UX Mistakes Driving Users Away From Your Website (and How to Fix Them) Part Two


In my previous article, I discussed six UX mistakes that drive users away from your website. In this follow-up to part one, I will cover seven additional UX mistakes, how to avoid them if you’re building a new website, and how to fix them on your existing site.

Intrusive media or pop-ups

If you were a web user in the early 2000s, you are very familiar with the pop-ups that used to plague the internet. Today, auto-playing media is much more common than a traditional pop-up ad. These “features” often frustrate users, leaving them scrambling to either mute/pause the video or close the pop-up now blocking what they were trying to view.

For credit unions, this mistake is easy to avoid as video content is not common and rarely are pop-ups used on the modern web. If you do have either of these intrusive features on your website, consider preventing the media from auto-playing and give the choice to your user to view the video on their own terms. If utilizing pop-ups, you could instead try using an alerts-style banner bar at the very top of your website to relay that information to your users.

Lack of accessibility

This is a big one and is very important for a vast number of reasons. A website that is not accessible will render your website unusable for someone with disabilities or impairments, driving them to another website that cares for its users. For credit unions, this is not only a usability issue but a legal one as well. How we approach this issue is from the ground up, but there are things we can do to help fix website accessibility as well.

To avoid accessibility issues when creating a new website, remember that design and accessibility go hand-in-hand. You should focus on building your new website with the WCAG guidelines in mind by keeping your website perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. The above article by fellow CUSO Magazine author Susanna Wojtkowiak outlines the details well, so I will leave it to the experts there. Keep in mind things such as navigation, color contrast, and content. Putting forth your best efforts to make your website accessible will go a long way in providing a good user experience for those who need these assistive features.

For fixing accessibility issues on your existing website, there are tools that can be used to first assess your site’s current accessibility, as well as provide suggestions for changes. Major web browser’s developer tools contain sections for evaluating a website’s accessibility. There are also WordPress plugins that can help address issues and provide extended functionality on top of your existing site but be careful of such accessibility overlays as they can often have issues of their own.

Additionally, some providers offer services such as Web Quality Assurance, which uses a robust toolkit of testing resources to check your website for accessibility, quality, and performance.

Broken links or errors

This one is quite simple: users will leave your website if what they are trying to access doesn’t work. Broken links on your website can hurt your search engine optimization score (SEO) and is a bad experience for your users trying to find information on your website.

The dreaded 404 error (page not found) can happen for a number of reasons: a page or permalink got renamed, the page was deleted, the user typed in the URL wrong, etc. While we can’t quite account for user errors such as typing in the wrong URL, there are some tricks we can utilize to avoid the other reasons.

If a page was renamed or the URL changed, you can set up a 301 redirect (either with a plugin or via your .htaccess file). This will take a user from, for example, /about/ to /about-us/, which is exceptionally useful if the user bookmarked the old page. This method also applies to deleted pages that have been replaced with a new page. If the old page has been replaced with a new page, consider not deleting the old page and instead using the popular plugin “Page Links To” and setting the page to link to the newly created page.

For broken links, you can use a plugin or website that will scan your site for any broken links and compile a report for you. Be sure to go over the list and test the links yourself to verify they are functioning incorrectly, as occasionally the report will include functioning links. To avoid broken links, ensure any links you are adding to your website work beforehand by testing them yourself.

Lack of visual hierarchy

Have you ever visited a website and found it difficult to understand what you are supposed to do? This UX mistake can make your users unsure of where to look and overwhelm them. A good visual hierarchy provides your user with an understanding of an element’s importance relative to other elements. Does your community involvement section draw more attention than your services, your amazing rates, or your current promotional material? If so, you likely have an issue with your visual hierarchy.

To avoid having a lack of visual hierarchy, plan your homepage out by order of importance to you and your credit union. What are the driving factors for your website: new loans, opening an account, or your current rates? Lay these goals and objectives out and use that to plan the flow of your page, utilizing placement, size, and whitespace that will aid in guiding the user’s eyes to the most important elements on your site.

To fix a visual hierarchy issue, consider reorganizing the elements on your site. This should be simpler than redesigning your site as you are hopefully shifting elements up or down a page, or better emphasizing existing elements that you want to stand out to your users. While it is always easier to avoid a mistake than fix one, a few simple changes can have a vast impact on how your website is perceived and used.

Unclear calls-to-action

If what you want your users to do on your website is unclear, they will typically not engage with your site and go somewhere else. Having clear, well-defined calls-to-action (CTAs) will help convert new users into members or into new loans and accounts.

To avoid having unclear CTAs, make sure your design includes CTAs that are prominent, clear, and stand out relative to other elements near them. This is a case where the “big red button” approach is appropriate—within reason. You want the CTAs to stand out, but not be obnoxious or intrusive to the point where a user is discouraged from clicking on them.

To fix unclear CTAs, consider increasing their size, making them styled as a button, and giving them space from other elements.

Missing needed information

Visiting a website looking for information and not finding it is an easy way to make a user avoid your website. We’ve all experienced loading a website and searching for a piece of information such as a phone number or hours, only to find ourselves unable to locate it. Fortunately, such issues are easily avoided and fixed.

Basic contact information can be easily placed in the footer of your website. This is a common location for social media, email addresses, addresses, and other vital information for a user looking to reach out or interact with you. For credit unions, be sure to place your routing number here or in your website’s header, as this is often a piece of needed information. Have your branch hours and locations listed on a page (typically About Us), as well as any after-hours support contact information.

To fix or find any missing information, ask your members what they would like to see on your site that they frequently look for. Getting member feedback is vital to providing those members with good service and making them feel valued. Check that your contact information is easy to identify or locate—do you have a clear path to the page containing this information? If not, consider reorganizing your menu structure to better assist users in finding this information.

Not optimizing for search engines

It is pretty difficult to use a website you can’t find! If your website doesn’t show up in the top Google Search results, you could be missing out on potential members or loans. To both avoid and fix any search engine optimization (SEO) issues, try including relevant keywords on your pages.

Remember, content is king. If you want to be known for the best loan rates in your area, make sure your copy has the text “Best loan rates in (area).”

There are WordPress plugins to help assist you with your SEO as well. A popular SEO plugin is Yoast SEO. Plugins such as Yoast provide robust feedback about each individual page and post on your website, giving you a vast amount of customization and options that will help improve your rankings on search engines.

There are also many marketing firms that offer SEO services, but often these options are overkill—most SEO can be done in-house with a little time and effort.

Make or break for users

Avoiding or fixing common UX mistakes will help keep users engaged on your site instead of sending them quickly to your competitor. Issues such as intrusive media/pop-ups, a lack of accessibility, broken links or webpage errors, lack of visual hierarchy, unclear calls-to-action, missing information, and lack of SEO will frustrate your users and make them believe your website is not worth using.

Ensure your investment into your online presence is worth the time, effort, and love you have put into it by making sure to avoid these mistakes (or fix existing ones) and your users will thank you for it.


  • Sam Lechenet

    As a Web Developer, Sam engages with clients to create new and exciting websites, provide training, and coordinate redesign projects amongst team members. Sam also provides client support, updates, and website changes.

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