7 features that website creators love and customers hate

Bruno Veberis
7 features that website creators love and customers hate

No matter who you are, you likely visit several websites per day. All you want to do is get in, get out, and leave with what you wanted. But it's never that simple, is it?

Nowadays, to visit a website, you have to figure out how to decline non-essential cookies, close the support chat widget, stop the auto-playing video, close the subscribe to our newsletter pop-up, decline push notifications and location sharing, and then try to remember why you came to the website in the first place (Andy Budd).

Sometimes it can feel like website creators are just intentionally coming up with new ways to annoy you. That is until you build a website for your online business yourself.

Suddenly, that auto-playing video is a great idea to deliver better content to your visitors, email pop-ups are your favorite tool for building a marketing list, and, before long, your website is just like the ones you disliked. When you create a website, you understand why all of those annoying features are there and you learn to accept them.

But your customers might not. To them, all those features are an annoyance that's stopping them from getting what they want. So, how do you keep your visitors happy while ensuring that your website works and looks the way you want it to?

In this article, we'll take a look at 7 features that can ruin an online experience. For each of them, we'll explain what they are, dive into why website creators want to use them, look at why customers hate them, and explain what you should do.

1. Forced (or heavily encouraged) registration in internet stores

Source: Zappos

Forced registration in e-commerce websites is becoming increasingly common. It's when you cannot complete the purchase without registering a profile first, or, the option to proceed without registering is hidden to encourage people to sign up.

Why website creators like it:

The reasoning behind strongly encouraging registration boils down to two main benefits for store owners. One, to build a database of customers for marketing and data gathering purposes, and, two, to create a better user experience for returning customers – since all customer data is saved, they can check out more quickly and easily the next time they use the store.

Why customers hate it:

According to data, on average, about 28% of online customers become repeat customers. That means that 3 out of 4 people probably won't be coming back to your store – and they know it! Accordingly, it can be a hassle to create a profile with a password you won't remember anyway. In most cases, your customer just wants to complete the purchase as soon as possible and by adding extra steps to the buyer's journey you increase customer dissatisfaction and, hence, the likelihood that they'll abandon their cart.

What you should do:

Allow customers to complete the purchase without registering. But offer it as an option for those who want it. There are also alternative options available – for example, stores built with Mozello allow customers to save their data on their devices without having to register. This means that when they return to your store, they'll be able to checkout quicker without having to re-enter their data, login, or remember a password.

2. Carousel banners

Source: Wooly Organic

A carousel is a set of rotating banners on your website. For example, instead of having one main image on your homepage, you could have three that change automatically or manually.

Why website creators like it:

Carousel banners allow website creators to add more information in a single block on their website. You can showcase your different products, services, and values within one space, instead of elongating your page or sacrificing important content. Plus, the dynamic content might help you stand out and make your page look more interesting to potential customers.

Why customers hate it:

It can be frustrating to have an image change while you're absorbing the information on it. But, usually, people don't even notice it because they're quickly scrolling through your website to find what they want. Customers have neither the time nor desire to sit and click through all your carousel banners, so ultimately it's just a wasted effort at best, and an annoyance for customers, at worst.

What you should do:

You should avoid carousel banners unless you have a very good reason to. Instead, use a single high-quality image with a targeted Call-to-action button.

3. Minimum order price

Source: Wild Deodorant

E-commerce stores often set a minimum order price (or product count, like in the image above) to ensure they don't have to spend time and resources on low-value orders.

Why website creators/store owners like it:

A minimum order price allows businesses to sift out unprofitable sales. To illustrate, if you order $3 earrings, the business has to process the order, wrap them, prepare them for delivery, send them out, and offer tracking throughout the entire process – all of these steps are expenses for the business and they might not make any profit for orders under a certain limit. By setting a minimum order price, businesses ensure that they don't lose money (or – lose less).

Why customers hate it:

Minimum order price boils down to bad service. Sometimes people need something small and by not allowing them to get it, you're dismissively signaling that they're not welcome in your store. Such a negative experience is likely to keep potential customers from returning to your store and making bigger purchases in the future. Plus, they won't recommend your store to any friends or family.

What you should do:

If you can, you should avoid order minimums. Think of low-value purchases as an investment in brand recognition and customer satisfaction. Another option is to add a small additional cost, such as a delivery surcharge or packaging cost, so that your customers reach the minimum value to complete the purchase.

4. Videos that auto-play

Source: Forbes

Though it's not very common, some websites start automatically playing a video or audio when a user visits the page. The videos can be advertisements, product-related content, or some company news.

Why website creators like it:

The average time spent on a webpage is 52 seconds. People typically avoid playing videos and quickly skim through the page, as they just want to find what they're looking for. By auto-playing videos, website creators can attract attention and get more people to watch company content. As a result, people spend more time on the website and learn more about the company and its products.

Why customers hate it:

Nobody likes to be surprised by a loud video. It can cause anger, stress, and other negative emotions, which will instantly be associated with the brand that caused them. Even if the video is silent – the customer is unlikely to have either the time or will to watch it, so they have to spend time and energy to pause the video. Plus, video uses more data, which can be an annoyance for people using roaming services abroad, as it can take a long time to load and incur additional roaming costs.

What you should do:

It's almost never a good idea to use auto-play. If you have a video on your website, let the visitor play it themselves, if they want to.

5. Flashing design elements

On some websites, you'll find flashing buttons, images, and other elements that are intended to help attract attention to a particular item.

Why website creators like it:

Flashing buttons is regarded as a bad practice among more experienced designers, however, beginners sometimes think it's a good idea. When building a website, it's important to make sure that customer focus is directed at key information and buttons, and some creators might want to take a shortcut by using flashing elements since they attract attention.

Why customers hate it:

It looks desperate and unprofessional. Flashing elements put extra strain on the customer and make it more difficult – not easier – to absorb information. On top of that, it's a matter of accessibility. Certain over-the-top flashing content can cause seizures in susceptible people and, because of this, is discouraged and even forbidden by the Web Content Accessibility guidelines.

What you should do:

There's a reason why you won't find any flashing things on the world's leading brand websites and stores – it looks tacky and it's bad for accessibility. Avoid flashing elements.

6. Banners and pop-ups

Source: bohemia

Various banners and pop-ups are commonly used across websites. One of the most common types of pop-ups is for email sign-up, intended to help the website owner gather contacts for marketing purposes.

Why website creators like it:

Banners are useful for conveying important information. Creators like to remind users of upcoming events or ongoing sales and they believe taking up a part of the screen is a worthwhile tradeoff to attract attention to something important. Pop-ups, on the other hand, are usually used to get visitors to leave their email and other information, which can later be used to send sales emails and offers directly to a potential customer.

Why customers hate it:

A Sumo study found that the average conversion rate for an email pop-up was 3.09%. That means that out of 100 people who see that pop-up, only 3 leave their email. In other words – for 97 people, it's an annoyance and an extra thing you have to close on the website. Banners, on the other hand, are disliked because they take up valuable screen space – they crowd the screen and make it less convenient to browse the website.

What you should do:

Use banners and pop-ups scarcely. They may bring some benefits to your business, but there's a fine line between being a minor inconvenience and a deal-breaking annoyance. Try to integrate information into your website content and, if you do use a banner or pop-up, always make it easy to close. Mozello's Engaga integration allows website builders to create good-looking pop-ups and customize them to be as unobtrusive as possible. It allows you to curate popups to be behavior-based. For example, showing a visitor a popup to subscribe to your newsletter when they've almost reached the end of an article, as it's a reasonable assumption that they like your content.

7. Pages oversaturated with heavy content

Source: Giant Artists

Businesses are keen to showcase their products in the best quality possible. You'll often see high-definition photos and videos all over websites in a bid to wow visitors and potential customers.

Why website creators like it:

Everyone wants to look professional and leave a unique impression. One way to do so is by using high-quality photos. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so website creators often try to add lots of visuals to impress visitors and entice them to keep browsing and shopping.

Why customers hate it:

Customers don't hate the images themselves (quite the opposite – they probably love them), but what they dislike is slow loading times. Loading high-quality pictures and visuals takes up a lot of bandwidth and slows down your website. 53% of mobile websites are abandoned if they take more than 3 seconds to load. So you might have a beautiful website – but most people won't see it, because it's too slow.

What you should do:

Finding a balance between image quality and size is the ideal solution. Try to avoid using large files that are multiple MBs in size, or use image compression tools (e.g. TinyPNG) to reduce the size of your visuals, while maintaining good quality. If you've built your website with Mozello, then you don't have to worry about this as Mozello automatically optimizes your images and their loading patterns to ensure your page loads quickly.

You must strike a balance

As with most things in life, creating a successful website is about finding the right balance. In this case, it's between usability, technical possibilities, and business requirements. The suggestions in this article are just that – suggestions.

Ideally, you should experiment to find what works best for you. For example, try out a pop-up and see if people respond to it. If nobody signs up for your mailing list, then you should definitely remove it. But if it helps you turn some customers into repeat buyers, then perhaps it's worth leaving – even if some other potential customers dislike it and leave.

A general rule of thumb to keep in mind when building your website is to always ask yourself – how would I feel about this feature/element if I encountered it in someone else's online store? If the answer is negative, then think twice about implementing it.