User experience or (UX) is the feeling users have when they are using a product, app, system or service. It covers anything from how the product is navigated, how easy it is to use, the content that’s displayed, colors, the actions someone takes to perform different tasks, etc. Even if you have never heard the term, if your business has a website your site offers every user an experience.
While many user experience trends are trying to enhance and improve the user experience, there are sometimes trends that create barriers for users and make it more difficult for them to use your website in the way you need them to: to close more deals.
I have collected several current UX trends I’ve seen while working with my clients on their website that I feel can create barriers that prevent you from selling:
Over complicated interfaces are UX poison
Too many buttons, menus and competing calls to action can be confusing and overwhelming for users. When a user cannot figure out quickly how to complete a task or find the information they’re looking for, they start feeling the symptoms of analysis paralysis and, in many cases, leave the website without performing any action at all.
How to prevent this? The entire goal for your website should be for your audience to perform no more than two actions. I call these a primary call to action and a secondary call to action. On this website, the primary call to action is to schedule a call with me. The secondary call to action is to sign up for my monthly newsletter. Look at your business offerings and your sales funnel and decide which are the two most important actions a potential customer should be able to perform on their own — without involvement from sales or customer service. Then, make sure those two actions are front and center wherever they go in your website.
Auto-play videos and audio
This is a major barrier for users, especially those with disabilities, limited bandwidth or entering your website from a place where the video and audio are simply not convenient. An example that immediately comes to mind is TikTok when accessed from a mobile app. Regardless of whether you have your volume turned all the way down, or muted altogether, TikTok will override the volume and start playing at a normal sound level. That makes for an embarrassing few seconds if you happen to be mindlessly browsing while in a public place – like in line at the bank. In addition, a video or audio delivery is not necessarily the best way for some people to absorb new information.
How to prevent this? If you’re considering incorporating video and/or audio to your website your video and audio should never be set to auto play. Your user should have the power to start/stop playing audio and video whenever they need to. In addition, you will want to offer both a transcription of the content of the video (not only for accessibility but for SEO purposes) as well as make sure that whatever content appears in the video is easily understood with enough contrast and the right size. For more tips to create accessible audio and video on your website, click here.
Hidden or non-standard navigation
Think you’re being super original by adding non-traditional or hidden navigational features to your website? Following conventions for navigation helps users quickly understand and use your site to find what they need. When users can’t figure something out quickly (about 50 milliseconds) they will leave your site and never return. According to Usability Geek, the navigation of your website is an area where “predictability might be preferred over uniqueness.”
How to prevent this? Check your analytics. If your homepage or main landing page have a high bounce rate and no conversions, your main purpose or path to action might be too obscure for your users. Make sure your navigation structure is very simple, and free of multiple submenus or disorganized information. If you’re a fan of minimalism, make sure your navigation still includes clear navigation cues.
Pop-ups and interstitials
Pop-ups and interstitials, especially those that are not easily dismissible, can be a major barrier for users, as they often interrupt the user’s experience and can be difficult to close or dismiss. This experience can be magnified for mobile users, because the pop-ups and interstitials can not only take up the entire screen but also might be hiding the close button right off the frame where you can’t see, or click, it.
How to prevent this? I tend to recommend exit-intent pop-ups and interstitials as their appearance will be less annoying after the user has completed the actions they meant to take on the website. I also recommend these elements to be thoroughly tested in a mobile environment to make sure they are easy to close and not completely ruin the site experience. In order to maximize your results, consider turning off your popups when you’re not pushing a specific campaign, so that your user is not trained over time to automatically close the popup without reading it.
Websites and digital products that are not optimized for different screen sizes and devices can create barriers for users, especially those on mobile devices, as they may struggle to navigate or use the interface effectively. Considering 58.3% of all internet traffic in the United States comes from mobile users on smartphones and tablets; having a mobile-first experience is no longer a gimmick or an option for most business owners.
How to prevent this? Your site should not only be completely responsive, but you should ensure both your main call to action and secondary call to action can be easily performed by a person using a smartphone. For example, instead of providing your phone number in writing, consider creating a button that will automatically dial or open the text window on a smartphone.
Websites and digital products that are not accessible to people with disabilities, such as those with visual, auditory, or motor impairments, can create significant barriers and make it difficult for these users to access and use the products. Ensuring your website is ADA and/or WCAG compliant means you can protect your business from litigation, but also helps even the playing field for the 20% of users who experience some sort of disability in their daily life.
How to prevent this? Run your website through an accessibility checker, install an accessibility plugin; or pay an accessibility tester to ensure your site is implementing all the tools required for people with disabilities to access.
Do you have questions about how your current website’s user experience is helping or hindering your sales? You can contact me for a Website Audit, where I will put your website to the test and take a deep-dive into your website’s current structure, navigation, SEO, content, design, conversion points, accessibility and legal requirements. You will walk away with an actionable list of changes to help your website go from blah to fab and you can decide whether you want me, or someone else, to perform your fixes.