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The 14 most annoying things about websites

The internet has become an intrinsic element of modern life and having an online presence is almost a necessity, not just for individuals, but also for businesses. This means that having an effective website is vital for attracting consumers and increasing engagement with both clients and customers. The importance of having an online presence means that the creation of digital content is paramount, but numerous businesses suffer from similar issues that result in lost sales and disengaged customers.

Being a successful business online requires more than simply owning a website. It is key to create engaging and interesting content that people will want to look at and share. However, the design and features of your website are also incredibly important. Websites are a virtual hub for all of the key facts about your business, but they are also the first impression that many people will get of your company when they click through from a link. It is essential that you think about who will be visiting your website and how they will engage with it.

Many people who design websites forget the aspects of other sites that have annoyed them in the past and instead focus on attempting to fit as many of their ideas into the site as possible. In many cases less is more, and ensuring that your website does not include features that people dislike is more important than attempting to give people everything that you have ever seen online in one space. The most effective sites are those that maintain simple and clean design where people can access everything they need quickly and easily.

In order to discover exactly what website features are the most unpopular amongst consumers, user-experience design agency USIO recently asked people across the UK “What bugs you most when you visit a website?”. The results indicate that there are a number of significant things to avoid when developing your site.

The most unpopular website feature was revealed to be pop-up advertising. One-fifth of those asked said that pop-up adverts were the most annoying thing on websites, whilst 15% said that complicated navigation was the most annoying feature and 14% said that sites having no contact information bugged them most. Whilst these trends were broadly the same between both genders there were some differences in what was found to annoy men and women most on websites.

Pop-up advertising was found to be the most disliked website feature for both genders with 23% of men and 19% of women selecting it, however, whilst men found complicated navigation to be the second worst website feature (17%) women said that websites having no contact information was the second most annoying feature for them (15%).

Surprisingly a website feature that only 2% of those asked said really frustrated them was bad fonts. This is a common issue that people complain about, but it appears that other issues such as broken pages (11%) and auto playing videos (6%) are much more significant problems. This does not mean that bad fonts are acceptable however, but it does mean that good content may be enough to help people ignore bad fonts.

Regardless of your target audience ensuring that your site has an effective user interface is vital, and making sure your online presence is effective could be the difference that makes your business successful or unsuccessful. Understanding the things that frustrate users most enables you to build a site that can be accessed and understood with ease, and ensures that your efforts to develop your brand through virtual platforms pays off and isn’t a waste of time for you and your employees.


USIO conducted a survey of 1,317 people across the UK asking “What bugs you most when you visit a site?”. The survey was performed using the Toluna survey platform and included respondents from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Article written by Robert Elding, managing director at USIO

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