HT Design Studio
Human Technology. We improve the way people interact with websites, apps, and digital products.

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We write about how you can ensure your customers have the best user experience possible using your website or digital product.

4 Reasons Why You’re Getting Complaints About Your Business's Slick New Marketing Website

Your redesigned marketing website does not magically produce more sales or move people through your sales funnel. In fact, a newly redesigned website may be doing your business more harm than good—deterring website visitors instead of helping your business meet its user experience goals. In fact, you may be investing in SEO to drive more people to the website, only to have them leave annoyed and dissatisfied.

You business is not alone. Your website is likely one of many in which user research and usability testing were not part of the design process. While their specific usability issues are different, they tend to fall into one of the four categories below:

  1. The new website design does not take into account users’ experience with other websites. People take their previous experiences with them and think, “what worked on that website will probably work here.” In the physical world, as you go about your day opening doors, you call on your previous experience opening similar doors. If a door design doesn’t provide visual cues or violates your mental model of how doors operate, you end up being the idiot who can’t open it. When a website violates a person’s mental model of what the website should do, what it should contain, and what navigation options should be available, the user becomes confused and quickly frustrated.
  2. The website design follows trends that result in a poor user experience. Just because a design trend crops up on other websites, does not mean it is the best choice for your target audience. In effort to try something new and different, designers sometimes take inspiration from websites with the newest design trend. These are trends that the target audience is unfamiliar with, and often result in poor usability. For example, flat design that does not give the user visual cues as to what is clickable or putting field labels within fields, which disappear once the user starts typing. Visual design is important—but usability always comes first.
  3. The website’s marketing efforts look desperate. Marketing-speak is a turnoff that users will glance at then ignore (or laugh at). Use clear and helpful language that you’ve tested with representative users. In attempting to establish a relationship with your website visitor, adhere to social norms. NO ONE wants to give you their personal information upon first entering the site. Asking for it then is not only annoying, it’s intrusive. Demonstrate value first, then carefully and considerately move interested users to the next level of engagement.
  4. Mobile is an afterthought. Most websites are responsive now, but that does not mean they are mobile-optimized. Because of the lack of real estate, mobile design presents a myriad of challenges and usability issues that are often not apparent to the design team until a real user tries to use the site. In the rush to launch a website, testing with representative users on mobile devices is a step that is often skipped—until your company starts to receive complaints.

How do you prevent these issues?
Conduct user research prior to a website redesign—which might include a usability study using your current website—and involve representative users in walkthroughs and usability studies throughout the design and development process. Establish user experience metrics that are tied to business goals. Then make sure you’re regularly measuring your progress and optimizing when those goals aren’t being met. As an added bonus, investing in fixing many of the issues in #2-4 will also help with your website’s SEO.

Already receiving complaints?
Combine insights from your website analytics and usability studies to determine what the specific user experience issues are and how you can fix them.