Web designers and front-end web developers spend a lot of time creating awesome looking websites with cool functionality. Many times however, it is these websites that end up offering a poor user experience.
While I don’t think poor user experience is ever intended, it often happens as a result of coding awesome and cool.
I spend a lot of time looking at websites, evaluating code and trying to come up with cool new ideas. I see many of the issues, affecting user experience, first hand. While I try to ensure these issues don’t show up on my websites, I’m sure, even I miss something from time to time.
So, what is the most common website issue affecting user experience?
In my opinion, the most common website issue affecting user experience is speed. People want things now and don’t want to wait on it. So when a website stutters or has delays loading something, the end user isn’t having a good experience.
When I visit a website and I notice it has a problem with speed, it is usually found in one of four areas.
Invalid code. This can affect end users differently, based on the web browser they use. Problems can range from alignment to visual elements not displaying at all. This can be fixed by using only valid code. While this may not be as simple as it sounds, it is worth the effort
Graphic files with large file sizes.
Graphic files with large file sizes. While end users generally want to see cool graphical elements, they generally wont wait on them. Graphic file sizes need to be as low as possible, while maintaining a good resolution. Making sure layers are flattened and pre-loading images can help with file size issues.
Slow web hosts.
Slow web hosts. If your web host doesn’t have the necessary bandwidth, you need to be looking for a different one. It is far better to pay for hosting, than to have really slow, free hosting.
I know speed is not the only issue affecting the user experience, but when I’m browsing the internet, slow equals no. It may also be worth pointing out, SEO efforts can be negatively impacted, by the speed of a website. Google is interested in website content and how fast it can be delivered to Google users.