“56, 57, 58. . ., man, oh man, how long is it going to take for this site to load. Ah, forget it, I’ll just go somewhere else”.
How often have you had a similar experience? In an age when it seems like we are always in a hurry, a website that takes too long to load will soon perish; we simply hit “back”, and move on to another site.
Load time, of course, is just one factor in the success or failure of any website, and site-builders, professional or amateur, need to take these components into account. Here are some reasons why people will, straightaway, leave a website.
- Load time – Number one for good reason. You can get everything else right in a site design, but if it takes too long to load, people will not wait. The Internet is all about speed.
- Navigation – Ability to move around within a website is another crucial element in any site design; drop-down menus that lead to nowhere will lead users to somewhere else, and they probably won’t be back.
- Timeliness – If you have a site that provides information about long-ago events, you may not need to do much updating, but if you are a retailer dealing in seasonal items, you will probably want to put the St. Patrick’s Day stuff away before the Fourth of July.
- Readability – If wording is unclear, or if directions are hard-to-follow, people will not spend time trying to figure things out; they’ll just leave.
- Speling (sic) – Poor spelling and typographical errors jump out, and users will instantly lose confidence in a site; they figure that if no apparent care is taken with the spelling or typing, the same lack of care will apply to everything else you have to offer.
- Bells and Whistles – This often applies to neophyte site builders, who sometimes get lost in splashy graphics or fancy fonts. Unless you sell splashy graphics and fancy fonts you’ll want to remember the point of your presentation, and make sure the user doesn’t get bogged down in an unreadable font, or angry at some annoying sound.
- Pop-ups – Pop-up advertising, and other interruptive content (called “interstitials”) can be a two-edged sword. Advertisers say they are an effective sales tool, but they also generate a lot of resentment, and may drive many people away from a site, pronto.
- Accessibility – People need to be able to get to a site in order to use it, and the developer needs to ensure that entry is easy, no matter what browser, or type of computer or smart-phone the user has.
- Pizzazz! – Often a “fine line” aspect; if a site doesn’t hold someone’s interest, off they go. A bored user will soon be no user at all. But, just like used-car salesman who tout every lemon as though it were a royal chariot, credibility must be maintained.
- Ego-tripping – Unless the site is an auto-biography, the designer needs to remember who or what is important. If selling real estate is the purpose, show the real estate, not a bunch of pictures showing how good the agent’s teeth look. If your uncle is the dentist, tell him to get his own site.
There are myriad other aspects to consider when building or developing a site, but this is a good start on the road to success.
Contacts and sources:
Story by Tracy Wayne