Don’t fall for these trends or lose hard-earned clicks
After kayaking for two hours, my friends and I were famished. None of us eat beef very often, but we thought we’d treat ourselves at a famous old-school drive-in that reminds you of a scene from “American Graffiti.” Unlike most of today’s drive-ins, you won’t find a speaker, screen, menu or anything on the spot where you park your car.
You have to wait for a carhop to show up. No one complains about the wait. It’s all part of the experience. Carhops often chat with the customers and tell captivating stories. Meanwhile, my friends and I easily passed time chatting in the car.
Long-time Keller’s carhop Taunia Land greeted us. She remembered us from serving us the last time we went kayaking. (Shirley Ehney beats everyone by a long shot — she’s worked there for almost 50 years.)
A restaurant’s user experience
There’s only one menu posted on the exterior of the restaurant. From the car, I certainly can’t see it. Fortunately, I have my phone, and I look it up online.
Slow service. Unreadable menu. Chipped paint. Dark bathroom.
Not exactly the makings for a successful restaurant today.
But everyone loves Keller’s for its charm and the experience. What we do get is a poppy seed bun, a tray full of condiments, memorable conversation and a darn good burger. Apparently, foodies come from all over the country to visit Keller’s.
And no one pressures us to move to open up the parking spot for the next customer. When we’re ready, we leave. Then we post pictures online and still talk about it today.
Effects of content on a website user experience
Keller’s thrives on all the things that would be a big no-no in restaurants. But websites can’t afford to do the same.
Many websites — including the well-visited ones — fail the legibility test.
A lot of them apply a trend that won’t go away. And I’m not the only one who struggles with grey text on a light background or any combination of colors that don’t have a strong contrast.
Another bad trend is animation or movement in the background. That’s dizzying.
“But Meryl, if the well-visited ones do it, then how can these legibility issues be a problem?”
Imagine how much more traffic these sites would get if they improved the contrast. Cut the animation or parallax effect. Eliminate huge scrolling pages with little content on each page.
All these hurt the user experience. When I land on a page with light text, I leave. Animation? I don’t think I’ve ever closed a tab on a website as fast as I do when I encounter moving backgrounds.
Make the most of your content marketing efforts
You’ll have opponents and proponents on many design factors when it comes to websites. But everyone agrees that text needs to be legible. And it’s an easy thing to fix.
Check your content’s contrast. Is the website animated? Does it require a lot of scrolling? Show it to people outside of the company and see what they think.
It’s hard to hear criticism. We should all be grateful when we get it. At least, we know what needs improving. Not many people take the time to point out problems to a company. Instead, they tell other prospects about them.
Keller’s may be able to get away with having a single menu. It’s a rare exception to the rule. People can get out of their vehicles to go look at the menu. Up close, it’s legible. Black letters on a white background.
Black is boring because it works. Don’t sacrifice legibility for trends and the cool factor.
About the author
Meryl K. Evans is senior editor and employee No. 2 at InternetViZ. She is a content marketer who helps businesses connect with their prospects and clients through a variety of content. Meryl is also the author of several books on business and technology. Contact her and follow her on Twitter at @merylkevans.