What Website Issues Bother Your Users? Survey says…

 What Website Issues Bother Your Users? Survey says...

What Website Issues Bother Your Users? Survey says…

According to a new survey published this week by web hosting provider 1 & 1 Internet , US consumers have many complaints about technical website issues, and these issues impact their overall customer experience.

This research confirms what most ecommerce companies already know – US consumers are annoyed by slow loading websites. Consumers are more frustrated than ever when sites are broken or off-line for maintenance, and these negative experiences negatively impact their brand perception/experience and likelihood to continue using (or return to) the website.

A key finding is that 58% of consumers indicated when a website is slow or has errors, they are less likely to use that company in the future.

As US consumers spend more time on the web each day from their phone, tablets and computers, their expectation bar has raised – 68% of the survey respondents indicated they are more critical of website errors than they were 5 years ago.

According to the survey by 1and1, these are the top technical issues related to website speed and performance that impact user experience.

Top 5 Technical Website Issues:

1. Slow running websites (65 %)
2. Significant differences in Web page loading times (58%)
3. Broken website pages (42%)
4. Web addresses that lead nowhere (34%)
5. Online orders not processed (32%)

User Attitudes and Feelings about these issues:

Over time, users have become more impacted by technical website performance issues. They have higher expectations than ever and want things to work perfectly all the time. They are less tolerant of problems and more impatient than ever before.

When asked how the following aspects have changed as compared to 5 years ago:
  • 68% said they now feel more critical towards a slow or unreliable websites
  • 53% said they were more concerned when they use a slow or unreliable website
  • 44% said they were more stressed or upset as a result of using a slow or unreliable website
  • 65% said they were more aware now of whether website features are functioning as they should
Overall, the story here is clear – consumers are increasingly savvier, they are more aware of how websites should be working and more concerned and stressed when the sites are not working, or slow, or unreliable.

Impact of User Attitudes and Feelings on future interactions with these websites

If a website is slow, or has errors, survey respondents said this affects them and and their interactions with the company in a variety of negative ways.

Negative Impact on Purchasing from the website or future visits:

  • 72% said they would abandon the search or order and find another website
  • 58% said they would have doubts whether their online transaction would be processed
  • 58% said they are less likely to use that company in the future

Negative Emotional Experience:

  • 42% said it caused them negative emotions such as stress, worry or anger.

Negative Brand Perception: 

  • 13% said it gave them an impression the company is smaller or less financially stable than they imagined.
  • 47% said they would have doubts about the credibility and trustworthiness of the company
  • 21% said they would complain directly to the business. (Note: this shows the majority would not provide feedback to the company, other than abandoning their transaction and not returning in the future. And this shows that this type of feedback is typically not making its way back from users to companies).
“Unreliable websites continue to reflect badly upon businesses of all types and sizes. It is clear that when faced with a faulty or off-line website, consumers will turn elsewhere. Perhaps more surprising is the proportion that will be unwilling to return. With this in mind, businesses must ensure their websites are well designed, have robust functionality, and benefit from the most reliable Web hosting infrastructure available to them.”
 –Oliver Mauss, CEO 1&1 Internet, Inc.

What’s the Solution to these problems?

Make sure that your website is optimized for speed. Last year we wrote about the connection between website speed and usability – and an optimized website is important than ever for usability, SEO, and customer satisfaction.

Eliminating bloated/unnecessary code, using data caching, and image optimization are all things that will speed up website performance.

In summary, these data points confirm many things we have all long suspected – technical site performance issues impact user experience and users perceptions and likelihood to return to your site. If your site is broken, or not working properly, your users WILL get frustrated.

And if this causes them to abandon your site, or not return in the future, it is impacting your bottom line in ways that are not always immediately apparent from your sales or website analytics data. And these are the types of issues that are often unseen in usability testing or the usability lab, which is why it’s important that you take a broader view on what user testing , user experience research and user experience strategy mean within your company.

Note: This data came from a survey conducted by WIRED magazine via an electronic feedback form. It is quite likely that WIRED’s readers are more tech savvy than the typical online shopper. Some have argued that they may be less forgiving of error prone sites. But it is also possible that savvier users are more understanding of website issues due to their perhaps more advanced technical knowledge. Ideally, we would recommend that in future surveys they target a representative sample of US users (stratified across important variables like State, income, age, gender, etc.) to create a stronger research study.

Let us know – How do you speed up your website? Do you think the results of the study align with your own online shopping habits? Let us know in a comment.

  • lynn

    huh. the biggest problem i find with most websites is that the content i’m looking for either isn’t there, or can’t be found. just sayin’.