Hello there, I am your typical website visitor.
When I first enter your site, I start out with a reservoir of goodwill. I expect that you’ll be accommodating and help me quickly find what I am looking for. That is the ideal situation for both me and you. However, every user-unfriendly problem I encounter on your website lowers that level of goodwill in my reservoir. And that’s not only a problem for me, but it’s also a problem for you as well. Here’s why you really need to think about the goodwill I have for you:
The Bad News
It is limited. You treat me badly enough, you’ll empty my reservoir and cause me to leave your website. But that’s not all … I probably won’t return in the future, I’ll think poorly of your company based on this experience and, if I am connected to social networks, I might just tweet/blog/yelp/yap/yip or otherwise chit chat about my negative experience with your company.
The Good News
My reservoir is refillable. Even if you’ve made user-unfriendly mistakes that have diminished my goodwill toward you, you can refill it by doing things that make me feel like you’re looking out for my best interests.
The term “user-friendly” is thrown around a lot in the world of website design and for good reason. It is something today’s website visitor expects when he or she first visits your website. Any whiff of unfriendliness will make a lasting negative impression that will take work to repair. So why start off making sure your website is oozing with user-friendliness? Check out the following list to make sure you’re not committing any of these user-unfriendly mistakes:
1. Hiding the Information I Want
The most common things to hide are pricing and customer support phone numbers. If you’re not listing your pricing information in a straightforward way, you’re already giving me a negative message about your prices. After all, if you’re hiding them, there’s something to hide.
The same thing goes for not giving out direct contact information. If you’re not providing support numbers when I need them, rest assured, by the time I DO track you down, I will be much more frustrated and ornery than I originally was. You don’t want to frustrate me any more than I want to be frustrated, right? In an online world full of savvy and skeptical customers, transparency is something you want to consistently strive for.
2. Putting Your Ego Before Mine
Asking me to wait out a long Flash intro or wade through paragraphs of bloated “we’re so amazing” marketing copy makes it clear that you don’t understand –or care- that I’m in a hurry to find what I want on your website.
3. Asking Me For Information You Don’t Really Need
Not only am I skeptical of requests for personal information (why do you need to know my gender? My work title? My birthday? We’ve barely met!), but I am also annoyed by questions that aren’t needed to accomplish what I want to on your site. If you’re more interested in building your database than a relationship with me, why should I do business with you?
4. Autoplay Music or Video
If your website starts playing music or video as soon as I land on it, you can bet more people than just me will leave. Here are a few reasons why your visitors do not want your spectacular video or fabulous music file automatically playing:
- they have their speakers on maximum volume after watching a DVD.
- they have ten or more tabs open on their browser at once and don’t know which one started auto-playing.
- they have limited bandwidth or a download limit on their connection.
- they don’t like your spectacular video or fabulous song.
Don’t force it on them. If you give visitors the option of playing the music or video, you’ll be giving yourself a chance to win them over instead of pushing them away. Don’t get me wrong, your business needs videos and there are things they should be doing.
5. Looking Like Less Than You Are
Online and offline, your business image matters. So if your website looks outdated, disorganized, contains broken links or a blog that hasn’t been updated in over a year, it’s like showing up for a first date wearing sweats and flip flops. If you haven’t made any effort in making yourself presentable to me, you’re erasing my goodwill.
If your website is committing any of these user-unfriendly mistakes, or if you’re not sure how to effectively start building that reservoir of goodwill with your website, contact us today. We’d love to help you build an overflowing reservoir – or refill one you inadvertently emptied.
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