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Web Usability Blunders That Make Kittens Hate You

Web Usability Blunders That Make Kittens Hate You

A fair amount of my time as a user-experience (UX) professional is spent fixing all the bullshit that my clients have created and subjected themselves to out of complete ignorance. And not only do they put themselves through the ringer without really knowing it, but their audience as well…

If that’s you, don’t worry too much because you’re not totally at fault. For some reason, once most people own a slice of digital real estate, they completely forget what it’s like to be a web consumer.

Did you grow up in modern web culture?

Generations X (millennials) and Y created the web experience as we now know it in this aspect: every digital trend from gaming to social media that’s led us to today was chosen by them. You either “get it” or you don’t. It’s just that simple folks. You either speak their language and understand what it takes to engage web consumers these days, or you don’t.

In this article I’m going to outline 7 gargantuan blunders that make marketing online and community-building feel like taking on an entire pack of wild Alaskan wolves with nothing but a pea-shooter. Let’s begin.

Usability Blunder #1: Insta-Pop-Ups

Why these still exist is beyond me. Some claim from the analytical perspective that pop-ups improve conversions and manage to grow robust email lists. Horse$#%! Ask yourself, how many pop-ups have you filled out in your entire life? Generation X and Y didn’t choose these. They’re annoying and ill-timed 90% of the time.

No, you shouldn’t have a pop-up surprise attacking organic traffic within seconds of them arriving on your page. They don’t have a clue who you are, what your website is about or if they even care one bit about you. Why would they want to give you their information?

I’m calling it: pop-ups are dead. Let them rest in peace.

Usability Blunder #2: A Shocking Lack of Usefulness

Oh dear me, your web designer was truly a maven in the arts of digital aesthetics and functionality. Did you hire a professional photographer because the images you use on your website are so high quality? Your blogs are top notch as well, nice. But, what’s that? Oh, your conversions suck?

Yeah, because you forgot to add anything that’s actually USEFUL to the people who you want to interface with your website. Look at your own life. Everywhere you look you’ll find the most useful things are typically the simplest…if you have to choose between being ugly and useful or super-hot and completely useless…ummm?

Usability Blunder #3: Lack of Fine-Detail Polishing

While there aren’t as many conventional “rules” so to speak when it comes to creating and presenting web content, you still need to spell correctly and come across polished. This IS MOST DEFINITELY something that was chosen by the web culture at large. If you’re sloppy, you probably suck. Not only do humans think like this, but so do web crawlers and search engine indexing spiders (though they’re a bit more anal).

Your website is a composite of fine details really: design, text, formatting, meta-data, SEO, tags, headings, keywords, alternative descriptions, and on and on. Each and every one of them make a huge difference in how your website is perceived and experienced by humans and indexing algorithms.

Usability Blunder #4: Option Overload!

When someone lands on a page within your website, what do we know that they’re going to do? We know they’re going to make a decision and click something within about roughly 5-45 seconds and travel to another page somewhere. You know that. I know that. Everyone knows that. But, how many options do many outdated websites give us? 5, 10, 15, 30? I’ve seen web pages with more than 100 possible options to click on.

Is that supposed to be a funnel, sales or otherwise? No one has the time. No one cares. Google is a second away with endless pages of results we can sift through at the speed of light. Take a look at how many options your current web pages have and then cut at least 30% right off the top.

Usability Blunder #5: Zero Personality

I don’t care if you’re selling the most straightforward and boring product known to humankind, you can add some personality to the way you do that. Your design can add nuances of personality. You can add some humor to your branding and marketing statements. Myself and those like me come packing a legion of tools to add personality, that’s why we’re so in-demand.

Usability Blunder #6: Your Sales Funnel is Too Laissez-faire

Honestly I’m all for innovative design, savvy information architecture, fancy app development and the lot. But, there’s a line and once you cross it your website becomes nothing but a work of art that the majority of your people may like to look at and tinker with, but it doesn’t convert. Bending and breaking rules is par for the course, but let’s not go overboard and create a web platform that doesn’t work…

Usability Blunder #7: There’s no way to capture feedback.

Without a doubt the most difficult thing about content marketing today is coming up with good stuff to publish that isn’t internet fodder, fluff or just another piece about an already saturated subject. It’s rough. It takes creativity. It’s a new form of art – literally. However, there’s one ultra-reliable source that will never let you down and that’s your audience.

You only have 5 subscribers? Or, only 5 people have bought your product? Great! That’s 5 people you can engage directly and legitimately establish a relationship with…

  • What challenges are they facing?
  • What’s on their mind?
  • What do they need help with?
  • What makes them tick?
  • What do they spend their time doing online?
  • Where do they tend to shop?
  • Why did they subscribe to you?
  • Why did they buy your product?

I’m sure you’re getting the picture here. While publishing high quality polished content is great, nothing is more powerful than directly addressing the concerns, prejudices, emotions, and expectations of your audience. All you have to do is make sure to actively go out and get this information instead of expecting your audience to go out of their way to provide it to you.

Sound good? If you recognize you need help and you’re ready to skip the bullshit, reach out and contact us. We can’t fix it if we don’t know it’s broken. Thanks for reading!

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Ali Asjad

Ali Asjad is a content strategist and UX designer living in Stockholm, Sweden. When he's not assisting startups get on their feet, you can find him writing copy, designing user engagement frameworks and helping his favorite clients make more money on- and offline.

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