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Is bad web design damaging your mental health?

By 19th January 2021January 23rd, 2023No Comments
Is bad web design damaging your mental health?

A recent study has revealed that bad website is doing more than just turning customers off a sale. It’s actually causing us more stress.

Findings from a UK-based user experience agency measured participants’ blood pressure to determine the level of ‘stress’ they felt while browsing poorly designed websites. The results were astounding – with some issues causing blood pressure spikes of up to 21%

So, which issues were the biggest offenders?

The most annoying web design flaws ranked by user stress

The study revealed that the following issues had the biggest impact on user stress levels:

  1. Slow loading pages
  2. Multiple pop-ups
  3. Auto-play music
  4. Broken pages (404 errors)
  5. Auto-play videos
  6. Non-clickable CTA buttons
  7. Fonts that are difficult to read
  8. Images not loading
  9. Multiple images sliders
  10. Confusing animations.

Based on an average systolic blood pressure of 105, slow-loading pages pushed blood pressure up to 135, while confusing animations had the least impact, pushing blood pressure up by 10 points.

How these web design trends correlate with SEO

Are we noticing a pattern here? Many, if not all of these, directly correlate with the very issues that Google is penalising webmasters for. Let’s take the top example – page loading speed.

In 2018, Google published new changes around speed as a ranking factor:

“Users want to find answers to their questions quickly and data shows that people really care about how quickly their pages load. The Search team announced speed would be a ranking signal for desktop searches in 2010 and as of this month (July 2018), page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches too.”

Fast forward to 2020, and we’re now preparing ourselves for the Google Page Experience update. As part of this update, Google has advised that we look out for its ‘Core Web Vitals’:

  • Largest Contentful Paint
  • First Input Delay
  • Cumulative Layout Shift

In layman’s terms, largest contentful paint refers to slow loading times for the biggest element on a page – usually an image. We can link this directly with numbers 8 and 9.

First input delay is the time it takes for a site to be interactive – which we can attribute to 1 and 6. Cumulative layout shift is the idea that confusing elements may hinder user experience – number 2, 9 and 10. Google also advises that we should go easy on the ‘intrusive interstitials’ – that is, multiple pop-ups (number 2).

Why you should prioritise web design in 2021

The good news is that many of these are easily fixable. Our expert web designers in Chorley and Bolton can guide you through the user experience or page load issues that may be driving your users mad.

Don’t forget, online browsing can be a hugely emotional experience – whether we’re buying gifts for loved ones, or looking up information on ‘Your Money or Your Life’ pages. That’s why we should not be putting users off by sending their blood pressure sky high!

Beyond satisfying our users, we also need to be mindful of the ranking changes coming with the page experience update. By making content more accessible, we’ll achieve higher rankings and more conversions.

Get in touch with us today for your web design audit

We’d love to help you make your website more accessible in 2021, and tick those Google boxes. Contact the Tall Zebra Designs team to get your project started.