Worst website irritants? Please vote

Worst website irritants? Please vote

Why do so many websites piss off annoy potential customers? I know a good website does many positive things for a business, including reinforce your visual brand. But ultimately, it’s supposed to generate leads and stimulate sales by inviting people to come in, stay a while, develop a relationship, etc.

I’m been compiling a brief list of the most irritating/distracting things I’ve found on websites lately, and I’d like your input. Do you find these as annoying as I do? Have I missed any doozies? Please share in the comments.

  • Flash animation Yes, they can be dazzling and your Web designer probably loves them. Maybe you do, too. But will your customer?

It depends on what you’re selling and who your target market is, I suppose. Flash animation has tremendous potential to illustrate your company’s unique competitive advantage, and reinforce the features, benefits or outcomes your product or service delivers. But how often does it actually do that?

Like all bright, shiny objects, website animation is usually more of a distraction than an integral part of your sales message. They show off how creative the animator is, but do they increase a customer’s appreciation or desire to buy? Are there some Flash animations that do that? If so, please share in the comments. Maybe I’m just missing all the good ones.

Other website irritants:

  • Autoplay of website video or audio. Arrgh! This drives me away from a site almost instantly, muttering to myself as I exit.

It was bad enough years ago, when we were merely subjected to somebody’s favorite New Age tune. Now they’re inevitably a promotional video or audio hyping something. Or a pointless “Hi, thanks for visiting my stupid website.” Yeah, I know there’s a STOP button — somewhere. But why should I have to bother hunting for it? Like most Web surfers, I’m lazy. I don’t wanna look for it. I know exactly where the BACK button is. I’ll just click that instead.

Look, if you want to add audio or video to your site, go ahead. But let the visitor decide whether to play it.

  • Header is too big. OK, this is nowhere near as annoying as the first two. But the headline is the single most important element of any company Web page. It has to “hook” the visitor’s interest so they keep reading and, you know, eventually buy something. A supersized header can push your headline too low. Don’t make them scroll down or hunt for the benefits your business delivers.
  • Splash pages. OMG, do we even have to discuss these anymore? Splash pages are so 1998. If your website already has one (yes, even one with way-cool Flash animation), fire your Web designer. If your new designer suggests adding one, run – don’t walk — the other way.

OK, your turn. Do you agree with me, or do you think I’m clueless? (I’m already bracing for the howls from Flash fanatics.) Which website irritants did I miss?

Go on, bring it. Wail on me in the comments.

Do you piss them off? (Are you annoying?)

Avoid these proven website irritants.

  • Flash animation Yes, I know they’re dazzling and your Web designer loves it. Maybe you do, too. But will your customer? Keep animation to a minimum – and even then, make sure it reinforces your benefits/USP, not distracts from it. Like all bright, shiny objects, it distracts from your message. Better: Get right to the point instead.
    • splash pages (define) – waste of time. So 1990s. If you already have one, fire your designer. If a designer suggests adding one, run – don’t walk.
  • Header too big – pushes headline (most imp element) – too low. Don’t make them hunt for the benefit you deliver, or scroll down to find your sales message.
  • Autoplay of website video or audio. Let the visitor decide.
  • Other irritants?
  1. erinerin12-03-2009

    Big irritant: websites that ask/expect you to spend time doing something, participating, providing information, taking surveys, etc. without offering anything in return… Time is limited and to be constantly bombarded by websites that ask and ask and ask can be draining. After all, one of the required components of usable, enjoyable, effective, persuasive sites is consideration of the visitors “WIIFM?” [what’s in it for me] thoughts.

    Please know I’m not jabbing at your blog post here… this is genuinely something that is starting to feel like internet pan-handling to me and I find it all a bit draining.

  2. Robert MonteuxRobert Monteux12-03-2009

    Tom,
    You hit most of them. Another biggy is sites with so many ads that have to load, including flash. Sloooow loading = bad!

  3. Tom McKayTom McKay12-03-2009

    – Erin, thanks for commenting. “Internet panhandling” — love it! (the phrase, not the phenomenon). I hear what you’re saying. All the “experts” harp on interaction and how important it is to involve visitors to your site. But you’re right, it has to be a two-way street. I suppose some (like me) figure the juicy content is payback enough. Any suggestions on ways to improve it?

    – Robert, Thanks to AdBlock Plus, I almost forgot that some sites have ads. 😉

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