No one likes a poorly designed website. You can feel your level of frustration rise as you wait for pages to load. Don’t even get me started on links that go nowhere! A recent study proves what we all feel: bad web design increases stress levels. A look at the results of this study can help us all understand what to avoid on our own websites. Stressed-out site visitors are not good for business, so it’s critical to avoid these issues that cause angst.
Cyber Duck UX Agency in the UK tested 1,100 participants (aka victims) to gauge their physical response to common frustrating web design issues. The firm designed websites with some of the worst user experience issues commonly encountered online and measured each person’s systolic blood pressure while they visited these sites. For reference, normal blood pressure measures 90 to 120. Elevated blood pressure is 121 to 129, and measures of 130-139 are considered hypertensive stage one. Numbers above that would be considered high blood pressure, with results over 180 indicating crisis. None of the participants had known health issues, and all had normal blood pressure levels at the start of the study. The most offensive website design issues caused a blood pressure increase of 20-21 percent! This is significant, especially if a site visitor already has high blood pressure.
Web Design Issues That Blow our Tops
Which web design issues caused the biggest spikes in blood pressure? The answers probably won’t come as a surprise to many. These are the offenders in order from most stressful to least stress-inducing.
- Slow loading pages (taking 8-10 seconds to load) caused an average increase in blood pressure of 21%.
- Multiple pop-ups increased blood pressure by 20%.
- Auto-play music also increased blood pressure by an average of 20%.
- Broken pages (404 error) caused a 18% increase in blood pressure.
- Auto-play videos increased blood pressure by 17%.
- Non-clickable call to action buttons showed a 14% increase for participants levels.
- Hard-to-read fonts caused a 13% increase.
- Images not loading increased blood pressure by 12%.
- Multiple image sliders only increased blood pressure levels by 10%.
- Disorienting animations barely registered with participants, causing a mere 5% increase in blood pressure.
What This Means to You
The study results make it clear which issues you absolutely must fix on your website. For starters, run a site speed test to see how long it takes for your website to load. Every additional second it takes for your site to load means lost business (and rising blood pressure in those who wait it out). Go through the list above to see which issues are affecting your site, and start fixing them. If you need a little help with this, check out our 30 day program to improve your online business. Our easy-to-follow guide takes issues like site speed and SEO one day at a time to help you make your website more user-friendly. We take out the stress for you both you and your visitors!
Not ready to DIY your way to better web design? No problem! We can help with that, too. Our WordPress Website Technical Audit will identify all the issues that make your website a headache for visitors and will present solutions to those stress-inducing problems.