Attention Must Be Paid

How Little Errors Can Become Big User Experience Issues
That Prevent Your Success

Attention: user experience problems everywhere.
The devil’s in the details. So you’ve got to sweat the details. All of them.

After all, you are working hard enough to make your site or website a success. Go one step further and proof your posts and pages. Look for the little things that might trip someone up.

Forget What You Know, Look with Fresh Eyes

If you not a professional proofreader or UI specialist, how to you do it?

Simple: Look at your pages as a new site visitor would. You have to forget what you know about the subject and the site. You can’t proof as the person who knows what everything means and is supposed to do.

Watch for Spacing & Alignment Issues

Problems can arise from something as simple as spacing. Or lack of spacing.

This is what I saw on a site I visited earlier today:
One Icon Heading Looks Like Caption for Other

Do you see the problem?

People Don’t Read, They Skim & Scan

How do people read online? Jakob Nielsen answered that question long ago:

They don’t.

People visiting your site skim and scan, their eyes darting around the page quickly, “foraging for information.”

That’s what I was doing when I glanced down and saw these big icons labeled “Translate.”

Except they aren’t translation icons.

The heading above the translation icons is much closer to the social sharing icons, like a caption under the icons, so people scanning the page will visually group the wrong text with the wrong icons and move on:

Don’t need anything translated, so Goodbye. See ya.

And you, the site owner or blog writer, have just lost a great opportunity to share your hard work and get more readers.

All over a few pixels of lost whitespace.

And a lack of attention to little things like spacing and alignment.

Lost in Translation

You have to be proactive and try to imagine how your site visitors may interpret or, more importantly, misinterpret your page.

Take things one at a time.

Read the copy: headline, subhead, body, etc. Look at the navigation. Check the images.

Most important:

Check and double-check any call to action, anything you want your visitors to do.

Like share.

If you don’t have time to do it yourself (or think you’re too close to the material to look at it objectively), see if a family member or friend will take a look.

Remember, you’re not looking for expert opinion, just the opinion of a regular person who might visit your site.

Small Example, Big Problem

This is just one example. And admittedly a pretty small one. After all, most of the people who are likely to share your work would probably recognize the icons well enough not be confused by the text.

But I’m writing this today because, for a moment at least, I was confused by what I saw.

And it’s always a trap to make decisions thinking people know what you know and will do what you do.

And the same kind of issues and the same lack of attention to the details of user experience (UX) do occur all over the Web, sometimes resulting in higher bounce rates, lower visitor return rates, or lower conversion rates.

Big opportunity and big money is sometimes lost.


Avoid that tragic ending on your blog!

As Willy Lowman says near the end of the classic play Death of a Salesman, “attention must be paid.”