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10 web site irritations

You must have experienced at least one of these annoying things when visiting web sites. Whether it is a small irritation or something that makes you want to kick your computer, slap the person who built the web site or both.

We thought we'd list some of the common annoying features just so you'd know that we already know about them and have done something about it.

  • Where the hell am I? - surveys have shown that bad inconsistent navigation is one of the things most annoys site visitors and is most likely to get them to hit the back button
  • What's all this about? - the home page should state as clearly as possible what the web site is about. Visitors on the internet have a shorter attention span so beating about the bush is not helpful
  • It would have been quicker to walk there and get it myself! - slow loading pages must be avoided at all costs. Research has shown that 10 seconds is about as much as most people are willing tolerate for a page to appear. Most people still use a dial-up connection so this needs to be taken into account when designing pages.
  • Skip intro? You're too right! - silly pointless splash pages particularly Flash animation has shown itself to be a pointless waste of time. Why some web designers still believe that people are going to hang around for 15 seconds while all their silly squares, circles and triangles fly around the screen only to end up looking like a silly logo we never know.
  • Go away! where did you come from? - pop-up windows are a nuisance. Sometimes they are valid but over use of these are going to irritate visitors particularly those with small screens.
  • Do I need a bigger screen? - scrolling left to right to read text is very bad design. Clearly the web site was designed with high resolution monitors. The sensible approach is to design sites with the lowest resolution in mind. Ofcourse it is more work but worth it.
  • What have I done wrong? - silly technical error messages which have not been processed to be user friendly can be very irritating. When errors do occur they should be handled gracefully so that the web site can recover. This is not always the case.
  • Oh no it's missed a bit! - it would be helpful if pages can be easily printed out ideally on an A4 sheet of paper in portrait mode. Annoyingly, some sites invite visitors to print an online sales receipt only to find that it clips the price column.
  • But I don't want to come back! - many sites insist that visitors register before they shop. Anything that forces visitors to make unnecessary additional work can easily end a potential sale. There are more subtle ways to retain visitors without asking for additional details.
  • It doesn't go anywhere! - There are a surprising number of web sites which simply do not work on restrictive browsers. By this we mean browsers which for reasons of privacy or security have disabled Cookies, JavaScript or Active X. Some sites detect the absence of these features and insist that a visitor enables them. This is easier said than done as some visitors view the internet from their place of work and have no control over their browser.
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