We all know that bad web design can be frustrating and annoying, but did you know that it can even negatively impact our health? A recent study conducted by the UK-based Cyber-Duck UX agency found that people who encountered websites with multiple pop-ups, slow pages, auto-play music, and similar features experienced a spike in blood pressure and added stress.
As a quick bit of background on the study, the researchers surveyed 1,100 people between the ages of 20 and 58. None of the participants had any professional UX knowledge, nor did they have existing health conditions that could affect their heart rate.
In the study, users were split into 10 groups, and each segment had to interact with a website that had a specific element of poor web design. For example, one group used a website with slow load times, while another set of people visited a site with auto-play videos. Each participant’s heart rate was measured before and after using the website to understand the impact of these issues.
Here are the design features that were responsible for elevating the users’ blood pressure, in order of most stressful to least stressful:
- Slow loading pages
- Multiple pop-ups
- Auto-play music
- Broken pages (such as a 404)
- Auto-play videos
- Non-clickable call-to-action (CTA) buttons
- Hard-to-read fonts
- Images not loading
- Multiple image sliders
- Disorienting animations
The results of this survey are perhaps not surprising for many of us who work in the website design field. Even though many of the features listed above are intended to engage visitors, they’re often implemented without much thought behind how the user will perceive them.
Instead, you need to work backwards and think about the user’s reason for being on your site — rather than your desire to convert them. This is the approach that good web designers take, before even considering design elements or functionality.
“Our first goal when creating a website is to understand why the user is on the site,” says Joe Truong, our Digital Producer at RealClicks. “From there, we develop a plan that takes into account the user’s needs, values, abilities, and limitations.”
Once that information is mapped out, says Joe, his team can begin designing a site that truly speaks to the user and creates a sense of credibility for the company. This is achieved through the strategic use of brand elements (logo and colours), helpful content that’s relevant to the visitor, and easy-to-use features.
“The first impression counts,” says Joe. “If we design and build sites based on all of those criteria, we gain the trust and interest of the user. If we don’t, it will just increase the bounce rate.”
These days, poor design choices like those in the Cyber-Duck study are all too common — but you can avoid them. With the help of an online marketing agency like RealClicks, you can create a site that attracts, engages, and converts visitors and establishes authority for your business.
As a full-service agency, RealClicks provides bespoke marketing services, including branding, SEO, social media marketing, and content development. We work with clients around Australia to help them build their brand, reach new audiences, and drive more business.
Learn more about RealClicks by calling us on 1300 064 668.