When it comes to the internet, speed matters. And there is no shortage of articles dissecting and debating how load times affect your site. While most focus on the negative effects on search engine optimization (SEO) that come from slow load times, today we will look at the effect of slow sites on user experience (UX).
When it comes to UX, speed isn’t only about load-time. The basic idea behind a developing a speedy user experience is minimizing the time it takes between clicking on a SERP (search engine result page) and beginning to digest the sought-after content. Of course, load-time affects this measurement; but there are plenty of other factors that can potentially stand between and user and the content they are looking for. Today I want to look at five common design trends that hurt user experience by standing between the searcher and their content.
- Hamburger Menus – All the rage just a year ago, hamburger menus are rapidly following out of favor among web designers. Don’t get me wrong, hamburger menus have a place (especially on responsive sites); but it is time to pull back the over-hamburgerization of our navigation menus. They inhibit natural navigation and greatly slow movement – as they require additional clicks along with time to pick through all the possible options. Just like their namesake, hamburger menus are perfect at the right time – but not-so-perfect if you over do it.
- Carousels – Let me be upfront: I hate them. And after visiting a wide variety of carousel-featuring sites, I think I finally know why. They kill the natural flow of a well-designed website. They either run too fast, and I’m left waiting for the slide to come back around again; or they move too slow, and my fingernails need to be trimmed before I can get to that fifth carousel slide (that probably doesn’t contain valuable information anyway). Carousels are for riding in the park, not for featuring above-the-fold on your website.
- 1-Page Designs – One page designs have exploded in the last two years. They are especially popular for large event sites (we get a lot of music festivals in Colorado, and they all have a one-page design). I get the idea, I really do. But they are slow and cumbersome to navigate. They start off slow (because everything loads on the single home page) and don’t pick up from there. I don’t know how many times I’ve skimmed the content, then clicked a link on the navigation bar thinking I’m going to learn more. But no. There is no more, those navigation buttons are just there to trick me and I’m left having simultaneously wasted my time and wishing for more.
- Autoplay Videos – Who brought back the autoplay video? I want names. Nothing ruins UX faster than an autoplay video, why? Let me count the ways: (1) They slow down load time, (2) they feel obtrusive, (3) they regularly embarrass me, and (4) they slow load time waaaay down – did I mention that already? Somehow, these UX killers are appearing on more sites every day. Please do us all a favor and say no to autoplay videos.
- Bonus – Chrome has an option that allows you to mute any sound from a tab. Just enter chrome://flags/#enable-tab-audio-muting into your address bar and enable the option (and maybe explore around a bit while you’re there. But be careful – some of those features can do some damage).
- Pop-ups – Between autoplay videos and popups, I feel like I’m writing in 2010, not 2017. But yet here we are. Page-blocking sliders and pop-ups are all the rage these days, but please stop it. I understand that you want to get sign-ups or sales or whatever you’re after, but ruining your user’s experience isn’t the way to get it. They’re annoying enough on a computer, but there’s nothing worse than trying to find the tiny ‘x’ button on the cramped screen of a phone. I have abandoned countless pages because they put marketing above content and UX – don’t make the same mistake.
Web design isn’t easy – especially when you’re balancing the demands of multiple parties (clients, bosses, marketers, etc.). But at the end of the day, a website needs to be about the user experience; and if your website features are killing the user experience it might be time to rethink the design.
Fusion Group USA offers full service, totally custom web design – that isn’t bogged down with unnecessary elements and features. Our websites are always built with the user in mind; seeking to provide the best possible experience. We’re confident in our work, so we’re not afraid to push for what we know works. There’s plenty of designers out there who can slap together a template-based site and flood it with pop-ups and videos to keep up with the latest trends; but at Fusion Group USA we’re not slaves to trends – we set them instead. Contact us today to see the difference professional, creative, and experienced web designers can make.