Website design requires us to use an editing eye. If we’re not careful, websites begin to give our visitors a disease. Your website could be giving your visitors ‘Featuritis.’ It is serious issue effecting websites all across the internet. The symptoms include difficulty making decisions, uncertainty, lack of conversion, loss of revenue, and poor user experience.Featuritis is the over complication of site design, navigation, or user flow resulting in poor user experience¹. Click To Tweet
Not the Soda Machine
I walked into my local movie theater ready to watch the latest block buster. I headed to the concession stand to get the obligatory tub of popcorn and vat of soda. They handed me my buttery popcorn and an empty cup and pointed me to the row of high tech machines located around the concession stand.
I had heard of these new soda machines, but had not used one myself. I have to admit, I was a little excited. As a technophile, I always get a little excited when tech is introduced into non-tech devices.
As I walked up to the new machine, I touched the screen selecting the soda I wanted. Only to find that I now had 12 choices of flavors to choose from. I studied the screen and found the combination of flavor additives, touched the images and filled my large cup of flavored soda.
It’s Harder than it looks
What I noticed was how difficult this process seemed to be for others down the row. There were people getting ‘lessons’ on how to work the new machine. There were some people simply standing there holding their cup staring blankly at the screen. My son found this to be the ultimate way to create a ‘suicide,’ and began touching every option and adding it to his cup.
What used to take ten to fifteen seconds to get some ice and fill a cup, has quickly become a 30 – 60 second adventure.When website designs increase user choice, conversion rates drop. Here are three things to simplify. Click To Tweet
In an effort to provide choice and options to their customers, the designers and developers of these new machines may have actually created a bad user experience.
How Much Choice Matters?
If we are going to be good providers of goods and services, we should offer our potential customers some choices, after all, it is one way we can increase revenue, grow profits, and build affinity. But how much choice is too much?
A team of psychologist conducted a study to determine how choice effects conversion. To one group of shoppers, they offered 24 choices of jam to taste. To another group of shoppers, they offered only 6 choices of jam to taste. When it came time to make a purchase, the second group (6 choices) had a conversion rate 300% greater than the first group.
Use an Editing Eye
The data seems to indicate that designers, developers, and website owners need to use an editing eye when looking at their website. More choices does not equate to more revenue, conversion, or engagement. It becomes important for us to review our website and remove the links, navigation, images, content, etc that is not needed to help move a user to the point of conversion.
Simplicity Usually Wins
The human brain has a limit to how much information it can process when making a decision and it is beneficial to us if we streamline the process and create the path of least resistance. Users generally take shortcuts by skimming and scanning, so being efficient with our site structure helps our users.
Decision making processes require work. It is our responsibility to make the process as efficient as possible, otherwise our visitors develop Featuritis and bounce.
The Take Away
- Review Site Navigation. If one is not careful, there will be submenus on submenus resulting in a complex navigation. Simplify the navigation. Use the navigation to build a logical and beneficial structure for your site visitors. The main navigation should be focused on your key content and use submenus’ as NEEDED. Use internal linking and appropriate sidebar navigation to help move users through the site in a structured and meaningful way.
- Streamline Content Creation. What is the focus and purpose of your website? It can become tempting to create content about several topics, but you are adding to many choices for your user. If you are selling a product or service, limit your content to material that supports the sell or promotion of that product or service. This editing eye will also help with organic search.
- Clean up the Clutter. Images, graphics, fonts, and color can become a distraction. A website that is cluttered and filled to the brim with ‘stuff’ makes it difficult for your user to move through your site. They get distracted with images or ads and lose their way. Reduce the clutter and maximize the white space on your site, this will help users know what to do next.
What is your take? Do you find that to many choices reduce the user experience of your website? Share your thoughts and experience below. We can all learn from each other.