When website development was relatively new, and companies were beginning to understand the value of professionally designed and developed websites, there was more of an “anything goes” attitude, as one of our Account Managersknows all too well.
Thankfully over time, guidelines began to get established, and with the adaptation of responsive websites and frameworks, user experience, or UX, has become the focal point of website design and development. Today, most websites are mobile responsive and designs are well thought-out and executed, but there are still common UX misconceptions that people frequently believe. Here are five that we deal with on a regular basis when working with our website clients.
1. All Pages Should be Accessible in Three Clicks
While ease of navigation should be a top priority in your website design, usability studies show that users won’t leave your site if takes more than three clicks for them to get to the information they want, and it also doesn’t affect user satisfaction or success rates. While the “3-click” rule might have held some weight in the days of dial-up internet connections, adhering to this rule today tends to cause more problems than solutions.
David Hamil’sarticle “Stop Counting Clicks” goes into further detail and examples on why this rule is no longer applicable in today’s world of informative websites and faster internet speeds.
2. Users Won’t Scroll
When clients bring up the “above the fold” rule, I cringe a little. Can you imagine going to a website and not scrolling? In the 90s, people weren’t used to scrolling on a website, but today it is expected that a website will scroll down to reveal more data. In fact, on mobile, half of users startscrolling within 10 seconds of loading a website (and 90 percent within 14 seconds). That means many users aren’t even seeing what’s “above the fold”.
What’s more, scrolling provides a better user experience than making users navigate to separate screens or pages to get all of the information for continuous content, like tutorials or articles.
3. White Space is Wasted Space
Sometimes it’s hard to help clients see the trees from the woods, especially when they are investing in a website redesign. It’s tempting to fill that header area with as much contact information, Calls-to-Actions and graphics as possible. But that extra space, or white space, is an essential element in web design and is not always meant to be filled.
White space plays an important role in the visual layout and brand positioning, allows for readability and scannability, and ultimately guides users on a page. So, while you might be tempted to want to fill all that“wasted” space when you see your mockup for the first time, resist the urge to create a chaotic user experience for your website visitors.
4. Mobile Users are Distracted
Okay, so maybe this one isn’t so much a myth as it is a misconception. Mobile users are distracted, but then again, who isn’t? Ever been working on something on your computer and your email notification dings? The point is, distraction isn’t a mobile-only issue.
In fact, mobile website engagement is higher than desktop, accounting for an average 66 percent of website users.Mobile usage has taken over the majority of our normal tasks, such as radio, photos, instant messaging, and directions (rememberMapquest?). So now more than ever, your website needs to accommodate mobile users. If it doesn’t, you might see a higher abandon rate on your website.
5. Accessibility is Expensive and Difficult
Accessibility is about making sure everyone can use your website, including people with disabilities like vision impairment and mobility limitations. Not only is it the right thing to do, in some cases, it’s thelaw.
If done right from the beginning, accessible websites shouldn’t cost anything extra and can look and function exactly like a normal website. There are even some benefits to having a mobile accessible site, such as better overall usability, being SEO-friendly, and providing compatibility across browsers. You should always talk to your development team and let them know from the beginning that your site needs to be accessible. Converting an inaccessible site might take extra time, effort, and money.