We're in the year 2016, modern web design has been around for at least 12 years already, ever since Tim O'Reilly and Dale Dougherty coined the term Web 2.0. Yet, user experience in design is still suffering from incompatibility, and plain ridiculous approaches to design vandalism.
Sure, designers understand pleasant to the eye design patterns, but what to do when a client is showing down your throat a list of tasks that make you want to throw up? What about working for a company that wants to enforce content restrictions for non-paying customers that use ad blockers? Surely, designers will feel the pressure from open minded communities, but when you have to bring home the paycheck, it's not easy to just throw your towel in the air and call it a day.
What we are talking about here is obscure, foolish, and pathetic user experience design choices that have made the web a much worse place than it could, and should be. I'd like to talk about each briefly, and perhaps you will join me to support the cause of finding solutions for seemingly troubled design patterns that we encounter on daily basis.
1. Multi-page content
It's understandable that content websites want to go after pageviews because of increased impressions for advertisements, but cutting an article short before the last two paragraphs is hardly doing justice to an acceptable user experience.
The same goes for intrusive content placement within a slider, which usually can't be accessed as a single page, not only such user experience makes me want to close the website immediately, it shows lack of sincerity where a simple jQuery implementation could solve the problem for everyone. In this particular example above, the website provides an option to "View large size image", but forgets about View all listings on a single page option.
2. Lack of clear communication
I have been fortunate enough to talk to Florin Cornianu, CEO and Co-Founder of 123ContactForm, who was happy to discuss his views on designing forms that enhance user experience, but also user communication. Florin had spent 8 years perfecting the design of his platform, when he and his associate co-founder, Tudor Bastea, decided it was time to launch a sister product CaptainForm, a unique form plugin for WordPress built websites.
Since WordPress is used on more than 26% of all websites, this was a strategic move to make change in such a rapidly growing market.
When asking Florin what made him pursue a new approach to designing forms, his response was, "With more than 8 years of experience serving the designer community, and scaling a company from 2 people to 60, it was time to further hone this experience into a unique product.".
I continued by inquiring about what makes his new product so unique, "Since we had accumulated so much insight about what designers find essential to their needs for solid business to user communication, we put those years of experience into a single platform, revamping and refining the approach in which designers, but also developers, can launch forms for collecting feedback, concluding surveys, and doing everyday business tasks."
That makes a lot of sense, because as developed as design practices are, there is still clear lack of understanding about the importance of clear communication channels between your website, the user, and in the end you.
Here's a bad example of how not using a contact form can hinder user experience.
Putting a contact form on your website isn't hard, and should be one of the first things you do after going live, but if you have been around for a decade already, and still can't put in place a clear communication method, what does that tell users about your understanding of clear user experience?
3. Bad ads, or bad users?
The global use of a type of ad blocker has risen from a few million, to a whopping 200+ million active ad blocker users today. And that number has proven to be scary for many content, media, and publishing websites that depend on advertisement revenue for sustained growth.
But even though the average web user figured out a way to stay away from intrusive ads and promotional offers, content publishers are having none of it, and instead resort to extreme measures of user experience annoyances such as popups like this:
Which completely hijack the user experience for the person immersing himself in the content, and although it makes sense in the bigger picture, users who enjoy free content on daily basis simply won't follow through with design practices that disturb their content consumption experience.
And these kind of design mistakes keep popping up like grass on a rainy day. If you enjoyed this brief look of bad design choices that hinder user experience, please read Troy Hunt's compilation of crappy user experience designs that further prove that change is coming, particularly where web advertising is concerned.