When did the user experience get so bad?
Digital disruption should not result in customer interruption. Why is there such a disconnect between content strategy and UX these days? If 70% of a buyer’s journey happens online before contacting a vendor, why does a virtual sales assistant appear so soon after a user lands? If consumers don’t trust advertising, why do we stalk them with banners? Why are there immediate interruptions to “subscribe to this” or “download that” before the user can even start reading? If this is the on-demand age, why do sites and pages take so long to load? If people are creatures of habit, why change basic fundamentals of navigation and scrolling? I could go on for days, but these are just some of the things that have me scratching my head.
The definition of the verb “interrupt” is to stop the continuous progress of (an activity or process); cut in, break in, barge in, intervene, suspend, discontinue, break off, put on hold; stop, halt, cease, end; put on ice, put on the back burner.
As a content strategist, decision journey specialist and a consumer the following, IMHO, are the worst offenders and biggest interrupters of today’s user experience:
Scroll jacking (Someone thought this was a good idea)
- What it is: Website takes over the user’s ability to scroll at their own pace.
- What this signals: You are trying to control what I see, when I see it.
Page bloating (We have what you would call a little bit of a “weight problem”)
- What it is: Too many bells and whistles that severely slow down the load times of pages.
- What this signals: You don’t mind wasting my time.
Not using infinite scroll strategically (Hellooo Newman)
- What it is: Endless scrolling pages without navigation or visual cues for the user.
- What this signals: You are going to make this experience painful and difficult – and I’m never going to find that bit of information again.
Instant CTA’s (Slow your roll – this should happen towards the end)
- What it is: Immediate promotion of newsletters or other published content, typically gated.
- What this signals: You just want my information.
The opposite of interrupt is to advance, assist, encourage, facilitate, support, expedite, and leave alone. Let’s start diligently applying these principles in our design planning. Remember content strategy and user experience are inextricably linked. Your content performance will suffer if you make it difficult for people to consume it. Moreover, it would be unkind to your bottom line if you continue to interrupt the customer journey.
Jenny is a digital content strategist, who leads customer-centric engagements that focus on understanding B2B buying behaviors and developing custom roadmaps.
Her expertise is creating buyer personas and mapping digital content journeys to assess the multi-channel user experience. She helps clients operationalize plans across workstreams and identifies processes to create efficiencies in marketing operations. Jenny also has extensive time under her belt developing and managing customer advocacy programs and community building.
She has helped a diverse group of organizations including Cisco, VMware, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, BMO Harris, Capital One and many others become more customer-centric.