities across Europe where I was speaking.

The list of complaints has hardly changed in the ten years and people hate the same things now as they did back in 2000 when I asked the question for the first time.

Your comprehensive list is good but it prompts the following question.

If users have been complaining for the last ten years about these issues, why are web developers and designers still making life hell for the user with every new website they publish?

almost 6 years ago

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Tamara Jacobs

Hard-to-find tabs are another one. Personally, I generally find the fewer tabs, the better. I am a firm believer in short and sweet, especially when it comes to rushed web readers. If you have a big website however, don't make it difficult for people to find tabs that link to critical information. If it's not obvious and they miss it, they'll assume you haven't answered their question and will look elsewhere.

almost 6 years ago

Janak Mistry

Janak Mistry, Online Marketing Specialist at npower

Like the comment about 'About Us' page, I hate sites that don't provide a face to the business....what are they trying to hide. Trust!!!

almost 6 years ago

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Mary Keane-Dawson

Chris, I've just read the article and I think your have provided everyone with a truly excellent list of design and content framing no-no's.

Thank you very much....MKD 

almost 6 years ago

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Business Coaching

I love this list! I'm just in the process of rolling out new site and this list just summed the whole do/don't do design principles in one neat place. Number 1 is absolutely spot on....nothing is mpre irritating than a website that starts talking to you even before the page has fully loaded. Great article! Patrick McEvoy

almost 6 years ago

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Angie Schottmuller

Awesome list, Chris. As as hybrid to #7, I would add: #26) "Click to Enter."

@aschottmuller

almost 6 years ago

Jonathan Kay

Jonathan Kay, Managing Director at 120 Feet

Great post and agree with most observations, especially the gratuitous use of flash on the landing page. I hate it when it's done badly and I don't want to wait whilst some wanky image or movie loads which will add little or no value to my visit.

almost 6 years ago

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Ellen McCaleb

I totally agree with your 25 points. Very well said!

almost 6 years ago

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Rebecca Gill

Amen brother!  You hit all my top beefs.  If I have to mute my Mac due to your annoying website, then I don't need to stay longer than 10 seconds.

The worst is when you go to a website designer's home page you see 75% of your list present.

almost 6 years ago

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Farnoosh

Just thrilled to read list item after list item and realize i don't do any of these things. Most drive ME bananas too. Used to love Fortune but it drove me away with those insane advertisements within the page. Fantastic list, THANK YOU!

almost 6 years ago

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Fashionista

WOW! What a great article!!!!  i just opened my website! WOW and everything is true! And Thank you very good points to it.

almost 6 years ago

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Michelle Carvill

I'm still chuckling now... great post - wise words - very well executed. Love it!

almost 6 years ago

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Cheryl Crichton, Assocate Clear Thinker at Clear Thought Consulting

I want to thrust this article whole heartedly at every single person that has anything to do with online content. Clients, suppliers, users the lot. Loved the article, I'm going to put it in front of as many people as I can. More please.

almost 6 years ago

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Brendan Cooper

So, someone else who, within a few seconds, can spot something wrong with just about every site he comes across! I've given up getting angry. I think a lot of developers would do well to follow the 'press release' analogy: who, what, where, when, why. As in, make it easy to see, plain and clear, who you are, what you do, where you are, when you last updated and why you're doing what you're doing. That pretty much works for a 'first glance' at any site. If you can get that in the first few seconds you'll be prepared to invest more time. If not, not.

almost 6 years ago

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Ricky Buchanan

To my shock and horror I actually found a few websites recently that RESIZED my browser window upon entry. You can be 100% sure that's a deal-breaking piece of rudeness.

Because I have accessibility issues, another one for me is websites that fall apart when I increase their size (command-+ on OS X, control-+ on windows). If I can't *read* your website it isn't much use to me ...

almost 6 years ago

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Kevin Stelfox

Excellent research, I hate those Interstitials

almost 6 years ago

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Cartess

I think the trend with video being on the homepage is one that'll continue to increase - I prefer the video any day, although I also prefer to see the option for text as well under the video at least!

almost 6 years ago

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Tim Aldiss

As much as I loved the Arcade Fire HTML video it reminded of that awful habit some websites would have of browser resizing - remember that? I even remember coding a site that feature a slowly resizing pop up window - god forgive me! Fond memories ;)

almost 6 years ago

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Roger Joos

Hi Chris, all valid points. I just wonder what the internet would be without Flash. As an Adobe employee, I would of course have to say this, but I'm sure that I'm not the only one out there. Unless you show me something else that works ...

almost 6 years ago

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Guido Gallenkamp

Apparently #9 didnt keep you from staying much longer than 10 seconds. I agree to most of the rest.

almost 6 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

@Roger - the internet without Flash would be a lot less fun. I'm not talking about using Flash elements on a website, but using Flash as the core platform for your website. 

The trouble isn't with the tech, but with the application of the tech. Flash can offer a far richer experience, and as such all too often designers use it to try to reinvent the wheel. And therein lies the problem. It makes people think, despite the fact that we're all cognitive misers.

It's not that I don't appreciate creativity, it's just that sometimes the user can be forgotten during the design process. At least that's how it seems to me. How else would you explain a splash page, or a whizzy intro, or a 'click to enter' button? I don't think there's anything wrong with a standard issue homepage...

almost 6 years ago

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David G

What an amazing article!Thansk so much for making concrete many things I have thought for so long. (points 1-5)

Your new ideas are also very interesting. 10, 13 & 22

We have bigger issues - we're maximising our websites for people with reading difficulties adn disabilities...

almost 6 years ago

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Edward Terry

Chris, Nice post.

I mostly agree with the comments, though narrow sites don't make me back out. As long as the site is well designed with the information in the right places, then the width of the site doesn't matter that much. A number of people are moving to smaller screens as they go mobile (like 11 inch Macbooks and similar PCs) and these often restrict viewing.

The challenge these days is accommodating all the possible options - whether truly mobile devices like smartphones, or smaller screen tablets, as well as wide-screen desktops. Flash here is an issue - especially for devices like iPhone which doesn't support it - and alternatives need to be provided. Flash works, in its place - it is a tool for a specific job.

Many businesses don't invest in updating their site (it may have been built 5 years ago using now-outdated styles). Some cannot justify it. Some just don't think it necessary. And older sites don't accomodate all the new platforms. Should that make us avoid that business? Do you have any data that suggests the cost to a business for not keeping things fresh?

almost 6 years ago

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Cwbrantner

I agree wholeheartedly with #4. I love list style articles, but absolutely despise when I have to load each number on a different page. UG. I NEVER make it through them.

almost 6 years ago

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Ali Reid

I don't agree with a number of items. there is nothing wrong with Times New Roman, and has been used quite beautifully on some websites. there is nothing wrong with narrow sites, or left-aligned sites. Also, plenty of sites benefit from video as it is so easy to engage with. it shouldn't be discouraged. i feel you missed out 'lack of clear calls to action' as a major factor in bounces, choosing instead to include 'narrow sites'. Ask a designer about white-space please.

almost 6 years ago

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Julie Beckham

Thanks for extracting these points from my brain and spelling them out : ) Now I can just link to this page.

almost 6 years ago

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Marina Marsh

Chris - A great list of nasty offenses. Just think if businesses handled their storefronts the same way they handled their websites. A customer comes in the store and is immediately funneled into see a flashy commercial. When that is over a salesperson asks, "how can I help you?" You tell them and they say, "Right this way...but first, check out this ad for a different product!" Eventually you break away on your own, wandering up and down aisles that are littered with a variety of unrelated products and, turns out, the signs for each aisle aren't even correct.

almost 6 years ago

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Jacob O'Brien


While I get the point of the is article I find it somewhat obvious and silly. You leave a site if it has audio? if it is flash? because of pagination? Look I get the point but many of these things are prejudices and superficial. The truth is the technologies and information systems we use in web design are tools. For me if a website is using a technology or way of displaying information a clear and thoughtful way it shouldn't be a detractor or reason to leave a site. I especially take issue with the flash comment, yes we have all seen too many bad flash sites, but the truth is there is some content and experiences that are best shown in flash, and in those instances flash should be embraced.

almost 6 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

@Ali - we all have our own personal reasons and these are some of mine. Fonts, width and alignment are fairly arbitrary but definitely influence my view of a site, when combined with other negative factors. I'm a huge, huge fan of video, but as an enhancer rather than a substitute for text (we know that it works extremely well on e-commerce sites). Clear calls to action are vital... that's the scent trail stuff I talked about. And yes, I know all about white space, so there's another negative: too much clutter.

@Jacob - yes, I regularly leave sites with audio, on a near-daily basis I should think. If I'm listening to music, as I tend to, the choice is really about me turning that off or closing the tab. It's typically the latter, and maybe because I've just opened it and I'm in the browser and it's easier. I'm not anti-Flash, not at all, I'm just anti-bad Flash, and plenty of Flash-based websites are horrendous. Don't get me wrong, I've seen some amazing Flash sites, but for things like e-commerce? Normally the designers go crazy and ignore what we know to be best practice. And you don't need to anchor a site in Flash to create a rich experience, you can choose to use Flash to power the richer elements of the site. Nobody needs Flash to build an About page. 

almost 6 years ago

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Steve Hickey

Excellent list, I agree with you 96%.

That missing 4% though? That goes to number 14, narrow sites. While I would have agreed with you a year or two ago, the increasing number of mobile devices used for internet access is reintroducing a very valid reason for a site optimized for viewing in a smaller browser.

Then again, a site with a flexible width could solve both of our problems.

almost 6 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

@Steve - thanks! I think you should be identifying the browser / O/S and rendering the site accordingly. An 800px width site is going to look no better on an iPhone than it does on my 1,600px width monitor. You can optimise the display / UE for all devices. It's good to find out what your audience preference are. Around 7% of Econsultancy's visitors use mobile or tablet devices, and we have some work to do in optimising our site for those smaller screens.

almost 6 years ago

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Matt

I agree with pretty much all of the above. And apologies if this has been posted already but where is the About Us page on this site?!

almost 6 years ago

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Web Design Kent

So true and often find myself repeating these to clients, will just send them here in future!

almost 6 years ago

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Andrea

This is a great post. I'm only commentig to address your point about finding a room rate on a hotel site. It is hard to find hotels that will do this without first selecting a date and room type. This is because hotel room prices are set daily and there are many contracted and group rates as well. As a general rule, a hotel doesn't want to publish a generic price inorder to avoid questions and complaints. Hope this helps alleviate your annoyance with the web designers; your annoyance with the policy could be a different story.

almost 6 years ago

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Anonymous

Got to laugh about the negative comments from flash developers.

Why don't you guys make an alternative Internet for people who like flash based sites, you could call it the douchebagnet. Using the douchebagnet would involve updating your PC's software every single day, restarting your browser after every site and be populated mostly by other flash developers, self-congratulating themselves in a backslapping ring about how awesome their animated buttons and wooshing sound effects are. "zomg dude ur going to get all the chicks with these leet design skills, ur steampunk themed funeral home website kicks ass, WOOOO!"

almost 6 years ago

Phil Draper

Phil Draper, Digital Director at Sunday Publishig

How about this one for a possible contender - an expired SSL certificate that pops up a dialogue box. A truly awful offender

almost 6 years ago

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Rich

Well, I posted my site in the URL link... lemme know if I passed.  But seriously, I agree -- I can't stand those pop-ups that are like popcorn, you know the ones where your mouse passes over the dreaded double blue lines and that damn thing pops in your face. 

Thanks for the tips. :)

almost 6 years ago

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Frank Warren

Fantastic article, agree with everything said! Thank you for posting.

almost 6 years ago

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Jad

Great article. Wouldn't be interesting to find one website fitting all of the 25? How about this ? www.53dots.com It is an amazing example:)

almost 6 years ago

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gm

How does x10.com stay in business?

almost 6 years ago

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chris

I was going to say "poor contrast" but you got it at the end. I want to read articles, not struggle to see the characters over a poorly chosen background (makes me wonder if people read their own websites). You got the other with 10 pages of "10 best, etc" photos - put several on a page or make thumbnails (maybe this is to get more ads in one article). Not sure if you got one with forums that don't put responses on pages. Some have a half-page of links - I'm not going to visit 30 pages to see answers to questions (if it's a "must", opening links in a new page is better than going forward/backward), then close browser with Task Manager to close them all at once.

almost 6 years ago

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Daniel

Sadly, my portfolio site is guilty of one of these (the 800 px width thing). In my defense, I structured it 2.5 years ago... but yeah, a layout change is needed. Comes from an old habit back in high school when my teacher insisted we design for 640x480 (gaaaaahhhh). Gotta break outta that little box.

almost 6 years ago

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Brad

I hate when online videos are preceeded by an ad of almost similar length. If I want to watch 60-second video clip, I don't need a 60-second ad before it. I know they have to make money, but come on!

I also hate the floating pop-ups (especially animated ones with sounds and videos that cover up content). But what I hate more are the ones where the "X" to close them is small, hidden, obscured, or hard to find/click.

Capticha - epecially bad capticha that even I can't make out what it says - also bugs the heck out of me.

almost 6 years ago

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avlisk

Reason #1 and #25 are so far an away the worst. #25 is one reason I avoid the Apple website.  Reason #1 is so painfully annoying it has to be a corporate manager at work.

almost 6 years ago

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Natural Beauty Products

I hope my website passed your key points! You had me at Autosounds, Popups and Interstitials. Agreed wholeheartedly! Thanks for this article.

almost 6 years ago

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Barb

If you're a US-based company marketing overwhelmingly to US-based consumers, don't make me scroll through a list of a bazillion countries listed alphabetically to get to United States near the bottom of the list. And unless you're a brokerage or a bank, quit with the ridiculous password rules. I don't need a highly secure password just to read news on your site, nor do I need rules that expire my password and force me to use one "different than the last three" for low-risk websites.

almost 6 years ago

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Alex Neill

I laughed so much reading this, especially "flashing - scrolling sh*t"

I am guilty of a few of those points you raised so maybe I should have a re-think as I certainly don't wanna lose visitors immediately.

Thanks for sharing this, I learned a lot and I really mean that.

Alex.

almost 6 years ago

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William Tingle

I agree 100% especially the autosound. If I want to listen to something, I have a million MP3s.

almost 6 years ago

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Daj

Websites that make me scroll all the way to the bottom of the comments to post a comment...and pop up polls

almost 6 years ago

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Shawn

I love the little pop-up window that appears just before you click on the link you want.

almost 6 years ago

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Koofka

Flash websites, almost without fail, suck

How about starting here: thefwa.com?

The idea that the most capable presentation medium on the web can be called outdated by a bunch of misinformed CSS Puritans continues to astound.

Jobs went after Flash as a content play pure and simple.  Blocking a competing medium for media and games content on iOS.  Preaching against Flash on his behalf is just fanboy crap plain and simple.

- Koof

almost 6 years ago

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MSW

What turns me off is authors who pose questions for their readers at the end of their articles.  

almost 6 years ago

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Slon

The level of geekiness contained within this article and the responses to it set off my browser's "this shit is too boring to exist" alarm and I barely had time to complete this reply.

almost 6 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

@Koofka - this has nothing to do with Jobs whatsoever, and to reiterate, I'm not anti-Flash. I'm anti-bad UE.

My first impressions of thefwa.com site are that it is slow and - horror of horrors - requires horizontal scrolling (potentially another reason to bail).

Also, I'm not sure why Flash was chosen for that particular site. Why was Flash needed exactly?

almost 6 years ago

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Koofa

@Chris Lake  -  TheFWA is a Site Of The Day awards site that tends to highlight the most cutting edge productions of Flash websites being launched.  TheFWA is a gateway to which its possible to see the degree of what talented devs and designers can do with the technology.  TheFWA itself may not be a shining example, but the sites it features tend, for the most part, to be worthy examples.

-Cheers,

Koof

almost 6 years ago

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John

lol @ 2.

this site has popups. I just got one.

almost 6 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

@Koofa - thanks, I'll check some of them out as I'm planning a 'best uses of Flash' post at some point.

@John - I'm pretty sure we don't serve any pop-ups. If it happens again please take a screenshot. Make sure it's not Adware.

almost 6 years ago

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Terry

Love the list ... several comments though:

1) On the worst sites I've seen from the inside. designer recommendations were over-ridden by management who couldn't design their way out of a paper bag. Thankfully, the sites I knew about no longer exist as the companies went belly up

2) ANY site that won't let me navigate freely is suspect. Sites should accommodate variance in visitor's preferences for content and navigation, allowing people to use their preferred means to get what they want. If they want video or flash, that's fine as long as I can get the text if I don't want to spend the time to watch the video.

3) Sites that force you to use FAQs instead of being able to contact the company directly should be outlawed (normally, I've ALREADY visited the FAQ and don't want to go back)! I will stop buying a company's product if I can't get service to respond to me. These endless service loops, even if there is a nearly hidden option to get out, frustrate customers.

4) Automated responses to customer queries that are so far off the subject that you know no one ever looked at it.

5) Sites that don't let me get what I want without going through enormous amounts of frustration while trying to find the information. When I come to a site, I normally come for a reason. I'm looking for something. The faster I can find it, the better I am disposed towards the company and its products. Sites that frustrate me in getting what I want drive me elsewhere.

6) Any site where it's not obvious what my next move is when I see ANY page from the site. EVERY page needs to be obvious in its function, so obvious that I don't need to think about what I'm going to do when I get there. What I need to do is obvious from what appears without scrolling.

almost 6 years ago

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ken

pretty cool post.. i agree much of the points highlighted :)

almost 6 years ago

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brian

Great list, although I just finished my first flash site and am rather happy with the product. If you use a minimalist approach and you aren't developing a site for huge traffic you can build an elegant interface.  Obviously people that overuse the powerful tool and go overboard.   

almost 6 years ago

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Joe Cascio

Well done!! I wish I could assemble every restaurant owner in the US, and have Luca Brassi hold a gun to each one's head and make them read this post. I don't know why, but even in this day and age, restaurant web sites manage to violate just about every one of these 25 reasons.

almost 6 years ago

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Damian Bana

All very good reasons to leave. I especially hate the auto videos with no controls. I don't know whether they are 20 minutes or 2 hours and I don't like wasting time.

almost 6 years ago

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Derek Barnes

All valid reasons! Let's shoot everyone who violates them!

almost 6 years ago

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Joshua Chase

Can we add "walk outs" to the list as well? This was a great article, I agreed with every point.

almost 6 years ago

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Igor Cuckovic

Very good article. But sometime client really really really wants flash intro or music on a page and nothing you show him can change his mind...

almost 6 years ago

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Jennifer Wagner

Great list, I agree with everything on it. When I saw the title, before I read the list, I was scared that there would be reasons on your list that my blog might fit into. I'm happy to say that I have stayed clear of all 25 of your mistakes.

almost 6 years ago

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Pippa

Great article, well laid out.

My personal pet hate is closing a site only to find a whole host of pop ups waiting for me, drives me crazy. 

almost 6 years ago

Dean Marshall

Dean Marshall, Managing Director / Lead developer at Dean Marshall Consultancy Ltd

Great article.  Whilst some of your concerns are rather idiosyncratic others are (or at least should be) uniformly welcomed.

I have the same thoughts as you on very narrow pages and on left aligned narrow pages - it is something gutteral, they just feel wrong.  It is probably that they were designed by someone on a monitor from 1999 who designed around himself and his technology. However it came about though - it just grates with me.

Auto-playing music - and more and more nowadays - auto-playing video are just plain rude.  If I'm listening to my music and have the volume turned up high I don't want to be deafened by someone else's decision about what I should be listening to. 

Thanks for the article - it will give me something to point clients to when they ask for these 'features' implementing in their websites.

Dean

almost 6 years ago

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Mike Dunphy, Director at MD Media Consulting Ltd

I hate sites that start with flash things. More latterly because of the iphone issues. But more so because it is usually a total waste of time. Ironically web design and SEO agencies seem to be the worse culprits for this. I am fed up of going to media agency websites that tell you nothing about what they can actually do but fill the pages with profiles of their staff, who likes partying etc along with naff avatar / cartoons of said staff. 

almost 6 years ago

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BmoreKarl

Thanks for this delightfully salty take. I'm inspired - in part by other readers' comments - to delete the target-"_blank" text from my html clippings files.

almost 6 years ago

Gigi Jin

Gigi Jin, Gigi

The first one (autosound) drives me away IMMEDIATELY!!! I hate to be surprised. Pagination is also annoying.

almost 6 years ago

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stephanbelanger

Agreed. And let's not forget crap search...

almost 6 years ago

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Aditya

Add-on to #10 (Immediate Registration): I hate it when you click on a search engine link for certain information and it show you a register link. C'mon! what makes the site owner think that he has an exclusive on that info. I immediately go back to search to try another link.

almost 6 years ago

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gilbert wham

Let's just add unnecessary Javascript widgets to that list. For buttons & drop-down menus? Really? And yes, hiding the company address & phone number somewhere ridiculous, in a tiny font to boot, is far too common. I've noticed that architecture and design firms' sites tend to be regular culprits of being flash-based. Given that you spend four years or more learning to make things innately useable for people, how do you justify making your entire website from one horrible, unnavigable, unlinkable blob of flash? Gah.

almost 6 years ago

David Morton

David Morton, Account Director at Sabre Hospitality Solutions

Re #9 - The Hoxton's hotel rates (or any other hotel using 21st century reservation systems) are not AWOL, they are simply not printed, static rates as they were in the past.

Historically, hotels published a fixed 'rate card' at the beginning of each year and this would indicate the applicable rate for a specific date through the calendar year.  Downside was one couldn't book a hotel room 'live', but had to fill out some online form, or email or phone the hotel to book.

Now with 24/7 Internet Booking Engines (IBE), rates & availability are held in the IBE.  In the same way that a stock market does not "print" static prices for a share, hotel rates today fluctuate based on market demand.  Rates information for a hotel is not AWOL at all, one simply needs to quickly search for an available rate for a potential date you might contemplate staying.

almost 6 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

@David - How about showing a price range, in that case? Or to show a simple "Rooms from £100" message? I don't expect a hotel homepage to be able to give me an accurate price, even though a dynamic approach to content / data could make that happen. I understand that rates change based on demand and seasonality, but I'd still like to know whether a room is going to cost £100 or £500. Big difference. 

Personally I don't want to go to the trouble of checking room availability in order to discover what kind of rates a hotel might cost, but especially - as is the case with the Hoxton Hotel - when it requires me to hand over my credit card details before they'll show me a rate. In my view that's totally rubbish and unless there is only one hotel in town then I'll most likely back out (there are 100,000+ hotel rooms in London).

almost 6 years ago

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Cliff Paulick

I loved this: "If I’m browsing the internet then it’s usually a good sign that I’m not in a nightclub, which is the only environment where I personally tolerate lots of flashing lights."

almost 6 years ago

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Lea

Couldn't agree more! I hate sites with forced video/audio intros and ones that load slowly. I need credibiilty and an easy user-interface to last more than 5 seconds on the site.

almost 6 years ago

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nathan exhibits

Hey there! I have to say I rather like Your blog, it makes for an interesting Read! I hope to see more stories from you soon! Thanks!

almost 6 years ago

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Paul

Great article Chris. Regarding #15, I think the reason we all hate left aligned sites is simple...most people tend to sit facing the centre of their screen, and as a result we are naturally inclined to read down the centre of it too.

over 5 years ago

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Lori

I'm really getting peeved at the trend to have ALL content in videos. Video is great for some things, like tutorials. I'm busy - when I want a fast answer I don't want to sit through a 15 minute video (unless it's something technically complex that benefits from a demonstration), and I'm certainly not going to "browse" your site to see what you have to offer by watching video after video.

over 5 years ago

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Ilene Rosenblum

I agree with @stephenbelanger.  Crap search will also send users running elsewhere.  But I was nodding my head from 1-25. Great list!

over 5 years ago

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Used Cars Online

I could not have said it better, top of my list would have to be:

Auto sounds a very big irritation, along with flash sites and popups.

then everything else that you had mentioned, 

over 5 years ago

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Teresa

You are so right! The thing I HATE is music playing and you have to scroll to the bottom to find the player to turn it off. I also hate landing page after landing page narrowing a subject to see what they promised I'd see when I first clicked.

over 5 years ago

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Penelope Edwards

Great post! Agree with all of them. Would add one more though. Nothing annoys me more than when a website immediately asks you for feedback before you've even had a chance to look at the site. Just bad planning!

over 5 years ago

Suzanne Locke

Suzanne Locke, Editor-in-chief at Yahoo! Middle East

Excellent article! No.1 especially true in the Middle East where all sites are Flash and with some nasty audio soundtrack - WHY?!!!

No.2 for me - building in pages which have no content yet, putting 'COMING SOON' on them and then leaving them that way for months. Why not just hide the page until it IS ready?!

over 5 years ago

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Ling Valentine

I am Ling.

Chris Lake! I saw this article at the time, then for some reason I forgot about it. Then, tonight, I just noticed a few visitors had arrived on my website via this page. Thanks!

I am so proud to be a "Notable Exeption". Maybe I should add that to my page? Could I claim that "LINGsCARS is EConsultancy's No.1 Notable Exception in flashing shit"?

You will be pleased to hear that my business is flying and profits were up in 2010, turnover up >£40,000 on 2009, year on year. Visits up in a declining new car market. Some new car supplier must be hurting, but it's not me! If only new cars were not in such short supply... there are often long waiting lists at the mo!

My back end LINGO CRM has customers being juggled and entertained for up to 6 months, waiting for their new cars. That is hard work! :)

Roll on Chinese cars in the UK.

Thanks again for the mention, and thanks to those who commented :) Ling!

over 5 years ago

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george jamas

Great article. We plead guilty of three reasons!But great place to learn how people feel

over 5 years ago

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Linda Sherman

These are all wonderful points. Number 4 really grabbed me. When I created our Last Minute Tech Gifts http://boomertechtalk.com/last-minute-tech-gift-ideas/ my initial idea had been to do a round up of the best lists from other sites. I was inspired by Mashable's great list of Christmas tech gifts for teens - which was all on one page - but when I started looking for more, I found site after site with exactly what you describe - one image (and gift) per page. I would never link to a post like that because I always carefully choose what I suggest to my readers.

I hope your post gets bookmarked and passed around enough that those publishers get the hint. I am one of the many in that assist.

over 5 years ago

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Griselda K Togobo

I agree with you 100% but lets remember that for most cash strapped small businesses, thier websites are DIY projects so the owners are learning as they develop their sites.  In some cases though the need for individuality simply seems to overtake common sense. 

Great post!

over 5 years ago

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Jesus Coll

Very nice reading!

I agree with most of your article. Despite I'm photographer/designer and like Flash an Video, one must be very careful where and how to place it on a website. I think flash and video can be placed as additional information or enterteintment but never to interrupt or slowdown navigation. 

over 5 years ago

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Craig Hyde

Great list! Our company keeps the lights on by fixing #5 for our clients.

over 5 years ago

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monika

Great now I know what to avoid.

over 5 years ago

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Valerie

Great article, with one exception... Interstitials ?? That's jargon if ever there was. See #19. I figured it out by the content, but jargon is jargon.

over 5 years ago

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Bill

For me, without question, the number one thing to get me to instantly back away from a site is automatic sound. It doesn't just repel me... it makes me angry every time. Oh, and flash. Sound and flash. And blinking scrolling thingies everywhere... yeah, sound, flash, and blinking scrolling thingies. I used to have a standard lecture I would give my engineers at the start of projects; "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should."

over 5 years ago

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Nishesh

BIG THING

BAD CONTENT WRITING ..TO GET LISTING IN GOOGLE PEOPLE USE CONTENET WRITER AND FOURCE THEM TO USE MORE AND MORE CONTENT AND FORGET ABOUT KEY THING AND CORE PART OF CONTENT..THATS MAKE SPAM CONTENT

over 5 years ago

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Leah

I think your advice and the way you put it is awesome. I've shared your link on a business forum. Meanwhile...

I would be honoured to have your scathing critique of my site as I've very recently updated it! I won't cry I promise :) If you have no time re this I totally understand. But if I don't ask...I don't get ;)

Thanks...Leah

over 5 years ago

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Johann

Just as I was beginning to wonder about some of these issues, you come and confirm it. Thanks - very good article.

over 5 years ago

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Dallas

I can't stand these crazy flash sites that take too long to load on my browser. That usually is my cue to leave.

over 5 years ago

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mobobo

a font (Times New Roman) isn't a limitation only it's implementation results in a "good" or "bad" site design

over 5 years ago

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Alex

It's strange that you'd mention the flash article written in 2006 here. As of today, Adobe Flash provides rather thorough usability improvements and if the developer is careful, it can be just as SEO/user-friendly as the html content while enriching the experience graphically and in terms of multimedia. It really comes down to sloppy developers, but one can barely blame the technology for it.

True, flash has its place and proper use, and one shouldn't use it on an ordinary blogging site as a menu provider or something similar. Ad-wise, you can't really get away from it as GIF is dead for all intents and purposes. It's a technology for niche development, but it's not all bad.

over 5 years ago

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Dallas

Thanks Chris,In this post has discussed Great points..

over 5 years ago

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EPC Manchester

This is so true was shaking my head the whole way through your post!

over 5 years ago

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Charlie Walter

Prioritise is spelled with a z. If you say there are no excuses for typos, and I assume you have spell check... well

Also - profanity on a website causes me to leave a website quickly. Just saying.

over 5 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

Hi Charlie,

In the UK (where this particular post was written), we spell it with an s, though you'll probably find both spellings on this site as we have people writing in the US and UK.

After all, we invented the language first ;)

over 5 years ago

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knowledgenotebook

WOW, I LOVE this one!
It speaks to the heart of a website.

Sorry, we failed on #22.

about 5 years ago

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Nik

Hi Chris,

Very good list. The first two really put me off. Certainly when the video then fails to properly load and hangs whilst you struggle to click away from the page. I wonder why people do that in the first place?

Nik

about 5 years ago

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Chris Skoyles

Great list:

Right off the bat, this one drives me insane:

"1. Autosound. This drives me nuts. When I visit a website and am instantly bombarded with an unwanted cacophony of nasty sound I tend to leave with immediate effect. Publishers that accept ads that play sound automatically are often the worst offenders (they could say no to these ads, as I do), along with websites in the hospitality sector. "

Chances are if I'm at my computer I have music playing somewhere, the last thing I want or need is to have that drowned out by an add or other annoying noise. Hit the back button, move on.

about 5 years ago

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Mike DUnphy

Websites that tell you that you have the wrong browser.
Cheeky blighters, Sky keep telling me that my version of I.E. is not supported anymore, but it is, and infact the latest version of I.E. is pants on my PC so I had to uninstall.

And websites that aren't mobile optimised yet. Ironically mine isn't.

about 5 years ago

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arraial d'ajuda

Key information is AWOL i love that quote!

almost 5 years ago

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Paul

Every once in awhile I get to read post and replies like this when I really get bored.

What most of you don't get (and never will) is that most Internet Marketers could care less about what you like because most of you twitface lovers and bloggers without brains haven't figured out yet that the elitist Al Gore types are not who we want to market to. Most of you are tire kickers who get off on your ego trips in blog-o-sphere and wouldn't know Internet Marketing if it bit you in the ass.

But every once in awhile I love to drop by for a spot of tea, a good yawn, not to mention a Kumbayah song about the good ole days when pot and the Internet was free. So keep those intelligent posts and replies coming.

Paul

almost 5 years ago

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Forex Affiliate

Some websites look a little bit me-too for my liking. I actually rather like standardisation (I wish all online checkouts were designed in line with our best practice guidelines), but it can be a turn off as far as web design goes. Who wants to be known as a copycat? That's a fact and main reason why I leave the website.

over 4 years ago

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Jackie Hutchings

Excellent post. A bit subjective but, overall, very, very true. Thanks for posting.

over 4 years ago

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Highlands Ranch Real Estate

The one I agree with most:

13. Rubbish Fonts
If it's hard to read, I'm not reading it! I don't care if you're giving me the key to success and happiness. If the font makes me squint, I'm going elsewhere.

The one I disagree with:

16. Cookie cutter websites
I like standardization, especially when the format is effective. I gots no problem with replicating things that work.

over 4 years ago

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Frank

Chris,

Just stumbled on this looking for more info on bounces and how to avoid them. I'm really impressed by the list it really has some factors I hadn't thought of. I do have a question though, as a web designer I wondered what your thoughts on the instant chat are?

For me a lot of clients like the actionable features but I think it might conflict with your list. Ex: http://www.mccormickmurphy.com/

After 15 seconds a help screen comes up, do you think I should get rid of this feature for better retesting of landing visitors?

Thanks

over 4 years ago

Chris Lake

Chris Lake, CEO at Empirical Proof

@Frank - I think online chat is a great idea, and so long as the right rules are in place it will benefit - rather than hinder - the user experience, and can be a big winner in terms of conversion rates / lead gen as well as the key customer service metrics. You can experiment with different activation times if bounce rates are problematic.

over 4 years ago

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Katherine Nagel

If pop-ups drive you away, why do I get pop-ups on your site?

over 4 years ago

Mark Thompson

Mark Thompson, VP Business Development at Econsultancy, Centaur MarketingStaff

@Katherine we don't have any pop up ads on Econsultancy, could you take a screen shot and email me them please mark AT econsultancy.com

Thanks

over 4 years ago

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Meagan

As far as hotel rates go, they change daily based on room occupancy. That is why you click "book a room" to find out the room rates. They vary depending on what day you want to book.

over 4 years ago

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Derek

I've been to a few sites where a person walks across the screen when you first come to the site and they start blabbing in the middle of the screen and you have to close them to do anything. That is a big killer for me!

over 4 years ago

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melanie

Your article should be printed and make it as a checklist for every aspiring web designer.:)

over 4 years ago

Stephen Davies

Stephen Davies, Owner at Asian Wedding Horses UK

Hey Chris. Nice article. Supports what my views have always been on these subjects. I listened to customer feedback when they spoke to me on the phne and adapted it to give them exactly what they wanted. They all compliment me on it.
For those of you who like something different in design, let me know what you think.
Thanks for your time.
Steve

over 4 years ago

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sanjay

Another thing to add to the list is tons of social buttons, there is no need for all of them 4 buttons are enough.

Great list, or more like a rant list :D

over 4 years ago

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Jon

Auto-sound is one of the biggest turn-offs for me. What is really, really annoying are sites with adverts that have auto-sound that comes on ages after you visit. I sometimes have loads of tabs open, then suddenly someone starts talking to me. I have to start closing tabs to find the source. Gggrrr.

But I do need to implement some of the other points myself!

almost 4 years ago

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Laurie Simmons

What a great and informative site. Really found this interesting details.
Your details are exactly what I view.

almost 4 years ago

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Seorises

This is great! It’s simple, but something I’ve never taken the time to put together. When I finish web design for a client I am always just uhh here is a bunch of random information that I’m rambling about, hope I didn’t forget anything.
This is simple and great! Thanks for sharing!

almost 4 years ago

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Darryl Manco

You hit a triple home run! Popups, and videos, which just start playing, along with sites that open with music are an instant bounce for most visitors. Another is when a site has not be optimized for the various browsers. Thanks for article.

almost 4 years ago

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Wael

Seems ironic that the author hates Times New Roman so much yet the actual article's font is Times New Roman... Just saying!

almost 4 years ago

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foodlve

Good points
I liked them, and I am following them to make my website better

Thank you for such good notes

almost 4 years ago

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How mobile

Hello
I like reading various posts about new topics. I went through many beautiful posts with effective contents. And this one is also a part of that list. Truly its very nice stuff you have shared.

almost 4 years ago

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shaon

was looking for this at least three months now i find it.
thank you very much for your helpful mind.i really think that this article help's me and i like your article.

over 3 years ago

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SEO NCR

I really enjoyed this post. You describe this topic very well. I really enjoy reading your blog and I will definitely bookmark it! Keep up the interesting posts!

over 3 years ago

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Website designer Kent

A tad harsh but I got to agree with the vast majority on the list - you missed out google adsense banners and the so so obvious cheap template sites (hey - I'm a web designer)

over 3 years ago

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mobile

I read through the above and can't agree more with @Jason's 'open window / pop-up' comment. What’s a good example you say? Have a look at Trip Advisor. Search for a hotel, hit the 'check rates' tab and watch the cascading pop-up frenzy takeover your screen. (NB. This site only likes browsers that accept pop-ups!). Not the greatest experience in my book. What I found ironic is this form of advertising has proven to yield increased conversion for hotel advertisers. Go figure!

over 3 years ago

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Paul

Im trying to sell my domein.. were can i sell it?

over 3 years ago

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krikstynos

With these points we will definitely get the traffic we need on our blog. Thanks for sharing this great content, I really enjoyed the insight you bring to the topic. Awesome stuff!

over 3 years ago

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Craig Smith

My top 2 for hitting the back.
Slow load time (Flash or Photography site)
Nothing but Text Crammed on the page (SEO SPAMMERS)

As for the popups the newsletter things setup with jquery to delay the popup. I don't mind it once, but every page I navigate to? Freakin Annoying!

over 3 years ago

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loyala

Terrific Blog site actually, does not meet a good number of helpful hints even after visiting your upload.Might be much better to get to hear that third, people construct specific advancement.

over 3 years ago

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Ecommerce Website

Great examples here, I’m looking at having my comments section re designed, although its clean and simple now I think it could be a little more personal.

over 3 years ago

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Franklin Anderson, Cruise ship worker at Monmax

In response to @Ecommerce Websie, if you want to personalize your comment section, I would like to suggest you to add commentluv plugin if possible. It is the best comment plugin available.
-http://www.dallasseoteam.com/

over 3 years ago

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Robby Joe, web designer at FortuneSoft IT Innovation Pvt Ltd

Beinga web designer,i felt that your article was perfect one..some one visit this profile and please tell me that is it relevant to above said point
http://Dallas.fortuneinnovations.com

about 3 years ago

Wendy Lynn

Wendy Lynn, Web Content Developer / Writer at UT MD Anderson Cancer Ctr 2000-2013

I agree with all your points. I'd like to add one of my own: When the site's banner graphic takes up the whole screen, on every page, causing the user to have to scroll down past it to reach the page content.

about 3 years ago

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Henry Hernandez, Business Development at Austin SEO Company

These are great tips for any site. I couldn't agree more. I do SEO, and it's things like these that can really effect a site.

over 2 years ago

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Henry Hernandez, Business Development at Austin SEO Company

Another thing that bothers me (and Google) is when there is content in a website that is completely unrelated to the rest of the site.
http://www.texaseo.com/dallas-seo/

over 2 years ago

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katteway eric, officer at katteway.com

wish i had read this earlier.

over 2 years ago

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PP Fered, Officer at ASDAC

What to do when the website is not intended to be such a website where the visitors stay long. E.g.: this website is for get very old IT parts. But mainly it contains only part numbers, so it's not really intresting. People like it (as there are a lot of quotation going through) but the bounce rate is high, as people find what they looking for very fast. Google think it's a bad website because the 80-90% bounce rate, but it's not - quote's says! What do you think?
http://new.powersearchireland.ie/

over 2 years ago

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Beehivews San Diego, beehive web solutions at http://www.beehivews.com

Yes we accept above points. It will surely distract the viewers and leave their site within 10 secs. Our target to attract the customers in first view.

over 2 years ago

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Dean Owen, VP Advertising at Pantera Communications

Your article loaded slowly and had a horizontal ad banner blocking content at the bottom of the page. I left after about 15 seconds.

about 2 years ago

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mercy anna, domain name registration at domain name registration

I have ranted about here before, popups that appear a few seconds after you open the site, without you having engaged with the content in any way. I close those so quickly they don't know what hit them, and often leave the site too, it's just foolishness, I don't know what people are thinking, well-known 'super-affiliates' many of them too...
http://alpnames.com

about 2 years ago

Jrafi Smith

Jrafi Smith, Site manager at Poweredby247

you make a nice post. i always want to try something different and every time i done a website then i make few changes which seems good.for taking a time your website must be worthy content and design which makes visitors satisfied. i working on this site now http://poweredby247.com what do you think is it ok or i will have made change on it?

about 2 years ago

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shumaila butt, Worker at 46300

As you have precisely perceived we have not been posting any materials on this subject concerning now and accordingly we are intrigued if, possibly, you have sooner or later to expound on the applications you have effectively accomplished being used? We would truly admire your exertion if that is the situation of your remark and on the off chance that you wish for us to compose some additional post about such applications, that you don't have anything to stress over. We will have a couple of post about such applications in the blink of an eye.
http://www.jicstech.com

almost 2 years ago

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Bernhard Gaarsoe, DBA at Anthem

Amen on breaking the back button, James Robertson! And right along with that is killing your back history so that you have to start your search all over again.

I am amazed at how many websites do this. It seems like most do these days, and I'm not sure what these companies think they are accomplishing by doing this.

When I am done with your website and you try to prevent me from leaving, what do you think you are going to gain? Trust me, I'm not going to go back and look some more, read some more or buy something else. And I mean ever!

This obviously won't make me initially leave quicker, but it certainly will cause me to think twice about ever coming back.

almost 2 years ago

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Jeffrey Barranco, Webmaster at Online Contractors 420

This is really an informative and helpful guides in creating my websites. Actually an affiliate website. But yeah, some of these advices were already covered but there were some few advices that adds up to my knowledge as well. Like the "About" page. I never really thought of having an about page is very important as well. Also a video is that really helpful? I didn't realize that. Good thing on my other website, I managed to put some videos on it. At least a good video that a viewer could sit around for 3 - 5 mins watching the video.

Thanks! So much helpful!

over 1 year ago

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Benjamin Gohs, News Editor at Boyne City Gazette

Thanks for the tips. I've already adjusted a few things on my site in hopes of making happier customers.

over 1 year ago

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Miller Ford, Internet Marketing at ZealousWeb Technologies Pvt.Ltd.

Auto sound, popups and registration demand: One of the embarrassing thing which irritate me every time when I visit the some website.

over 1 year ago

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Alvin Chua, Director at Shark Web Pte Ltd

Yes! Slow loading times and autosound make me irritated when I land on such a website.

about 1 year ago

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Andrew Zubriczky, Owner at Get Google First Page Results

Great list. I wish every website owner and developer tattooed this list onto their bodies!

about 1 year ago

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Chrissy Gaston, hotel manager at manager

I couldn't agree more. How I hope this information could reach out to website developers. It could save us the headache. Despite all the negativity, here is a website https://www.roomertravel.com/room/44247395 you wont leave after few seconds. Their enticing 50% market offer will make you want to be a traveller

12 months ago

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Bunchheang Pech, Student at NTTI

I like this www.qoosi.com

8 months ago

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Laurence Feeney, Expert at J.P. Juices .Co. Uk

Hi, I'm a greybeard with limited computer skills, but congratulate you on your comprehensive analysis of the things we hate about visited websites.
I guess why these annoying things happen is that there is some sort of revenue stream or financial incentive .
My suggestion is this :- allow these adverts but only in a column at one side of your widescreen monitor. This should satisfy the advertisers , while at the same time allow you to veer off if something catches your eye. Plenty of sites do this, but the worst have all of the evils in your analysis.
Should there be a paid only internet for those who hate adverts?. Wikipedia is great , and yes I have donated.
GBWY

6 months ago

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Jennifer Terry, Interior designer/blogger at Calmandcollected.us

What did you mean by this: "Try to avoid controlling the browsing experience too (opening up links in new windows, for example)."? I thought (as a new blogger) that I WANTED a link to something else to open in a new page, otherwise if you follow the link, you are actually leaving my page. I don't want you to leave my page and get distracted by something in the link and never come back...yes? no?

4 months ago

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Keith Mullen, Proclivity Specialist at Retired

Right on And I have this one observation...

First, your awareness of these issues is deep and strong. You wrote this article in 2010 (according to the date stamp, anyway) and that says a lot.
Second, sadly, things do not seem to be getting any better. In fact, from my perspective, there are more devils out there constructing ways to improve upon what you (and I, and many others, I'd reckon) consider impediments to an enjoyable journey to the internet's last page.
Demons (I speak figuratively, of course) develop javascripts to circumvent the most fastidious web developer's efforts, just so some Joe Schmoe (who used to sell used cars in the fifth ward) can make a fast buck sitting on his expanding posterior watching NASCAR or old army movies on his 52" plasma TV.
Finally, there are also devils out there infiltrating my cell phone. microSoft is making it's operating system turn every computer into a cell phone in extravagant drag, and even renaming PROGRAMS into friendlier-sounding (but more evil) "APPS". They even run in the background, snooping or spying, like a cell phone.

It stands to follow, then, that whatever cell phone makers and developers are doing, they're doing it so right that μSoft has to copy it. I am running windoze 7. They want to force me into upgrading to windoze 10. Why? Not sure, but it's got to be a bad idea for me. Dollars to donuts, it will not only ultimately destroy any enjoyment I get from surfing the web, but also rob me of money I don't have (and don't make any more because I am retired -- early, unfortunately) I'll switch to Linux before that happens.

Big corporations that can live a century or more do not care about people over 45 years old. It's the "new generation" that is being warped, culled, and groomed into mindless fools. They're the ones that seem to matter. They won't remember what it was like when the internet was fun. They'll only know that it gives them what they think they need.

And that's really, really sad

4 months ago

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jack schitt, Participant at Human

Hmmm... as soon as I attempt to post a comment... here comes a registration requirement WTF? and this article badmouthed them above. Ever hear of practice what you preach? My response would like to note:
1. You use the word interstitial(s) of which the definitions I find aren't even relevant to any your context... and yet you rebuke jargon. HUH???
>
Anyway...
2. I was only wanting to add that "there is a sucker born every minute" that the population of the world is growing at a rate that those in marketing don't consider above 45 as any different than above 17.

3 months ago

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