The title of this blog post is inspired by Steve Krug’s excellent book Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (3rd Edition) (Voices That Matter).
The idea behind not making me think is that website information and action steps should be very clear, without requiring the user to really think about what is meant or what to do next.
I’ve often written about this topic, yet as I travel the web looking at many different websites, I see some of the most egregious errors (and easily fixable ones) over and over again.
Do you have a home button on your site?
Perhaps the most common error is the absence of a home button, which can really frustrate website visitors.
Sometimes there is no button and you have to know to click on the site logo to return to the home page. Other times there is simply no home button.
I looked at one site that had no home button. The site owner pointed out that there was a prominent BACK button on each page. Only problem was that the BACK button returned the user to the previously viewed page. Thus, if you had been on the home page right before, the BACK button would return you to home. But if you had clicked through two levels of the site, the BACK button only took you to the previously viewed page. In other words, there was no home button.
Do you have navigation buttons that when clicked do not take you to the expected page?
I looked at a site where, if you clicked on a navigation button such as products, you got a page with a large picture of a product and then the navigation button in small type repeated.
I’ll admit it took some thinking, and some clicking in the wrong places, before I realized I had to click the small repeat navigation button to get to the information I wanted.
Do you have a very unclear link for people to join your email list?
If you want to invite people to join your company email list, do so with clearly worded text. Do not simply have a field where people can put their email address and click on SUBMIT.
People do not want to think what they are supposed to do on your site. They want to be told in clearly worded text that is large enough to see. (How many websites have you seen with tiny text?)
And what about those pesky telephone numbers?
If you are asking for a telephone number, please use microcopy to indicate what format is required unless the telephone number field is programmed to take any format.
Use microcopy to show xxx-xxx-xxxx or (xxx) xxx-xxxx or whatever you choose. Just make it clear to the user without returning an error message because the user guessed incorrectly.
In conclusion, do review your company website with an eye to not making people think regarding the simplest actions on your site. The reduction in your site’s bounce rate may be your reward for this review.
(c) 2014 Miller Mosaic LLC
Phyllis Zimbler Miller is a digital marketer with a special interest in website user experience. Learn more about her at www.linkedin.com/in/phylliszimblermiller