Monday, 2 January 2017

Some reasons why your website is rubbish

Grandpa rambles about his website (which isn't rubbish):
A week or so ago I mused about web sites and how horrible some were.
The minute I read this I cried "yep". Especially corporate websites.

So here's a few things that are important (not that I'm an expert or anything as vulgar as all that).

1. White Out body copy. Just don't do it. Ever. This isn't an aesthetic comment but one about legibility - as an older person with the deteriorating eyesight that often entails I simply can't read it easily enough to be bothered.

2. Running copy across pictures. Yes, you all do it and, just like white out body copy it's hard to read. And if you can't be bothered to make your site legible why on earth should I bother to read it? Indeed, before you press publish perhaps you should get  half-blind old coot to try and read your beautiful site?

3. Hiding the contact details. Am I the only person who is a tad suspicious when I have to scroll down to a contents listing (probably in nine-point white copy on a pale blue background) in order to find the means to contact you?

4. Making me use a crap form to contact you. I know it's tidy and convenient (for you) but it isn't what folk want. And it's worse still if you don't include a telephone number.

5. Not having a real world address. A bloke once gave me his business card. Colourful, designer-ish and shiny. No address, no landline. Just a mobile number. Precisely what sort of confidence does this give me I'm not going to get ripped off?

6. Why isn't the stuff people want on your landing page? I mean it's lovely, you've spent loads on design and what not but at no point have you apparently thought about why someone's visiting. Half the time it's like having a shop where the windows contain the company logo, pictures of the directors and the chairman's latest letter rather than any sort of product. I'm not there to read a blog about your team building day, I'm there because I might be interested in what you might - you never know - want to sell me.

None of this stuff is new. Back in my direct marketing days all these things (along with more white space, asking readers to actually do something and talking to them not to some vague third party) were beaten into copywriters with especially knobbly shillelaghs. It seems that, yet again, making stuff pretty and technically whizzy has triumphed over making it what the potential customer wants.



Clarissa said...

What the CEO wants (invariably all-singing, all-dancing, very pretty but devoid of content) is also a significant driving factor.

Grandad said...

7. Pop-ups! I might have been remotely interested in subscribing, but pup-ups begging me to subscribe make it a definite NO!

8. Whinging because I use an ad-blocker. I use one because I do not like ads and demanding I switch it off just to see something I obviously don't want to see is more than counterproductive.

[Thanks for the mention, by the way!]

Paul B said...

Then for heaven sake don't look at my blog ;-)

James Higham said...


Curmudgeon said...

I often think the deliberate intention of websites is to obfuscate, especially when it comes to contact details.

And many are ridiculously resource-heavy in loading all kinds of extraneous matter that even ad blockers don't stop.

Woodsy42 said...

"making stuff pretty and technically whizzy has triumphed over making it what the potential customer wants."

Isn't that true of many modern items? I have a pretty and technically whizzy smartphone, but one that makes some jobs ridiculously difficult and sometimes fails (and yes Google I'm looking at you, with apps that cannot be removed and cannot be shifted to the sim card, thus leaving the main phone memory continually constipated). A complete and total lack of awareness of what's needed and design failings that would be obvious on any common sense design brief.
On the 'fun' level I have a toy mini-drone, with controller having 8 unlabelled buttons that apparently can change function. Why?
Neither does modern design actually set out to do what people might like: For example my house has idiotic old fashioned mechanical locks requiring a separate intruder system - yet even a cheap car has a handy little button that can unlock and lock doors, isolate electrical functions, switch on the interior light etc - all built in and integrated as you approach or leave it. Why isn't every new house similarly secure and integrated?