12 Outdated Web Features That Need to Disappear in 2014

We’ve all been there — yelling at a computer screen or particular website because the antiquated design prevents you from getting where you want to go.

But outdated features on your company’s website can do more than annoy — it can cost you potential clients or customers.

To figure out what exactly agitates users the most, we asked 12 entrepreneurs which website features small businesses should avoid (or get rid of) at all costs. Here’s what they had to say:

1. Irrelevant Elements

Juha Liikala By far, the biggest issue I come across with new site launches is this: They use too many elements that bring no real value to the audience. In fact, these often just downgrade user experience considerably. There are too many crowded designs and too much text on one page. There are too many icons and photos. Does your site really need a search bar? Do you really need to show the tag cloud in your blog sidebar? Think hard. What are the 20% of elements that bring 80% of the results you’re after? Start there. Always have a sound reason for adding new features, bells and whistles. Never add more stuff just because it seems “cool and hip.”

– Juha Liikala, Stripped Bare Media

2. Flash Intros

Josh Weiss Flash intros are annoying for the customer, take too long to load, don’t work on Apple mobile devices and are not recognized by Google. It is best to avoid them entirely.

– Josh Weiss, Bluegala

3. Photo Carousel

Christopher Pruijsen A lot of sites still feature these, but the time it takes for users to cycle through photos and the often too fast (or too slow) settings on the auto scroll make this a vastly inferior element to a simple and clean introduction video, such as the ones on Kickstarter and most Strikingly pages.

– Christopher Pruijsen, Sterio.me

4. Large Hero Images

Eric Bahn It astounds me how many company websites feature a massive hero image right at the top of the site. This pushes down key content below the fold. It is a navigational blunder, and I think site visitors appreciate a simple, to-the-point experience. Nix the big image fillers!

– Eric Bahn, Webflow

5. Stock Photos

Bhavin Parikh Authenticity and personality are more important now than ever. Customers want to interact with brands they trust and want to learn about the people behind the company. Rather than using stock photos for your website, try taking photos of your team or customers. You don’t want a customer to see the same stock photo on your website and your competitor’s website, which is a very real risk. Be real!

– Bhavin Parikh, Magoosh Inc

6. Animated GIF Flags

Brendon Schenecker Sure, animated GIF flags look cool. There is something about the seamless loop effect that can mesmerize a user for seconds. Now that we have had more than 20 years to test their effectiveness, it turns out they add value. I know what you are thinking — what about the flame ones? I am afraid those are no longer needed. With HTML5 popping up everywhere, I am sure a new generation of flags and flames will, too, and flags will flood the web again. Do your best to stay clear, and let them live only as a memory of the good old days.

– Brendon Schenecker, Travel Vegas

7. Autoplay Videos

Chuck Cohn No one likes videos that automatically start playing. Websites that try to push up video views with autoplay are effectively stopping users from interacting with their content and brand on their own terms. That is a recipe for high levels of site abandonment, an indicator of user frustration and ultimately a lost chance to build rapport with a visitor.

– Chuck Cohn, Varsity Tutors

8. Automated Popups

Aron SchoenfeldIn this age of mobile, too many websites are still built with pop-up windows. Some are instructional and others are for email capture. Getting a pop-up when you want to read an article or buy something is annoying to the user. And while how-to videos have a place, if you need to explain how it works to people, do it front and center on your homepage. Focus on a site that is clear, concise and has a strong call to action.

– Aron Schoenfeld, Do It In Person LLC

9. ‘Hello World’ Blog Post

Brett Farmiloe If you’re using WordPress, make sure the website is updated to delete the generic “Hello World” blog post. Nothing shows a visitor that your website shouldn’t be taken seriously like an old-fashioned, auto-generated blog post.

– Brett Farmiloe, Internet Marketing Company

10. Sidebars

Natalie McNeil Does your website really need a sidebar? Don’t you want people to focus on your core content and not have their attention drawn to a bunch of stuff that gets crammed into 300 pixels on the right side of your site? Sidebars don’t often translate well on mobile, which will continue to be a growing problem for your business. If you insist on having a sidebar, at least do something different than everyone else. Work with a designer to kick it up a notch so it’s happily married to the content you want people to stay focused on.

– Natalie MacNeil, She Takes on the World

11. Reloading Pages

Gideon Kimbrell Web 2.0 is nearly 10 years old by now, yet I still see that most sites require the user to reload full pages at a time to navigate the site. With AJAX or Javascript/XMLHttpRequest, it is not necessary to reload entire pages. As a general rule, unless a page requires its own URL for SEO purposes, we do not make it fully reload. Instead, only the portion of the page changing will reload. The desired content is loaded into an HTML element container instead of reloading the entire page. This makes navigation much quicker, and the site responds much more quickly.

– Gideon Kimbrell, CLUBSCORE, INC

12. M.dot Sites

Rameet Chawla We call them “m.dot” sites, as in “m.facebook.com.” You’ll see this when a company redirects you to a mobile version of its site, rather than spending the time and money to design and develop a responsive website experience.

– Rameet Chawla, Fueled

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Source: mashable.com