Online retailers and other website owners still have plenty of room for improvement, as some are still guilty of some avoidable usability problems. Jakob Nielsen recently said that terrible websites are less common now, but an investment in improving user experience can still pay off, with average ROI around 83%. We list ten common usability problems found on all kinds of websites…
SLOW LOADING PAGES
Slow loading pages are a killer – incredibly frustrating for the user and virtually guaranteed to have them clicking the back button. Webpages should load within a second ideally, or users will start to wonder what is going on, and think about finding a competitor with a better site. Most well known sites are pretty quick to load, but I have encountered a few problems with National Express’s site, which was slow to load, while Currys can be a bit too leisurely at times – getting from the homepage to the LCD TV section took more than eight seconds.
Navigation should be intuitive and easy to use, and should follow convention, especially on e-commerce sites. There should be no room for confusion. In the example, a site which has been set up to ‘promote usability and user-centred design’ has committed the sin of using Flash-based navigation.
Dropdown menus are useful for web designers as, by hiding navigation options in this way they save space. However, they are likely to get on users’ nerves. Users have to point the mouse precisely to get to the section they want and, if the cursor leaves the menu, they have to start all over again. Very frustrating.
POOR CHECKOUT DESIGN
Having got them this far in the process, a poorly designed checkout can cause customers to abandon their purchase. Sources of frustration for users include an overlong registration procedure, unclear checkout buttons, and any unnecessary distractions.