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The Ultimate Website Time Wasters!

thinking womanThis is not the’ rant and rave’ magazine or ‘speak whatever you want’ challenge because I’m upset but guess what? This time around I just want to speak my mind. I’m upset and so I’ll rant and rave before getting to the bottom of this nonsense.

Don’t you just hate visiting websites and having to stay longer than what you initially anticipated?

I mean, you’ve done all the calculations in your head: I’ll spend 10 minutes on that site just to go through the information and to see if it’s something I’d want to return to for ‘future’ use, I’ll spend 5 mins on CNET because the information is pretty clear cut and easy to go through and then for the love of all that’s good, I’ll just cruise the day away on my couch watching the games with a cold beer and maybe some popcorns ( what the heck).

However, guess what? You never really get to the end of the day because of those pesky websites. It’s like some web designers sit all day just thinking about how they can make their visitors’ lives miserable, by enabling website features that are a total waste of time. If you vehemently agree with me, read on to see what some website designers could actually do better to stop wasting their visitors’ time or if you don’t agree with me, then maybe you’re one of those web designers who are down right guilty. Nonetheless, follow along and look at what you need to stop doing on your website.

  • Captcha: you have got to be kidding me!

confirm downloadIf you have problems at home, no one needs to know! Captchas are like pesky little flies that you just never get rid of. Even if you should shoot them in the head, they’ll just grow back like a cockroach. Annoying! Captchas are seen as the ultimate time wasters. If you want to keep your users busy, give them captchas at each subscription made. In no way am I referring to the traditional captchas. I’m referring to the automated ones that require users to ‘ prove that they are human’ (seriously?) You have got to be kidding me! Why should people prove who they are? The mere fact that they are filling out a forum or signing up for an email account says they’re human. Instead of making your work easier by using captchas, try the honeytrap technique or server-side solutions that are able to filter automated requests.

Another user pet peeve I’d like to underline is the mere fact that captchas are difficult to understand. That even wastes more of the users’ time. Employing captchas on your site is already terrible enough but using ones that are difficult to decipher is taking it too far. If you’re going to use something, ensure that its done the right way or don’t do it. PERIOD!! NB: If you have to use Captchas, use reCaptcha.

  • Mistakes on forms: does the torture ends?

Maybe you’re trying to help users or provide better and more accurate results, but you’re simply wasting their time. Instead of telling users to fill out the address section ( which they’reregistration form prone to mess up, by the way), allow them the option to use postal code lookup to make things run smoother. You’re not teaching your visitors to be lazy by auto populating their address, you’re making their tasks easier and you’re indirectly contributing to the fulfillment of their day. Furthermore, you’ll keep them coming back to your website.

What is also found to be a waste of time is having your visitors enter their information in a particular manner. Does it really matter if there are spaces between their contact digits or an apostrophe in their home address? Really? Forms are also difficult to populate on mobile devices, especially on touch screens. To improve your user’s experience and reduce the amount of time spent completing a form, web designers should ensure that their websites are fully optimized for mobile use and responsivity.

  • Complicated passwords: Is that even necessary?

complicated passwordsIt’s about time webmasters allow their users to choose their own passwords instead of restricting them or creating a stumbling block. Passwords are essential requirements for authentication and authorization purposes, but they don’t need to be as complicated as they’re made today. I literally cannot keep track of my passwords since every website has something crazy and complicated about their password creation (Writing them down is not an option so please, cool it with the difficult passwords). Webmasters should allow users to come up with their own passwords, instead of dictating what they should include – RE the 1 UPPERCASE letter, lowercase letters, symbols and numbers (man, just writing about it makes me tired).

I admit that it’s a pretty stupid idea to ask users to enter a single character instead of a single word , but a password could be made up of 4 characters and still be effective (this is in comparison to the maximum characters that are normally required by webmasters). Users should also be given the option to use long phrases against a single word. In my experience, a phrase such as “I love my dad”, is easier to remember in comparison to “Ler$45*v3gs9”. That’s complicated and only wastes the users’ time. Allowing the user to view what they’re inputting when creating a password could also reduce the amount of time that is spent entering and deleting.

  • ‘Remember me’? Please use this functionality sparingly

The vast majority of website users access personal information, including credit card details, banking information, etc on their home or private computer. sparinglyThis means that more webmasters should tap into using the ‘remember me’ functionality on their website. The ‘remember me’ function allows users to login hassle free. Since their login info is stored on their personal computer, they can still feel safe. This method of saving users time can be quite effective but it could also cause security issues if a user uses a public computer, such as those within an Internet cafe, library etc to access files that are deemed confidential. As a webmaster, if you implement the ‘Remember me’ functionality on your website, ensure to warn users about the implications of enabling that feature on publicly used computers.

  • The almighty subscriber: I got to get out of here

subscriberThis is something that really pisses me off. Upon landing on a webpage and this hits me, I just got to get of there. Some webmasters use plugins that prompt their users to subscribe to their websites upon landing on any page. If the users does not subscribe, they’re not able to access any information whatsoever. This might be a pretty good move for a sales strategy to attract users who are ‘desperate’ for information but if your visitors can get pretty much the same information elsewhere, they’ll not come back to your site. Instead of forcing people to subscribe to your website, allow them to make a conscientious decision. This waste your audiences’ time and detracts from create a better user experience when they have to be subscribing to your mailing list. It even bugs me more when I revisit the page and have to be re-subscribing.

Instead of wasting your users’ time, it’s best to explore the many possibilities of allowing them to do less so that they can enjoy the information presented on your site. With that done, you’ll have a lower bounce rate which would be a clear indication that users are actually reading your content and you’ll genuinely show respect for your reader’s time. Since “time is what we want most, but what we use worst”, according to author William Penn, help your readers to make the most of their time.


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