What makes an annoying website?

by Gary on November 15, 2007 · 7 comments

in Website Design

What makes an annoying website? I ask this question because I think very few people intentionally design or developed annoying websites. We end up having an annoying website sometimes when we just think about our preferences instead of thinking about making life easier for our visitors. We forget that the most important aspect of the website is the easy access to the information we are intending to provide to our visitors. A website that we think is a masterpiece may look like a nuisance to your visitors. Let us quickly go through a few pointers that sometimes end up making your website annoying without you realizing it.

Difficult to read text

They can be many factors that make it difficult to read your text; you may have a color contrast that is highly straining to the eye — for instance red text on yellow background (I know it is an extreme case). Some websites have microscopic text and it is so weird why on earth they have such a small font size on every page of the website. Make sure your text is easily readable; if possible get a second opinion, for instance you may find dark-gray text on a black background cool but there are many people who cannot read such text.

Lots of needless animation and sound

Lots of animation in the form of advertisements or misplaced extra effects also make your website annoying. If the textual information present on your website is important then don’t distract or irritate your visitors with lots of animations and noises. There is no need to play loud music when people come to your website because many people may be accessing your website at places that are quiet and where loud noise is not appreciated.

Lots of intrusive advertisements

Even if you maintain a website or a blog to earn advertising revenue don’t throw the advertisements at your readers’ faces. Let the advertisements be a part of your overall design rather than popping up here and there restricting access to the content your visitors are looking for.

A difficult-to-figure-out navigation

Your navigation should be prominently visible on your website and it should be extremely easy to access all the links in your navigation whether you use text or images. In case you use a JavaScript or a Flash animation to generate your navigation menu than make sure that a text-menu alternative is available too. A navigation menu that is difficult to click on is a very big turn-off for most of your visitors.

Lots of boastful copy

In case you are selling a service or a product from your website then using a hyperbolic pitch in your sales copy is a sure shot way of sending your visitors away to your competitor’s website because the Internet is full of such spurious, boastful noises. Always use informative copy on all the pages giving the right and relevant information to your visitors to help them make the correct decision as easily and quickly as possible.

The pop-ups

A pop-up is a widely-detested way of throwing information in your visitor’s face. Most people dislike pop-ups and if you have them on your website and if you wonder why you don’t get much business than it might be, or it must surely be the pop-ups that are sending your visitors away even before they can read something. A pop-up should only appear if it is absolutely unavoidable and if it is an integral part of your online application. Never ever use pop-ups to display advertisements and ask people to subscribe to your newsletter or buy your product.

Basically everything that makes it difficult to access important information or functions on your website is annoying. Everything on your website should be there to enhance the experience of your visitors. In order to decide whether they want to do business with you or not you need a professional, clean, and easily accessible website; they don’t need the dancing monkeys are the squealing whales to get enlightened.

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  • WTL

    I personally find audio on websites the most annoying thing, but flash-heavy or gif-animations bother me as well.

    In reality, *anything* that impedes my ability to get to the information I am looking for is annoying.

    One item that should be on the list is a slow-loading site.

    This is a symptom of many of the other items combined, but it is another item to look out for – especially if some of your users are on dial-up.

  • Marc Levy

    Good list, I don’t really have much to add. Perhaps these:

    - Broken links (especially ones that will supposedly take me to what I want to find!)

    - Too much text. Break pages up into clear and easy to use pages, rather than just one page that scrolls down forever!

    - Part of good navigation I suppose: Make the contact us easy to find. List your email/form, telephone and address. If you’re a legit business you should have no problem with this and can earn you some extra trust and creditability with users.

    • Gary

      Hi Marc, thanks for adding to the list. Have a good weekend.

  • BlogOxide

    The article has listed all what makes me annoyed, I simply close the window if I see all these thing. And let me have my say appreciating the effort of writer, ‘it’s superb and a must read for webmasters.

    Regards,

  • SEO Carly

    Good list Gary, i’d love to add one more it’s one of my pet hates… Those bloody annoying Snap screenshot images that pop-up because you accidentally mouse over them when try to use the site.

    It’s like trying to dodge land mines. :)

  • WTL

    Oh.. I *loathe* those Snap screenshots. I believe there is a way to turn them off., but it really blows me away that people would use something that annoying.

  • Mhel

    Good list. also what marc has added. Well aside from those I think un-updated infos annoys me. You know? expecting for updates and you found nothing…