For most websites, that’s not going to happen.
The best user experience is when the visitor has almost no noticeable experience at all. It’s seamless, it’s easy and it feels right. If your site architecture, navigation, design, content and functionality all work together, your visitors will be quietly content. And that rocks. Why? Because they can find product info easily, it’s a breeze to get in touch with you, everything functions as it should, and the look-and-feel of the site jibes with your brand. People are happy.
But bad experiences are not so subtle – in fact, they’re all kinds of wrong. If there is anything that gets people hitting the "back" button, it's search tools that don’t work, broken links, pages that take too long to load, outdated content, forms that refuse to submit… the list goes on and on.
Hand over the controls to the user.
Sometimes in an effort to create a good experience, designers impose an experience. And to that, we have one thing to say: Don’t.
Like the drunk who keeps turning up the music and screaming “Good party, eh?”, trying to control visitors' website experience is seriously annoying.
You know the sites. The unexpected music that suddenly blasts from your speakers. Not surprisingly, generic ambient-trance music doesn’t make the user experience – or the company’s brand – any better. Or video that automatically starts playing, sending you jolting out of your chair. Allow the user to choose whether or not to play music or video.
Oh, and to the designer who wants to resize my browser window to YOUR optimal size: Did I give you permission to do that? No, it’s rude. The end of good manners, common courtesy and civility? Not on our watch, Bucko.
Flash intros increase bounce rates.
Surveys have shown that 80% of consumers hate Flash intros. Hate – you don't get any stronger than that. You probably already know how we feel about Flash intros, but if you missed it, here’s our answer to the age-old question “Do I need a Flash intro?” Don’t put a barrier between the user and your site. If you have to include something that says "Skip Intro", common sense should kick in.
And then there are the sites that smugly announce that only the latest version of Flash is acceptable. So, go away valued customer, and come back when you’ve downloaded it. Yeah, good luck with that approach.
Treat your visitor like a guest, with respect. Give them control over their own experience.