4 UX Flaws Easily Swept Under the Rug

Design flaws affecting user experience can be detrimental to your site’s success. Here are a few things you possibly overlooked that are turning visitors away.

Your dream conversion rate can be a hard one to land right out of the gate. As all business owners know, good things take time. If you lack patience like me, your first instinct may be to attack your website and take on big changes in the hopes of raising your subpar conversion rate. Before jumping to conclusions, consider where you lack in your design. Design flaws affecting user experience can be detrimental to your site’s success. Here are a few things you possibly overlooked that are turning visitors away.

1. Lack of visual hierarchy & directional cues

Where do you want your customers’ eyes to be drawn to? To the CTA? To promotions offered that day? Whatever it is, the desired action should jump out to your visitor by its placement on the page. Play with visual elements such as color, positioning, contrast, shape and size to organize and place an emphasis on certain components you want visitors to focus on. Check out Skype’s homepage:

skype homepage


What did you notice first? Chances are your eyes went to the call to action because of the contrasting and prominent, blue button. Although it’s not smack dab in the center, the button somewhat offsets from the rest of the color scheme and is easily identifiable.

The hierarchy isn’t the only important element you need on your page, though. Visual and directional cues lending a helping hand to the visitors line of sight. Here’s a fun fact: the faces of babies and women attract the most attention from visitors. In fact, response rates have increased by the same amount as a 4.5% drop in interest rate just by including a photo of a woman. Well isn’t that pretty telling, huh boys? As for babies, Darwin originally pointed out that we’re all wired to react to a baby’s face, which I can’t argue with. That doesn’t mean you can just go slapping pictures of babies and women on your site, though. If it works for your audience, then by all means, but know how to use these photographs as directional cues to assist your visitors. Take a look at this page featuring a baby:

baby heatmap


Obviously the baby is winning and the compelling headline about caring for the baby’s skin doesn’t stand a chance. While I’m sure he’s adorable, you aren’t selling the baby. What really matters here is the copy, which isn’t getting nearly enough attention it needs. Now look at the eye patterns when the baby’s gaze is shifted to face the text.

baby heatmap


Although the baby’s face is still being focused on, the headline and text is as well because visitors now follow the baby’s line of sight. All it took was a visual cue for where visitors should look next. The baby is still #winning.

Designing your website is about so much more than making it look pretty and engaging. Your overarching goal for the website should be invoked by the visual hierarchy and directional cues to navigate users to convert.

2. Unclear value proposition

It’s a competitive market in the online world so you need to make it clear as to why customers should choose you as opposed to competitors. What makes you better than others needs to be apparent to the customers immediately. Your value proposition does this, however many online businesses have trouble conveying this. Follow these four things to help you stand out:

1. Recognize the need: Understanding the customer’s need is the most important thing to recap in your value proposition.

2. Introduce the solution: This is where you have the right to brag about what your product can do for the customer and all of the benefits.

3. Show differentiation: You should never drag another company through the dirt in order to get a leg up. Instead, subtly point out common complaints customers make in your business and present your ways of solving them that are unlike any other.

4. Provide proof: Testimonials, research, case studies and success stories helps to give you some serious credibility.

Here’s an example of a killer value proposition by Uber:

uber value proposition


Without candidly saying so, Uber highlights all the reasons why taking a traditional taxi down right sucks. With Uber, a car comes directly to you with a simple tap, your driver is already aware of where you’re heading, and payment is completely processed through your smartphone, no cash needed. No need to worry about waving down a taxi, trying to explain to a flustered cab driver where to go or fumbling for extra cash. I’d say this is the better option, no?  

Overall, it’s important to remember that not everyone is ready to purchase right away so they will ditch if your value proposition is dull. Devote your homepage to communicate yours and an impressive one can increase conversions by 90%!

3. Shoddy checkout process

Your goal here is to eliminate any obstacles stalling your customer from making a purchase. Every hurdle a customer need to jump is another chance for them to reconsider their buy. Here’s some of the many reasons why customers abandon their carts:

reasons for abandonments during checkout


The good news is, many of these issues can be fixed through design changes. The first and most annoying thing, in my opinion, is not having the ability to checkout as a guest. It’s no secret that registering with a website means my inbox will get loaded with spam. Free People does a great job not only giving you to option to checkout as guest, but also to not receive promotional emails by unchecking their little blue box. This is reassuring to know I won’t receive endless emails and just a confirmation email about my order.

free people checkout


Progress indicators are also a great way of showing a clear funnel to the checkout and all the required steps to get there. This also shows the customer that there is an end to the madness and they don’t have to keep guessing when they’re almost done. Dollar Shave Club is a prime example:

dollar shave club progress indicator


I like Dollar Shave Club’s progress indicator because it’s clear and shows me how many steps I need to take to checkout and once I’ve completed them.

Mastering the design of your checkout process is a tricky thing to do. Just last year, the average cart abandonment rate was 76.8%! If your checkout is poorly designed then your conversion rate will suffer. Make your checkout eye-catchy, clear, and never keep your customers guessing. Always continue to improve the process and beat the odds.

4. Outdated website theme

First impressions mean everything when it comes to a website’s design. If your’s looks like it was designed decades ago then you’re in trouble. Visitors will assume you’re either no longer in business and/or untrustworthy. Keep up with the latest trends in web design by checking on your competitors and conducting some of your own research. Your content or copy may be genius, but just one glance of something like this will scare everyone away:

outdated website


I really doubt (and hope) that your website isn't this dated. But, sometimes the best way to learn what a good design looks like is to look at the bad ones, too. A small detail such as font or color scheme can indicate that you’re stuck in the times.

It’s easy to overlook small details that turn visitors off in a matter of seconds. Everything your website does should be about the user’s experience and constantly optimizing ways of improving it. To get your conversion rates just where you want them, you’ll need to experiment and test a good bit with the smallest of details. After all, testing always beats guessing.