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“That’s probably a bad idea because…”

I’ve had many strange requests from clients. When one comes in that will adversely affect the usability, effectiveness or conversion rate of a site though, it is useful to have facts backing up my humble opinion.

This article is essentially a brain dump of some of the facts, sources and links to areas of research that I’ve found over the years.

My plan is to grow and evolve it over time.

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Quirky (probably patronising) examples


  • Slideshows kill conversion rates “…most of the study participants simply ignored the sliding or animating messages as they hunted for the information they were interested in.
    Kill your conversion ruining carousel
  • Users don’t feel in control and slides often move automatically even if the user wants to browse their content manually. One of the key rules of user interface design is that users need to be in control. Several big names (GAP, Hilton, Adobe) have a static campaign/advert in place of a moving series of banners – Don’t use automatic image sliders or carousels
  • Auto-Forwarding Carousels and Accordions Annoy Users and Reduce Visibility – Nielsen Norman Group
  • “0.65% of users clicked on the carousels” – Homepage Sliders: Bad For SEO, Bad For Usability


Quirky (probably patronising) examples

Hamburger menus

Reading & writing on the web

  • How users read on the web (Summary: They don’t. People rarely read Web pages word by word; instead, they scan the page, picking out individual words and sentences.)
    How users read on the web
  • How to write well for your audience, including specialists – Writing for gov.uk

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Design doesn’t need to be different

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