I just ran across a good article titled 9 website trends that need to disappear. In it, the writer mentions the following annoying features:
- Pop-up boxes before you start reading
- Horizontal scroll website
- Infinite scroll with a footer
- Slideshows (dividing articles and lists into several pages)
- Interstitials (pages that load—usually with an ad—before the real page)
- Every share button possible
- Crappy native ads (you know, “one easy trick sheds body fat like crazy!”)
- Autoplay videos
- Ads everywhere
I’ve discussed some of these features before, and I advise friends and clients not to utilize them. Some marketers disagree. They argue that despite being annoying, these methods increase page views—that’s why they’re so prevalent. I always try to explain that their analytics fail to measure the dogs that don’t bark, an expression borrowed from a Sherlock Holmes story.
What I mean is that developers who employ these annoying tricks can’t tell the difference between visitors who bounce because their content is a poor fit, and those who are annoyed into abandoning the website completely. Their stats also fail to measure the people who will not return to the website because of annoying features. This is the metric that doesn’t exist—the dog that didn’t bark.
They have no idea how much they’re handicapping their return traffic and user flow. They think that KPIs like unique visitor count and bounce rate are king. Those stats are useful, but they’re nowhere near as useful as conversion rate. And even if you’re a developer running a website whose only goal is to earn enough ad revenue to sustain the website, why would you stand in between your visitors and your content, waving your arms and yelling at them to look somewhere else? They came for the content. You’re keeping them from consuming it. It doesn’t make any sense!
This article is a good start, but here are nine more things that web developers need to stop doing:
- Trying to force me to download their app
- Giving me an inferior user experience on mobile
- Forcing me to register/join before making a transaction
- Redirecting my back button to a retention/subscription page
- Making all links open in new windows (I’m okay with this for downloads)
- Unnecessary/annoying animations during navigation
- Using light gray fonts on white backgrounds
- Overlaying white captions on images that are not darkened
- Unnecessary splash pages (these are okay if they’re adapted to particular audiences)
Can you think of any more annoying website features that you’d like to see go away? Let me know in the comments below.