For every great design feature that businesses should look to add to their site, there’s an equal number of bad features that they should look to steer well away from. Marketing folk will definitely jump to the defence of those listed below and look to exalt the positives, but they are the only ones that will find value in them.
A diabolical creation that is as old as the internet itself, the heinous popup still exists to this very day. Downright irritating to contend with on a desktop computer, popups are even more infuriating to deal with on a mobile device, as they have a tendency to open up a whole new page, rather than simply displaying a small box that you can quickly close, as you would on a desktop.
A common use for popups most recently, is to display them when a user attempts to close the web page (ie. when they’re about to exit the website). So you’ll typically receive a popup in the vain of “before you go, be sure to grab a copy of our FREE online such and such” and so on. In my experience, the only time I ever actually stop to read the offer and perhaps even agree to their offer, is when I’m browsing an online store.
Many clothing stores in particular, offer first time customers a percentage off discount on their first order, if they agree to sign up for the newsletter. In such cases, if I’m interested in buying some of their clothing then yes, I most certainly will sign up for their newsletter to receive the discount. But this is the only exception. Every other time, I immediately click the [X] button to close the popup instantly, as if swatting a fly.
Moral of the popup story; unless you’re offering customers a discount on their first purchase, do not implement popups.
2) Videos That Autoplay
Videos content is an excellent way to market your products to your visitors; it’s an infinitely more powerful way to advertise and inform than text and images. However, it must still not be abused. When a user enters your website, they like knowing that they have the freedom to look around and click and browse in any order that suits them. When you have an autoplaying video, it essentially wrestles this control away from them and says “you’re watching this video now, whether you like it or not”.
I personally have earbuds that I’m listening to music on while I work, or have nothing playing at all. Either way, my earbuds are always in and the sound is always on. When I have a video that autoplays, it enrages me.
By all means, include video content throughout your website, but just be sure to let the user decide when in fact they play those videos.
3) Audio That Overrides Your Smartphone Settings
Similar to the frustration encountered when faced with an autoplaying video, equally frustrating are the moments when browsing a site on your smartphone while in silent mode, only to be assaulted by the blaring sounds from a website advert. Users have their phones on silent for a reason and a site whose audio settings ignore the needs of the user are at great risk of alienating them.