Yesterday, I needed to make a Skype call. My computer is new, so I needed to download Skype again and enter my password. Easy enough, except I couldn't remember my password. I tried multiple times and then gave up and did a password reset. When I went to put in my new password, the guidelines popped up: Capital letters, lower case letters, numbers, blood of my enemy, etc. (Some of those may not be actual requirements.) As soon as they showed their guidelines, I knew what my old password was. Why not show the guidelines on the "enter your password" page instead of sending me to do a reset?
That's not the only easy fix to make your website or app more user-friendly. Here are 10 things we end users would like.
1. Put password guidelines on the enter password page.
So many websites have passwords and so many have different guidelines, it's hard to keep straight. Sure, there are password services you can use, and you can always use post-it notes (because that's super safe), but wouldn't it be easier just to include them on the actual website?
2. Kill the begging pop-ups.
"Please, please, please, sign up for our newsletter! Please!" Nothing makes me less likely to sign up for your website than having to click through your pop-ups.
3. If you must keep the pop-ups, make them mobile friendly.
There have been plenty of websites that I've tried to visit on my phone, and couldn't ever get to because the popup was sized wrong and I couldn't get to the little X to make it go away. Maybe I would have signed up for your newsletter if I could have just gotten to the darn site.
4. Don't hide important information.
If you're a brick and mortar establishment, people are going to your website to find your address and opening hours. Why do I have to click through three menus to find that information?
5. Make your menu easy to find.
No obscure corner dots that your designer thought looked cool. How about something that says, "Menu" on the top of the page?
6. Auto-play sound? Forget it.
Seriously, I will close a window rather than read the information I came to find when it starts autoplaying. The worst are the ads. Sure, it's only mildly annoying if a video site starts playing something--at least I knew what I was getting into when I clicked on the website--but otherwise, it's not cool.
7. You don't need a flash intro.
Sure, it looked cool once upon a time, but if you want people to come back to your website, you need to get rid of the long intro. I don't want to sit through your special effects to get to the information I need. Your competitor doesn't make me wait, so why would I stay with you?
8. Don't make me sign up before I look around.
Several clothing websites want you to sign up before they'll even let you look at the products. Why would I want to sign up if I don't know if I'm going to like what you're selling? I know you're desperate for customers and customer information, but you've lost me as a customer, guaranteed.
9. I don't want to click to read more.
I've always hated slide shows, but I do sometimes click through them if the pictures are actually relevant to the topic. A slide show with stock photo pictures is downright evil. Recently, though, I've seen a new trend of articles with a "click to read more" button. I know why websites do this, but most likely your readers find it annoying. I clicked because I wanted to read the article. Please let me read it.
10. Make it easy to read.
You know what's easy to read? Black text on a white background. You know what is not easy to read? White text on a black background. It doesn't have to be black on white, but the words need to be dark and the background needs to be light. Also, cut out the cutesy fonts. And if your advertisements take up too much room, I can't find your content easily.
Remember, people who come to your website want to be there. Don't make them regret their decision to click.