Keep visitors by using these UI features with care

UI tricks to avoid

A poor user experience can derail the success of a website. Many web designers risk turning their visitors away in frustration because poor User Interface choices are contributing to a bad user experience.

Following web trends can easily lead web designers into this trap. What looks cool in design circles can be off-putting to visitors.

This article looks at some UI no no’s and explores how a web designer might bend the rules to include them in a way their visitors won’t mind.

Hijacking Scrolling

Hijacking scrolling is a UI trick that is popular in web design themes and can be found in many modern websites around the web. Hijacked scrolling is anything that interferes with how the user would expect to scroll in a normal environment.

This could be adding animations creating a slide, bounce or jump like effect as the user scrolls. Also, this includes changing the appearance of the scrollbar.

By hijacking scrolling your taking control away from the users and making their scrolling experience unpredictable. With some visitors, the ability to navigate by scrolling is one of the few technical competencies they feel confident with

Can it ever work?

When done well the technique of presenting information in chunks can work nicely. Tumbler is a good example of this process as it presents its sections a full screen at a time and associates the user thinking that a light scroll up or down will serve them a different set of content.

Changing the appearance of the scrollbar is usually best avoided but may fit well with a very atmospheric page for a niche audience so long as the user ultimately can still understand how to use it.

Infinite Scrolling

The technique that allows users to scroll through massive amounts of content without breaking into separate pages is known as infinite scrolling. This is a UI trick has I think has become popular but has been overused.

Users may love effortlessly scrolling your website the first time but when they bookmark your product and find it hard to find again several weeks later they may leave and never return.

Can it ever work?

infinite scrolling can certainly work very well as long as designer stick to using the UI trick for content that is rapidly updated like a social media or style feed or a news feed.

Twitter is a fine example of infinite scrolling in action.

The Hamburger Menu

This popular UI feature will be found frequently on websites designed for mobiles and small tablets. it allows a full-sized website menu on a small screen real estate.

Visitors do not expect to see a hamburger menu on desktop devices. The experience of encountering one can be jarring. Worse still web designers often pair this menu style with, from the users perspective, arbitrary and meaningless symbols that are intended to replace any text-based navigation.

Can it ever work?

Restrict your hamburger menus to mobile and small tablets and avoid mystery meat icons for the optimum useful Hamburger Menu experience.

Push Notifications

Push notifications are used to alert visitors to news and updates.

A Notification is supposed to provide value and your website visitors will expect to see value when they are interrupted to read. Unfortunately, they are overused and visitors often find they are alerted to products and content that has no value to them. They don’t like it as their time has been wasted.

Can they ever work?

Notifications that are targeted to be very specific to the user will be considered valuable to the user. Make sure your notifications are only delivering the content your users will care about based on their preferences and engagement with the website to that point. For instance, if they have commented on a product and someone has made a direct reply.

Autoplay Video

When loading a page with video content users expect to be able to control when and if and they view that content. Autoplaying videos is an unwelcomed data consuming office slackers nightmare taking away that control and potentially blasting ut video content at an inappropriate time.

Can it ever work?

If you think you have a use case where you visitors would legitimately expect to see the video on load.

Pop-Ups

This list is not complete without Pop-Ups. Probably the most dreaded of all UI features. A pop up is used to advertise external products and often to collect internal information like newsletter signups.

Admittedly some of the full-screen overlays are getting prettier and do now often blend well with the websites they are a feature of

I’ve always found exit page pop up the worst sin of all and the virtual world equivalent to a store assistance suddenly blocking my path as I attempt to leave.

This is not counting legitimate uses of overlays when a user is completing a task and is required to fill out a form that overlays onto the page.

For web site owners a big problem with a pop-up is it does sometimes work and advertisers will pay for them to feature on high traffic websites.

Can it ever work?

There will always be users who will always hate Pop-Ups. But there are still users who will tolerate less intrusive Pop-Ups.
If you have a legitimate need for a Pop-Ups and you have a marketing budget, then a service like unbounce, a conversion tool for marketers, may be worth a try as it allows for timed Pop-Ups or Pop-Ups only after a certain trigger on the page that is based on the user actions.

Unbounce also allows the use of stickies overlaying heads and footer of pages which can be a much less intrusive way to capture a visitors attention.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there is no one all bad elements and all UI tricks can have legitimate use scenarios. A well-designed website will know its audience tolerance and expectations to certain UI tricks and expectations.