Keeping the Web Simple

First impressions are important. Jamie Baird talks about making your site visitors' experience a pleasant one.

Jamie Baird

Patience is a virtue, right? Good things come to those who wait. Those are adages my mother instilled in me growing up. Now that I’ve had my fair share of life experiences, I’m here to tell Mom she wasn’t 100% right.

First Impressions are Important

Before I send Mom a hand-written apology, let me explain. Patience and perseverance are key attributes to being successful in life; however, apply this logic to your ability to access information on the web, and you can be assured that your site will underperform. Not only that, an unintuitive or bogged down workflow could actually turn a user’s perception of your product or service from neutral to unwaveringly negative simply by causing a frustrating experience with your site’s layout and workflow. 

User Experience Obstacles

I’m willing to bet just about everyone reading this has experienced some variation of these hurdles when trying to cue up a site from their mobile device:

  • Why is this taking so long? The site is taking FOREVER to load. Guess I’ll just wait because this is important, and it seems to be the only relevant information on the subject I could find.
  • Ok, now the site has loaded. I’m invested now. That took forever. Why isn’t the site mobile friendly?? Apparently, I have to pinch and zoom on the tiny navigation hunting for what could be the right section.
  • This navigation isn’t well organized. Why are there two navigation items that are essentially the same thing? Guess I’ll try this one first.
  • Whelp, didn’t even get to view the sub-navigation, as an ill-timed (or perfectly timed click bait) pop up ad got me and took me away from the site altogether. Let me just close this new window and get back on track.
  • Ok, I’ve clicked on the navigation and found what appears to be something close to what I’m looking for. I click on that and another menu flies out. Unbelievable. I’ve spent way too much time to quit now. This has to be it.
  • My finger was too large to click the right link, so now I’m on the wrong page. Wait, all of these sections are actually just one page. Why did they break them all up in the menu, then?!?

I could go on, but this scenario is cringeworthy enough without the content found being:

  1. not applicable
  2. member’s only content (they didn’t tell me it was member’s only)
  3. a broken page.

The most frustrating part of this is that none of these hurdles are difficult to address. These are all seemingly basic needs every website should always address, but so often we find ourselves in situations where we give up or wonder aimlessly through irrelevant information to get to what we need.

The Keep It Simple Rule

Building a website isn’t always easy, and a vast array of decisions must be made at every juncture to optimize the look, function, workflow and user journey, all to coerce engagement. Those decisions can and do become overwhelming. At the heart of all those processes and choices, always remember that users pine for a simple experience. Period. Give them what they want, when they want it and make it easy for them to access. If that principle remains a goal throughout your developmental processes, you’ll be setting yourself up for success every time.

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