Ethical web design: Don’t annoy your visitors
GDPR & cookies
Google Analytics is free and used by countless websites to track their users – which is great info. However Google are probably misusing all this information for their own ends. We recommend paying for cookie free analytics like Plausible, which gives small business owners the data they need with no need for cookies. No cookies means no need for annoying cookie popups for visitors.
Most large websites these days. Experience your own popup nightmare at https://how-i-experience-web-today.com
Limiting cookie tracking when you browse
If this all annoys the hell out of you, you can install something like Adblock and uBlock Origin browser extensions to at least partially block this stuff. Extra points for having your IT folks set up something like PiHole ad blocking on your home or office network or using a VPN service with tracking protection included.
Clarity of Navigation & Content
If someone has come to your website to read about blue widgets, then show them the info about blue widgets. No redirects, no overlays, no hiding that info and trying to give them something else. If a page has popups, nags and other junk then it’s near useless to the user. This can affect your ‘bounce rate’ ie how quickly someone presses that ‘back’ button to get away from a mess of a website that feels untrustworthy.
When designing websites for ourselves or clients we try and refine the message so that each page does one thing and has one next step (sometimes referred to as a ‘call to action’). People have the attention span of a goldfish on the internet, so it helps to get straight to the point. This applies to navigation as well – part of our design brief that we work through with clients is to organise your website content so it makes sense to your visitors.
Email marketing is a fantastic way of keeping in touch with people interested in what you do. Nagging them to signup to a vague newsletter as soon as they hit your site is a terrible idea however. How do they know if they want to sign up when they haven’t even read anything yet?
We recommend that newsletter signups are unobtrusive, and only pop up after a delay. A page with a signup form is even better so it’s not covering the content your visitors want to see.
Here are some points that we keep in mind when designing clear, easy to use websites for ourselves or for clients. The web doesn’t have to be a nightmare of popups and data mining. Treating your users well and respecting their time and intentions will pay off by building trust and attracting people that share your values.