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Top Back Button Offenses?

What causes you to press the back button out of a site?

     
6:58 pm on Nov 29, 2002 (gmt 0)

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What causes you to press the back button out of a site on your first visit?

Mine:
1) Slow loading pages. If it's slow on dsl, I'm gone.
2) People who over ride underlining of links.
3) Popups, Popunders, excessively annoying flash ads.
4) Stuff flying around the screen and embedded video.
5) Mass visual noise. Spammy menu systems with 10billion links so you have to dig to find the content.

-------

Most of those can be dealt with by modern browsers with controls.

4:45 pm on Nov 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Sites that ask you to sign up for a forum or mailing list but forget to add you to the database when you hit submit. So you get left in limbo and nothing happens. It's like trying to eat a slice of pizza but missing and instead getting it all over the floor.

Anything to do with a 'popAd' or cheesy midi music. I think music and video can bring a strong element to your website if it's done correctly. When the pipes open up a bit, I don't see why anyone would shun using these elements to enhance your work.

Scrolling and flashing texts and slow loading pages are annoying as sin.

5:07 pm on Nov 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Any one mention yet:

Javascipt errors

where the browser pops you a dialog box, saying: "The code here is rubbish. You want to continue executing it"? Or words to that effect.

5:37 pm on Nov 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Veneerz wrote:

I for instance would certainly close a page with endless popups and popunders, but most users now days don't know any better...... MSN, Y! - most big sites have them.

That doesn't mean a double- or triple-whammy popunder attack won't drive users away. As they become more sophisticated, they may find other places to browse--just as they learn to use Google for search after they've been on the Web a while. Or (and this is equally likely) they may just spend less time on the Web because of the "annoyance factor."

What exactly do some of you have against cookies?

I agree that fear of cookies borders on paranoia, and that cookies are necessary to (a) make the commercial Web viable and (b) to make using the Web more convenient for the reader.

All of you complaining about affiliate links, flash ads and such - don't forget you're not the only ones on the internet who would like to make money.

I haven't seen any complaints about affiliate links, only about affiliate sites disguised as content sites.

As for ads, few Website owners know how to use them. They keep larding on banners, skyscrapers, buttons, popups, and popunders until their sites look like weekly shoppers, and then they wonder why CPMs are at rockbottom and clickthrough rates on CPC ads are abysmal. To make matters worse, they'll run any ad they can get (including ads that are sleazy or cheesy), thereby making it harder to sell ads that might actually relate to their readers' interests. I saw this happen at one major "network of sites" where ads for Internet casinos, dating services, and psychics created an environment that made it practically impossible to sell targeted, on-topic advertising. If the big guys make mistakes like this, it shouldn't be surprising that Webmasters who lack advertising or marketing backgrounds are equally ignorant or guilty of short-term thinking.

Are there actually still people around who use text only browsers?

Yes. Some of them are disabled.

[edited by: europeforvisitors at 6:35 pm (utc) on Nov. 30, 2002]

6:33 pm on Nov 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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veneerz:
Are there actually still people around who use text only browsers?

europeforvisitors mentioned the disabled.

Then there are those with slow lines who may have turned graphics off. This isn't just the ornery guys who won't use broadband. It includes the totally hi-tech ones with WAP, imode and other phone technologies.

And then there are spiders -- very important if you want to get into search engines' indexes. Google's recently updated advice to webmasters says:

Use a text browser such as Lynx to examine your site, because most search engine spiders see your site much as Lynx would. If fancy features such as Javascript, cookies, session ID's, frames, DHTML, or Flash keep you from seeing all of your site in a text browser, then search engine spiders may have trouble crawling your site
7:13 pm on Nov 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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1. Sites that want you to register
2. Flash intros without obvious skip button
3. 'Mystery meat' navigation
4. Loading java applets
5. JS-feature-based (as opposed to useragent-based) browser detection that doesn't allow Mozilla in
8:57 pm on Nov 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Sites that try to log the User-agent field from the HTTP request header to a database and fail if it contains single quotes. Very annoying since I use such a UA string :).

This happens more often than you would think and on sites that you would not expect to have been designed so poorly.

Andreas

10:30 pm on Nov 30, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Pop ups for the "XCam2"

Pop ups when you close out a window.

Pop ups that slow the downloading of the main page.

12:06 am on Dec 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Nick_W wrote that in Opera he can disable pop-ups.

Is this the reason I get complaints from customers (using obscure browers ;)) that their shopping basket doesn't work? (It pops up)

I constantly have to restrain myself from replying: Why not use IE and stop trying to be so cool!

12:16 am on Dec 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Once again I must ask, are talking about regular Joe - surfer point of view, or professional web developer?
12:38 am on Dec 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Top turn off for me is any site that requires I should load some browser plugin before I ask to see the content that I need the plugin to see.

Second, is embedding specific media players that require download so the page will work. Just embed the media, and If I have a compatible player, I'll get it. If not, I'll go find the stinking player if I care about your media.

12:43 am on Dec 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

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1. MUSIC, especially if its elevator stuff
2. cookies, cookies, cookies
3. sites I must register for before I can even see the intro page
4. flash intro with no bypass button
5. those damn cutesy butterflies wherever my mouse wanders

I wish I knew someone with a MAC to test my pages, hmm, I wish I owned a Mac

Oh, yes, this should be higher - any site that doesn't work in Opera! I'm outta there if I absolutely must use IE. I almost changed my ISP until they made the logon work in Opera.

1:10 am on Dec 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

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The INet is information based. There's no need for any "flash" stuff.

Keep it simple, quick to load and useful.

2:21 am on Dec 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

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WebManager:

IE users also can disable popups if they use programs that block popups. (Well, most popups--I use Adsubtract Pro's popup filter, and some popups sneak by.)

Earthlink now offers a popup filter to its subscribers. I believe it's included in Earthlink's private-label Web browser.

I don't think popup/popunder filters are a big concern for most sites that use popup windows for shopping basket and other non-advertising purposes, because the average user isn't even aware of such filters. And people who do use filters are probably Web-savvy enough to turn their popup filters off if they click on a link and nothing happens.

3:01 am on Dec 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

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This is certainly an exhaustive and interesting list; however,
I am wondering if the original question should be posed in a
slightly different way, i.e.:

What do you think the main reason for an *average* internet
surfer is to click on the back button?
- so not YOU the professional, but an average, not quite as savy, Jow Blow who looks at internet as a kind of a big Walmart .. (well, with lots of free samples)

Or is there a difference between the two?

3:21 am on Dec 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

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good point algebrator,though ive found its hard to "guess" what turns other people off. If this thread was really generalizable to the population as a whole, Yahoo! would have no visitors!
4:02 am on Dec 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

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What do you think the main reason for an *average* internet surfer is to click on the back button? - so not YOU the professional, but an average, not quite as savy, Jow Blow who looks at internet as a kind of a big Walmart .. (well, with lots of free samples)

I'd venture a guess that the #1 'average person back button offense' is when you click on a site in the SERP and the landing page has nothing to do with what you were looking for, and/or it's not immediately obvious where to find it. Usually no one is going to invest much time exploring a site just to decide whether it's worth exploring, especially when they're on a mission to find something.

5:04 am on Dec 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

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If all of the things mentioned in this thread were applied to the web as a filter, half the web would disappear instantaneously. I'm not sure whether that's a good or bad thing. :)

Personally speaking, the things that'd make me immediately leave a site are lots of pop-ups/unders, colours that give me a headache and a page that looks like what I need from the search engine description, but is actually about something else.

Regarding colours, I actually find reading white text on a black background easier than the "design norm" of black on white. I guess everyone's different, and that's reflected in the web's many pages. :)

5:34 am on Dec 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

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"Do you want to download and install..."

Yep, I have seen two of these in the past 48 hours. One was Gator. I backed out too quick to see the other.

7:26 am on Dec 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Following up on Agebrator and Zaccix posts, I think the "average" surfer rather than us who have a vested interest in the medium, would be most likely to hit the back button, when the page seems initially irrelevant to their needs. So i back up Zaccix's point here. I think especially the casual or new surfer is far more tolerant of much of the things that cause us to hit the back button straight away. Hence Y! still gets lots of hits as does MSNBC with their middle of the page ads etc. If the source seems credible (eg. CNN, BBC, UN, Government sites, Amazon, Ebay, maybe Yahoo etc. -(Im not saying these sites ARE credible, but they may SEEM to be), then people are even more willing to put up with such things.

It does take a while to build up a list of sites that are relevant to each person's needs, and non-commercial sites are harder to find obviously as they dont have the marketing dollars behind them, so I think the new/casual users answers would be different.

To them they want to see their actual question addresses as the page loads, or a string likelihood that it will be. They are then happy to put up with music, ads, popups, small text etc, becuase they have less visible alternatives than those who are "porfessional" or regular surfers.

9:09 am on Dec 1, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Since everyone covered the basic usability stuff, I would like to add why I ditch sites when shopping....

1. They don't clearly display a phone number, prefferably toll free. If I can't call in the order, then it's probably someone sitting in their underwear selling stuff :)

2. Paypal only payments, yikes! Were you declined for a merchant account?

3. Yahoo store! No thanks, Mr. Small guy :)

4. Free hosting, ie. geocites, etc. Get a domain name and some hosting you cheap ***! ;)

[edited by: eelixduppy at 10:02 pm (utc) on Feb. 18, 2009]

2:22 am on Dec 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

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"chiyo wrote"
good point algebrator,though ive found its hard to "guess" what turns other people off. If this thread was really generalizable to the population as a whole, Yahoo! would have no visitors!

My exact point!

8:09 am on Dec 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

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>>"If all of the things mentioned in this thread were applied to the web as a filter, half the web would disappear instantaneously. I'm not sure whether that's a good or bad thing. "

That would definitely be a good thing. There is too much garbage out there cluttering up the Serps. Everyone has to clean out their attics and have a garage sale now and then.

And you can't compare Yahoo to trash sites which mimic their pop ups, annoying banners and pages put up only so you will cross the path of more advertising. Trash web-sites don't offer the portal of services Yahoo does. Yahoo might have gotten super annoying, but I've got a 100 reasons to go there over a Viagra site with zero original content, telling me the same exact cut and paste garbage 100 other sites are and not even offering a cheaper price.

I may not be the only one who is trying to make money from the internet, but I care about my commercial and non-commercial content and the value it has to the surfer. And I don't design my sites for my sake, but for the benefit of Joe Shmoe surfer. I respect my visitors and want to give them good content without all the reasons here to make them hit the back button.

And when I see clone sites like mentioned above employing the anti-user marketing no-no's listed here, why should I give them my money let alone my respect or time? They had no respect for me or else they would remove all that annoying garbage listed here.

As Joe Shmoe surfer, I don't give a hoot who is behind the site and whether or not they make money. I want good content without getting ticked off over the alienating and idiotic marketing tactics given as examples here.

Yahoo compared to clone viagra affiliate site is apples to 4 day old turkey left overs.

8:29 am on Dec 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Well, I plead guilty (in the past ;)) to many of the mentioned "abuses".

My main abuse used to be having every page open by default in a new page, thereby not even allowing "you to press back button". I now hate those websites.

One thing I have kept is an exploding navigational javascript menu.
I disagree with those not liking them.
It gives less clutter, but still allows an overview.

8:56 am on Dec 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I got to agree with all of you. I think well all know most of the offenses, however, I'd like bring up a point

Brett Tabke:
2) People who over ride underlining of links.

I agree if the link is hidden. However, I sometimes remove the underline as it fits my design. I make it obvious it's a link by changing the color and sometimes the font.

Do people agree with Brett's point? Is it time for me to rethink some designs?

Chris


. They don't clearly display a phone number, prefferably toll free. If I can't call in the order, then it's probably someone sitting in their underwear selling stuff

I usually get dressed ;)

9:10 am on Dec 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

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I've read somewhere that you sell better when you are dressed right. So, once I tried to answer my toll free number wearing a suit. After 15 minutes feeling like a complete idiot, walking around my house in a suit, I took it off and sold 15 times as much "stuff" in my underwear.
:)

[edited by: veneerz at 9:11 am (utc) on Dec. 2, 2002]

9:11 am on Dec 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

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Do people agree with Brett's point?

That's a big fight between me and one designer I work with. I am absolutely with Brett on this one - no underlines is a major error.

The designer I know likes the "look" of no underlines. But the sites he designs get lousy pages per unique. After some finagleing, I changed the CSS on one site to underline links in a normal way. The "pages per unique" stat more than doubled -- and it has stayed in that range every month since the change.

That statistic didn't change this designer guy's mind though - some people really resent it when you confuse them with facts.

I prefer using underlines for all links, and I use a second accent color to highlight important words (usually an extra CS rule styled with the <b> tag).

And yes, I often Back Button out of sites that don't underline links - and I'm also sure I miss big areas of content for those sites where I do explore a bit.

Rant:
I will repeat my mantra one more time - all 'high design' people, please pay attention:

"SLICK AIN'T STICKY"

9:16 am on Dec 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

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What about not being underlined while the mouse is not over the link, but underline shows when you move the mouse over?
9:37 am on Dec 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

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After spending a while today learning about remote networks, I have discovered that I know find "help" articles without dates really annoying and something I want to add to this list.

If you right about something add a date so that the reader(s) know what and when it is/was referrring to.

9:43 am on Dec 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

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What about not being underlined while the mouse is not over the link, but underline shows when you move the mouse over?

That may be moderately better, especially when it's coupled with other visual cues - I don't have any stats on this. I do see enough of this link display mode to consider it a trend.

But I say, why make people explore the entire screen with their cursor just to figure out what they can do? Reading online is enough of a challenge without making your visitor grope around.

To borrow a phrase from Jakob - if you don't underline links you are breaking the metaphor of the web.

10:22 am on Dec 2, 2002 (gmt 0)

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>> If you right about something add a date so that the reader(s) know what and when it is/was referrring to. <<

Yes, that's a big pet peeve of mine. We should make it a standard to include a "last modified" or "last edited" date on the footer of each page. Then people can make up their own minds whether the data is still relevant.

Do as I say, not as I do. ;)

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