Know that feeling when you go onto a website, and it just feels a bit wrong? You can't exactly pinpoint any particular elements or factors creating this sense of discomfort, but by the end of it, you finish your online experience feeling either annoyed, exhausted, or just not doing what you had originally intended to do.
Regardless of website type or application (Information website or e-commerce, etc) you as a provider has one key objective: to convert visitors into customers. Often, we unintentionally place hurdles along the visitors' online path which result in losing those potential conversions.
Here are 3 things to avoid on your website to ensure those visitors don't walk away:
1. slideshow banners
Rotating banners divert attention and lowers your user engagement. It offers confusion not clarify, and it can potentially hurt your conversion rate.
Let's get this straight - we have nothing against slideshow banners, or sliders. They work great in e-commerce websites, blog-type posts, or gallery-focused websites, because they provide a dynamic point of visual interest, while at the same time provides varied kinds of information within the same section of that website.
However, it is this same qualities which can often detract a visitor from their main intent: finding information easily and quickly.
We understand that there is nothing worse than coming to a website and being bombarded by graphics, text and imagery - all competing for your attention and your ability to process all that information within a few seconds.
The example website above illustrates this clearly. All the information that a potential customer could want is in fact there. However, the moving display, together with the lack of text hierarchy and busy background makes this information not communicated in an efficient way. Visitors end up feeling overwhelmed and confused about what they are supposed to see.
A good website should understand what key information customers are looking for, and what questions they are asking. Instead of a moving banner, it may be more effective to have a graphically strong Header title, with an supporting Call-To-Action.
This clarity will allow information to be presented more directly and efficiently, and in turn improve your potential for conversions.
2. captcha forms
A CAPTCHA is a program that aims to protect websites against bots by generating tests that humans can pass but current computer programs cannot. Looking at the example above, humans can read the distorted text with no problem, but current computer programs are not able to.
Read more about Captcha forms here.
This approach works well from a domain safety point of view, but let's face it: we hate filling these out, and most online users would agree that they waste time (yes, 4 extra seconds is a lot of time!)
One of the key targets in achieving conversions is to remove friction along the visitor's transaction journey. The more simple and straight forward the journey, the faster those visitors will find what they are looking for, and in turn make those conversions.
Not having to fill out a Captcha will make this journey easier for visitors, and is guaranteed to improve the overall user-experience of your website.
3. stock images
We cannot overstate the importance of choosing the right images for your website. Our brain processes information as a series of images, and this includes our thought-patterns, rationalization, and decision-making. As far as websites go, if a visitor's thoughts, perception and interaction with a website is made more negative because of the images presented to him, it's pretty clear which way he'll head when it comes to decision-making.
Looking at the examples above, it's not hard to work out which uses stock images and which doesn't.
The first example is clearly out of context, and has no relevance to the main page content. New Zealand landscape scenery promoting insurance brokerage? "How we work" = flip flops? Nothing makes sense.
The second example above however, uses images of actual people, and combines it with text that supports what it illustrates (these guys probably did take this photo rather than purchase stock photo online). This creates a much more natural and appealing proposition to visitors who are new to the product, because it reminds them that your product is something they could relate to, and they too could enjoy the positive experience that your images are portraying. Simply put, the second image sells the product, whereas the first is just a pretty backdrop.
Images can make or break a brand. Choosing the right images will convey your brand's authenticity, general appeal and ultimately turn those visitors into converting customers.
Remember, your website is a means to an end. At the end of the day, it serves one function: to maximise conversions. The 3 tips above will no-doubt help to improve your website by providing information more effectively, removing friction throughout the user journey, and last but not least, be a visual stand-out by using relevant and specific images!