When it comes to what a web surfer is going to find attractive, interesting or valuable, there is no shortage of discussion and opinions on exactly what works or the best way to present it. You can ask a hundred different people what they think and you will get a hundred different answers; all of them, of course, correct.
One thing that is always agreed upon, however, is what drives a web surfer away; the amazingly annoying (and somehow still overused) bad designs, over the top advertising tactics and poorly planned programming.
It doesn’t matter where the surfer is coming from. He could be sitting at home with his laptop, just looking to relax and read about a band. He could be at the office sneaking a peek at something he really shouldn’t be doing on work time. He could be sitting on the subway trying to fight off boredom with his phone.
Normally it would be considered difficult to get a unified reaction out of these different users with the same piece of content, but if you do it right, if you really nail it, you can get them all to leave your site like a bolt of lightning and never come back.
So here are the top 5 ways to get a web surfer off your site in record time. If you are utilizing any of the tactics or designs listed here, you should not only have your web operating license revoked, you should be forced to bend over and take a swift kick in the ass from every web user you’ve ever tortured with your ignorance and arrogance.
Auto Played Sound
There is nothing worse than being jolted out of whatever zombified state one might be in, or worse, being outed in front of coworkers, by some unexpected automated sound coming from a web site. If whatever noise coming from your site actually plays for more than 2 seconds it’s only because my computer was lagging for some reason and the first back button click didn’t register.
Using an ad network on your site that may or may not play sounds is no excuse. You make the ultimate decision. If you allow it, it’s your fault and I hate you with every ounce of my being.
If you’ve actually made the conscious decision to play some sort of song or movie clip on your own, god help you. How did you make it this far?
50 Facts On 50 Pages
What in the world made you think it would be a good idea to break things down into 50 images with 2 sentence explanations and then put each individual item on a separate page?
Ah yes, the ad impressions. I can smell your brain smoking over there, “Hmm…If I can fit two ads on one page, I can do 100 on 50 pages.”
You see how that works? I know what you’re doing, and so does everyone else. You’re not fooling anyone. You’re annoying everyone. If there’s one item on the page and it’s already asking me to click next, I’m gone. The average web surfer is not a drooling idiot. We know when you’re playing us for a fool.
Nothing But A Video
So I saw whatever I saw on Google or another site and it looked interesting, so I clicked it and landed on your homepage — to find nothing but a video. I hover my mouse over the screen to get the time info to pop up, even though I really don’t care how long the video is. I’ve already decided I’m leaving.
I look at the time on the video just so I can say to myself, “What makes this idiot think I’m going to sit here and watch this 3 minute video when I could probably read whatever it talks about in 10 seconds?”
Advertising Over Content
You might have something I’ve been dying to see on your page somewhere, and I might already know that, but I will leave in a split second if the advertising messes with my experience.
If your content comes up slow, yet every ad on the page is loaded and flashing at me…bye.
If I actually start to read something on your page and then some java adware kicks in and shifts things on the page causing me to lose my place, I will curse your name and your dog’s too.
“Creative” Use of Color
There’s a reason newspapers, magazines, books and 99% of the written text in the world is printed in black and white. What makes you think you’ve thought of something new that will improve the reading experience that has existed for thousands of years?
Not everyone has 20/20 vision. Not everyone can see every color. And especially with computers and phones, not everyone sees things the same way on different screens.
Don’t mess with font and background colors unless you have a very specific reason to do so. And even then, ask yourself if it’s really necessary. And then still, slap yourself in the face for thinking about it and go find something else to do.