Features to avoid on your website

We’ve built many websites over the years (over 500 as of this article) and witnessed a range of ‘on-trend’ features that have come and, well and truly, disappeared. Unfortunately, there are still plenty of sites out there that defiantly persist with these dated attributes that regularly annoy their users.

Here is our top 5 list of website features that grind our gears:

Auto playing audio or video

Annoyance level: 10/10

Have you ever visited a site and, after a few seconds of loading, a painful ad appears or a cacophony of music starts blaring from your speakers? That’s because someone in the website development process decided it was a good idea to force streaming audio and video content on your poor unsuspecting ears! This is an A-grade offence, leading users to close the website or even their whole browser! Heck, we’ve even turned the computer off in disgust. Don’t be too forceful with your brand.

Pop-up boxes

Annoyance level: 9/10 or 1/10

So you enter a website, start engaging with the page, then after a few seconds, an invasive box pops up and asks you to submit your details to receive more information or buy something. This untimely feature has its advantages, but also some major disadvantages. If you enjoy the subject and are genuinely interested in the content, you will either enter your details or click out of the box and continue surfing. But most people we encounter seem to find these pop-up boxes irritating, and we tend to agree when not applied correctly, particularly when they keep popping up over and over throughout your stay.

External links that don’t open in a new tab

Annoyance level: 8/10

Links to external web pages or PDFs on a website are a given. What should not be, however, are websites that open external links in the same window; effectively overriding your website. So annoying! This happens to me regularly, where I open PDFs and don’t necessarily want to read through it, thus closing the tab and losing the whole website. Yes, I could have jumped into the history panel but I didn’t want to open the site back up through sheer annoyance. People are fickle; set your external links to open in a new tab, your visitors will thank you for years to come!

Too many effects

Annoyance level: 7/10

Most people go to a website to access content; they’re looking to buy something, check out services, hunt for information or advice etc. It’s important to incorporate interactive features, such as fading images, as viewers scroll through the site – it adds engagement to the user experience. Some website owners love these effects a little too much and go on rampage adding every feature possible; slowing down the website and frustrating the user. We often see effects overused on website templates which we don’t recommend.

Impossible to decipher ‘captcha’ codes

Annoyance level: 9/10

At the end of some online forms, you will come across a trial by fire. This involves typing out a series of words from images, or solving a simple equation, such as ‘what is 1+1?’. This test confirms that you’re not a robot and are, in fact, a real person; protecting sites from serial hackers. However, this can quickly turn from a good idea into an epic fail, with some captchas impossible to distinguish between characters. They can be layered over the top each other, rotated or even reversed. For example, there is little difference between a ‘b’, a ‘d’, a ‘p’ or a ‘q’ in this, sometimes manic, world of captchas. Keep it simple!

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