The 90's were a simpler time, when a man’s haircut could be inspired by the tail of a rodent and his website could consist of sparkly text, an electrical guest book and a black and white hit counter.
Yes, in 2015 users are more savvy than ever, which means you can no longer afford to have an outdated or poorly executed web presence. (And you definitely should not have a hit counter.)
Unfortunately, there are still some vestiges of the internet’s embarrassing adolescence that, for some reason, still linger today. We’ve compiled a list of our least favorite below. If you find your website meets even a few of these, please, contact us today.
While they’re somewhat of a necessary evil, a lot of you are getting CAPTCHAS completely wrong. This is perfectly illustrated by your inclusion of a refresh button, because you’d need an electron microscope or the eyes of an eagle to make out the first seven CAPTCHAS you throw at us. As a general rule, a CAPTCHA should have more pixels than characters.
Long Load Times
Your website should be faster than a Sega Saturn video game. A brief 1 to 2 seconds of load time is ok if your site is particularly fancy, but keep in mind that users’ attention spans are shorter than–hey does that guy have a rattail?!
Forms seem pretty straight forward, right? Wrong. Forms are an, uh, art form. Field descriptions should not disappear when a user enters text, lest we become distracted by a rattail or something. “Tab” should always take me to the next form (not the next column), “enter” should always submit, and my info had damn well better be there if I prematurely hit submit.
Heinous Checkout Processes
Difficulty switching between billing and shipping addresses, promo codes that take FOREVER to load, allowing users to order items that are actually out of stock–all of these contribute to lost conversions and customers who are really sad because they ordered the perfect ivory rattail comb on sale–only to find out a week later that it was out of stock.
Security Questions that Only Apply to Some People
“What was the name of your sister-in-laws first pet?” Hmmm… I’m not married. “Who was your favorite teacher?” Hmmm… I was never educated. “Who is your best friend?” Hmmm… it was Bill, but he logged into my account and changed my password. I guess it’s Brian, now? Security questions should be broad enough that they apply to everyone. They also should not be subjective. Ask me my favorite color two years from now and it will most certainly be different than what it is today (hot pink).
Mobile users are growing each day, and soon, they’ll out number desktop traffic, topple our government and use Grub Hub to carry out their nefarious bidding across the nation. Ok, that won’t happen, but, please, make sure your website is mobile-friendly, especially if you’re a bar or restaurant that, you know, could use business coming from Google search!
Heaven help you if I visit your website and it automatically plays music. This is one of the worst practices that, for some reason, is not going away quickly enough. Aside from the fact that it completely ignores multiple-tab browsing and the basics of not invading your users’ frail senses, the music is invariably some laughable, midi version of the background music that plays in a suburban Italian restaurant that hasn’t changed its decor since 1993.
Painfully Obvious Stock Photos
Hey, that guy's business proposal doesn’t have any words on it! Stock photos can be handy for companies who don’t have the budget or the looks to translate into awesome images. That said, the three guys at a conference table with an impossibly white, Matrix-limbo background just screams “I pulled the first photo from iStock I could find.” You’re better than that, Lou, or whatever your name is. I feel like it’s Lou.
Have you ever been the hottest night-life bar in Philly with only the best drink specials in the Philadelphia area and the widest selection of craft beers and happy hours specials in Philadelphia that actually described itself as such on their website? Didn’t think so.
Page Breaks Where You Don’t Need Them
Stop baiting me to click through to your website and increase your page views. I work for the web, I know your tricks, foul creature. Holding analytics above your UX is just totally corporate, dude. You should care about your customers, or at least care about your bottom line enough to make it appear that you care about your money holders.