How to Jeopardize the User Experience
When UX Goes Wrong
Website Magazine's upcoming 'UX Roundtable' in the April issue (check your inboxes, mailboxes in a couple weeks) includes dozens of insights from Web professionals at the top of their game – from user expectations to how to prioritize UX initiatives. Until then, we've created this slideshow with common ways companies are jeopardizing their users' experience - and what to do instead.
Don't Make Key Conversion Pages Mobile Friendly
Unless there is a very compelling reason to, most people aren't going to download an app particularly if it's just to access mobile-friendly information (as they expect the mobile Web to be as device friendly as an app). United serves a mobile interstitial to encourage people to download its app to access mobile-friendly features, but it's not enough in the realm of user experience as key customer journey pages (e.g., search for travel) do not adapt to a person's device. Example: miss.
Return Zero Results
It’s expected that on-site search functionality will work the way it should – return results for queries. The problem with many sites’ search is that they return zero results because the site is unable to match entered terms with content or products. Search needs to be smarter to account for product names, model numbers, terminology/jargon, synonyms, special symbols and other combinations. When all else fails, suggest alternatives to the person’s query that make sense contextually. Example: miss.
Skip the Breadcrumbs
An older design element, yes, but breadcrumbs have a purpose. Conversion rate executive Martin Greif says they serve two needs: (1) They tell the users where they are relative to the rest of the site, which is critical if they get to the site from anywhere other than the homepage; (2) they provide paths to other parts of the website architecture and they help visitors easily navigate back to where they were and shows them how they go there. Those are not dated UX needs. Example: miss.
Re-Introduce Yourself - Every Time
It’s awkward to introduce yourself to someone you already met in real life, and there’s a similar feeling online when a person provides details about himself/herself (directly like through filling out a form or indirectly like through analytics) and returns only to be treated like a total stranger. Personalizing even by the largest of segments – new visitor/returning visitor – can go a long way. Jet Blue takes it a step further by remembering this visitor’s recent searches. Example: hit.
Websites serve as a the main component of a courting process where the site owner needs to convey value to the visitor in order for them to feel confident enough to take the company’s desired action. By forcing registration, the company risks making the person feel anxious rather than comforted. Many publishers - like the NY Times - are smart to allow for a certain amount of content to be consumed daily before registration is required. It's a fair and understandable trade. Example: hit.
Forget Fixed Navigation
Parallax scrolling and single-page design seem to be holding their place in Web design trends, but they shouldn’t be used at the risk of jeopardizing user experience. One way these trends can impact UX is when a person doesn’t have an easy way to get back to where they were on the page or take another desired option (like follow a call-to-action). Fixed navigation helps keep visitors grounded and less anxious because they are still in control of where they can go on a page. Example: miss.
Make Conversion Difficult
The least amount of steps to conversion, the better. If a person is willing to quickly offer their payment and personal information, then let them. Additional details that can be used to retain them can be asked for later. Sites should consider easy payment methods like PayPal, guest checkout and social sign-in to reduce the number of steps it takes to check out. While the LA Times is smart to show progress indicators (step 1 and step 2), they'd likely better with a PayPal option. Example: miss.