78 Annoyances that Kill the Website Experience

by Edwin on August 12, 2013

  1. Sound or video that starts as soon as you hit the page
  2. Shopping carts that empty themselves if there’s a glitch anywhere in the shopping-checkout process
  3. No visible means of contact, not even a form to fill in
  4. Hotmail, Gmail or other free email addresses on commercial sites
  5. Content carousels (e.g. the top 5 news stories) that auto-rotate in the next piece of content faster than you can read
  6. Top X lists broken into X pages – time is money
  7. You add customers to your marketing database because they bought something from you
  8. Easy to subscribe to service, with deliberately obscure/impossible to find cancellation process
  9. Delivery fee for tickets sent instantly, electronically, for me to print
  10. Mix of opt-in and opt-out checkboxes for offers from you and/or marketing partners
  11. Product stated as “in stock” but it’s actually out of stock
  12. Popups that take over the whole screen
  13. Ecommerce stores that demand a date of birth. Unless you’re selling age-restricted products, why? Extra fail points if you send out insincere birthday greetings every year from then on out.
  14. Recommendations for products already bought
  15. Privacy page is 404
  16. “Empty cart” button where you expect to see “Submit” (Why have it at all? People can just leave your site if they don’t want to buy stuff)
  17. Expired security certificate
  18. If your site sells internationally, don’t expect overseas customers to know local holidays by name (or indeed at all)
  19. Site is too slow (use Google’s PageSpeed tools to help diagnose problems)
  20. Web address doesn’t resolve without the “www.” in front of it
  21. Web address doesn’t resolve with the “www.” in front of it
  22. Email to contact address bounces
  23. FAQs with answers that are basically “Contact us for the answer to this”
  24. Order form verification too strict (e.g. doesn’t allow for the wide variety of zip/postcode and telephone numbers around the world)
  25. Visit to mobile site triggers ad to download app – every time
  26. Site is broken in certain main browsers (test for Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox and Opera at minimum)
  27. Too-slow follow up emails (to subscription requests, orders etc.)
  28. Too many fonts and colours
  29. Poor quality, too-small photos (bonus fail points if you click on a photo to zoom it and the photo remains the same size)
  30. Pages without navigation back to any other page (if visitors visit from a search engine, they’re now “stuck”)
  31. Shipping charges hidden until the end of checkout
  32. “Back” button disabled
  33. Flash-only pages (don’t show up in iOS browsers such as on the iPhone/iPad)
  34. FAQs that sell rather than answer questions that actual customers might ask
  35. Meaningless error messages that only a techie could love
  36. Teeny tiny fonts
  37. Poor contrast between text and background
  38. Totally meaningless, irrelevant graphics
  39. Content that requires obscure plugins to display
  40. Lack of detail in product descriptions
  41. Poor spelling and grammar
  42. Passwords that are too short (8 characters is completely inadequate)
  43. Mobile sites that never allow access to the desktop version (let visitors choose)
  44. Cheesy stock images (especially of “happy employees”)
  45. No pricing information or even indication of a price range (just “Contact us…”)
  46. No dates on time-sensitive content (is it new? old? antique? who knows!)
  47. No domain name (why brand somebody else’s site?)
  48. Email messages CCd to all your clients (exposes their email addresses to each other)
  49. Email messages with no subject line
  50. Graphical badges for obscure organisations nobody (not even your potential target market) has ever head of
  51. Third party advertising on your ecommerce store (doesn’t reassure about the quality of your own products)
  52. Pop-ups
  53. Mixing up “Next” and “Previous” navigation on blogs (“Previous” should take you to older stuff)
  54. Script that automatically resizes the browser window
  55. Email signup form without information about newletter themes and frequency, sample issue, privacy policy, etc.
  56. Search engines on time-sensitive sites (e.g. news sites) that default to “relevant” rather than “latest”
  57. Ask for the bare minimum of information you NEED to process an order or transact business, and no more. If you’re asking for something for any reason other than fulfilling orders (e.g. gathering demographics) then STOP.
  58. Do not force registration when it’s not strictly necessary
  59. No forced “intros” – let people see the real content immediately
  60. Make sure links look like links – don’t take away the visual clues (colours, underlining) that people rely on to distinguish them from other text
  61. Out of date information e.g. products that you no longer sell, contact details that are invalid etc.
  62. Automatic live chat popup boxes that trigger on every visit
  63. Captchas (unless you really really really need them, but then make them legible)
  64. Scripts that disable the right-click button
  65. Too-short content on each page of a multi-page article. Give people 400-500 words per page at least.
  66. Not specifying your timezone if you expect to get support requests from all over the world
  67. Accept cookie warnings/checkboxes (get with the programme – most sites are abandoning these as unworkable)
  68. Emails with passwords sent in plaintext (passwords should not be stored in plaintext ANYWHERE on your systems)
  69. Over SEO-d content. Remember, your customers are human – so treat them that way.
  70. Content that forces visitors to scroll horizontally to view the whole of the page
  71. Complicated, unclear or irrelevant navigation
  72. Assuming your visitors are already fully familiar with your products or services
  73. Assuming your visitors understand your jargon (people inside the industry may refer to something one way or very technically, lay-people may describe it much more simply or in a completely different way)
  74. Maps that are too small or where the “we are here” dot is in the wrong place
  75. Lack of photos (for things where appearance is important)
  76. Don’t open every page in a new window
  77. Dilbertspeak information-free welcome text – you have no idea what the company actually sells or does, only that it has “changed paradigms”.
  78. Checkout forms that lose all information when you hit the “back” button

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