In this article AJR will be covering the Reasons why users leave your website in seconds
What makes those users press that back button, shortly after arriving on your website? Why do they decide to bail out so quickly? And what can you do about it?
I had a client that contacted me regarding this as they monitor how long users stay on their website and noticed they were getting lots of hits onto the site but users were only staying on for a few seconds
We are currently helping this client with the site to try to engage better with the website audience and convert more visits in to customers, so during the process I have been thinking about this and realised that there are many more negative factors than I’d originally anticipated.
Looking at the individual level some of the factors may not be enough to make the visitors leave, but when combined together they may give off entirely the wrong impression.
It’s not easy to create a beautiful, brilliant user experience (UX Design), and the reality is that most websites have issues of one kind or another. But keep an eye open for the following – often avoidable – negative factors and try to eliminate them, to create a more solid website with greater user experience for your website visitors.
Let’s start with the most horrific features I have found added to websites…
- Auto-sound.This drives me crazy! When I visit a website and am instantly greeted with god knows what of a nasty sound, I tend to leave with immediate effect. Website owners that accept ads that play sound automatically are often the worst offenders and could say no to these ads, along with websites in the hospitality sector.
- Popups. An old one but one of the most popular annoyances on a website. And we still see them. If you want to bombard users with pop-ups then they will leave. The sooner you show the user a pop-up, the sooner they will go. That said, I can just about tolerate pop-ups that appear after 30-60 seconds, so long as the content is good and they don’t keep popping up after you have closed them down.
- Interstitials. Interstitials are not banners, they are not popups, and they are full page ads that load between page views on a website. Most interstitials display for 10 seconds or so before forwarding the user onto the page they were trying to view, almost all interstitials include a skip button if the user does not want to wait. Nobody likes to wait but this is really just about expectations. When I click on a link I expect to be taken straight to that page, rather than being dumped on a page with a big ad on it.
- Pagination. Every user has scrolled to the bottom of a website page and seen the row of numbers. That row of numbers is a website’s pagination. Pagination is a user interface pattern that divides the content into different pages.Do you really need a user to load 10 pages to see 10 medium-sized pictures with small captions? Or to read a Top 10 list across 10 pages when it could just as easily be displayed on one page?
Users will get more content per page and won’t have to click the pagination as much. They’ll be able to easily scroll to see more content faster. Users have better experiences with scrolling than clicking. Pagination could be classed as a way to artificially inflate page impressions.
- Slow load times. Don’t make a user wait! Slow web pages are going to cause issues for your website visitors, they will become impatient and this will more than likely cause them to leave.
- Prioritisation of ads vs content. This has to be the evil twin of slow load times. Some website owners prioritise ads over content (load the ads first and hope to bank the ad money). Some navigation may quickly appear before the whole thing grinds to a halt while the user waits for an ad server to kick into life. In this context, a slow ad server = a slow site! It’s something website owners need to keep an eye on.
- Bad navigation. Badly-designed navigation is one of the few truly mortal sins that you can commit as a web design professional. Navigation needs to be intuitive, descriptive and straightforward. Flash-based sites tend to be among the very worst sinners.
- Poor scent trails. Hey, I just want my questions answered, ok? If I can’t find things easily and quickly then I will look elsewhere. As a web designer it’s our job to help the website users to find out the information they are looking for. This is where optimisation and testing comes in. When building a website I always try to play by the 3 click rule where a user can get to where they want to go within 3 clicks, it’s not always possible but that’s the aim!
- Key information is AWOL. I visited a Hotel website some time back to find out how much it costs to stay. After a couple of minutes of browsing around the site I realised that there were no details on room prices (well, I couldn’t find any). It’s bizarre. Just for the record, there is no way I will click a ‘Book a Room’ button just to see how much a hotel room costs. I’ll just book with another hotel instead that has the information clearly displayed and easy to find, Make sure the basics are all in place.
- Immediate signup demands. Why? Why now? Aren’t you going to tease me a little first? Timing is everything.
- Too much flashing and scrolling rubbish. If I’m browsing the internet then it’s usually a good sign that I’m not in a nightclub, which is the only environment where I personally tolerate lots of flashing lights. Yes, it can grab the attention, but not in a good way. It smacks of desperation and attention seeking, and is incredibly annoying. If you like Dragons Den you can’t forget Ling, the car leasing provider there is one notable exception to this rule even though the website is terrible and so crazy it is personality-driven to match the owner Ling’s own personality that makes it hard to dislike!
- Typos.Typos and poor grammar do not send the right signals to the visitor. There are literally no excuses. This is about attention to detail, as much as anything. If you are not bothered about that kind of thing then what kind of message does it give out?
- Rubbish fonts.You are using Times New Roman? Really? It’s ugly. Still, at least it isn’t Comic Sans. No right minded person would leave a website purely based on font aesthetics, but bad fonts can give off the impression that you’re not trying hard enough. And that, in conjunction with one or two other negative factors, might be the difference between a visitor hanging around or leaving your site and never return again.
- Narrow sites. There’s just something about sites designed for 800px monitors that gives me the creeps. Don’t you think?
- Left-aligned sites. Again – and I can’t really explain why – sites that are aligned to the left (rather than centrally) just seem so 2002, at least in my opinion. I don’t know why exactly but I always notice this and I don’t consider it to be a good thing.
- Cookie cutter websites. Some websites look a little bit me-too for my liking. Basically the term “Cookie cutter sites” are sites that are created with the same template, using nearly the same copy. I actually rather like standardisation and uniqueness and individuality (I wish all online websites were designed in line with our best practice guidelines), but it can be a turn off as far as web design goes. Who wants to be known as a copycat?
- Cobwebs. I like to see an ‘article’ ‘news’ / ‘blog’ section on a homepage, to show some signs of life. Headlines and dates are enough. If the last ‘news’ was from ‘January 2004’ then I will not stay around for long.
- A lack of clarity. When I visit a website for the first time I need to be able to tell what that company does within seconds. Sometimes I scratch my head for a minute or so, and leave none the wiser. A descriptive, meaningful, plain English strapline is key.
- Industry speak / jargon. You need to remember that your website visitors will not be familiar with your industry lingo, if you use a phrase that your average user will not understand then in brackets refine the word so the user knows what you’re tying to say eg- UI Design (User Interaction Design)
- Browser issues. Browser problems come in all shapes and sizes. Test, test, test, known in the wed industry as cross browser testing, and figure out what your audience likes to use. Try to avoid controlling the browsing experience too (opening up links in new windows, for example).
- Flash.Sometimes I will hang around, but only if the content is worth it! but I normally leave faster than you can say “Jumping Jack”. I have come to learn thatflash based websites, are terrible, And I only tolerate them in exceptional circumstances. I’m a hardliner in this respect. I like clean modern designs and trends.
- No ‘About’ page. Many websites are allergic to about pages, for reasons I cannot figure out as the about page is one of the most important pages a website must have. I often visit a website simply to find out more information about the company, and whenever the about page is missing I ever so slightly lose the will to live. I will definitely leave the site if the company can’t be bothered to let the visitors know who they are and how they work they obviously saying they are not important within their field / industry, Then I guess I can’t be asked to say on the site.
- Video-only homepages. The use of video to explain what the company does, or to talk about specific products and services, is another growing trend, particularly among start-ups. If I have the time and inclination I might sit through a three minute video, but I think there should always be a text option (much quicker, and let’s not forget about Google / SEO).
- Boring vs unprofessional. Some sites have no verve, no personality, and are uniformly dull. Others live so far beyond the realms of expectation that you don’t quite know what to make of them. Both can be troublesome, as far as bounce rates are concerned.
- Contrast fail. Poor colour combinations can make it difficult to read text. And if you cannot read something there’s really very little point in hanging around.
I know it was i long article guys but we have been doing lots of research for our client and testing on there website and starting to see an improvement in conversions, its inspired me to write this article, Remember there are all kinds of other factors as to why your website visitors will leave your website before they have really visited it. Have a check around your website, if you are looking for a web design redesign or face lift give AJR Designs a try you wont be disappointed..!