Website design and user experience have much to learn from philosopher’s Martin Heidegger’s thinking. The idea that people interact with objects in order to accomplish certain goals comes directly from Heidegger, who also held that this tendency to fixate on future goals results in a state of being ahead of ourselves.
Heidegger calls the act of dealing with an object’s shortcomings “coping.”
“We discover [an object’s] unusability…not by looking at it and establishing its properties, but rather by the circumspection of the dealings in which we use it.” ─ Heidegger
Users don’t have the time or desire to simply “cope” with your website. What makes a site unusable? Here are 5 characteristics:
- Page Overwhelm
Effective websites keep the visual options to a minimum. If you have more than 3 major pieces of information or options on a page, you’re likely overdoing it. For example, focus on the 3 BIG benefits you can deliver. Think of what you help people get more of, or get less of.
- Websites that do not adapt to their viewing environments (in particular smartphones)
Your website may look great on your computer, but have you checked it on a variety of devices and in all the major browsers? When you do, you may be in for a shock. It’s imperative to make sure your site is responsive. If not, the majority of users will bounce right off – most notably because the majority of users are now viewing your site on their smartphones.
- Rotating Banners
Are rotating banners appealing? They used to be. Are they effective – a definitive NO. In fact, after the first banner, users rarely click additional images – they don’t have enough time to read the banners and they get frustrated when they can’t control what they’re looking at.
- A lack of social media links -> an inability to interact, to have a conversation
Social media has emerged as one of the most important marketing platforms in recent years (like it or not!). If you want to be progressive, current and open to embracing new ideas, it’s critical to include social media links on your site. Moreover, social media is a quick way to demonstrate to your visitors that your business is active and interactive.
- Slow site speeds
If a page doesn’t load in 2 seconds, there’s a greater probability of site abandonment. What to do:
- Don’t upload overly large images
- Create clean, semantic, standardized code and optimize it for performance
- Use a reliable, quality web host. If you’re using wordpress, make sure your hosting company has “managed wordpress hosting” – it REALLY makes a difference.
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