Remember when this snazzy new thing called the ‘Internet’ came out?
I do. I was around 10 years old when I started crawling through the interwebs. I remember setting up personal websites, feeding my Neopets, and discussing nonsense on MSN Messenger.
Remember those bulky computers?
How about those websites we used to visit? We would be greeted by upbeat music, flash animation, and a big banner that read, “Thanks for visiting my website! Sign my guestbook.” We were all excited about the Internet. It was a big deal. Now, fast forward almost two decades later, we’ve gotten spoiled. We are used to crisp designs with succinct content. We are used to getting what we want, when we want it.
And why shouldn’t we be? We’re rapidly advancing our technology. We’ve already got smart technology, touchscreens, wireless devices, and computers in our pockets. So why then, do outdated websites still creep among us?
Just so we’re clear, here’s my definition of an outdated website:
- Busy background (i.e. anything that’s not a solid colour)
- Flashing animations (this should be a crime)
- A million unrelated things sharing a single page. Please, spare us all and create separate pages for content. Don’t be lazy!
- Hard to read font colours and styles. In fact, the biggest offenders are yellow and red on anything besides black
- Comic Sans. I have a grudge against Comic Sans. In any context
- Different font styles on a single page. This is inconsistent, unprofessional looking, and very distracting
- Music that is startling enough to give your visitors a heart attack
- Poor grammar
- Colour disharmony (i.e. between font and background)
Here’s a very funny example of an outdated website, created specifically for the purpose of informing others.
I’m a Generation Y young adult who grew up on technology. For the last 10 years, I’ve been on the internet almost every day (how many pop-up ads is that?!). I also grew up consuming advertisements on T.V. I’m a critical consumer because I grew up bathed in ads, to the point where I’ve learned to block them out. Like other critical Generation Y and Z consumers who grew up surrounded by technology, I have standards.
Last week, I was interested in working for a particular multinational company. I went on their website to browse and apply for positions. Their website was outdated. It looked like it was created in 2002, and had not been touched since. I was ambushed by tons of unrelated content splashed across a busy webpage. Although I was deterred, I proceeded anyways. After navigating through an outdated career portal, I gave up and exited the window. The outdated website with the user unfriendly design was not only a waste of time, but it came across as extremely unprofessional.
Whenever I find myself on a company’s outdated website, I hit the backspace almost immediately. For one, as a Generation Y consumer, I am used to getting information quickly. In fact, I expect it. A busy webpage with a million unrelated things on it is a major turn off. Browsing through it is simply a waste of time. For two, I assume that the company is no longer active, and unaware that their website is still up. And for three, flash animation and (god forbid) startling music, are obnoxious.
The most important thing about outdated websites is that a single page has a million unrelated things on it. This is distracting, intimidating, and ruins the user experience. Your website should be very easy to navigate through. Related things should be clustered together and easy to find. Even more importantly, your website should be constantly updated. Or, at least appear to be constantly updated. Consumers (Generation Y in particular) are impatient. Don’t be cheap and don’t be lazy. Keep your content organized and easy to find. Your customers will thank you.
There you have it. Honest feedback from a critical (and possibly numb to advertising) Generation Y consumer.
Have you ever come across an outdated website? Did it affect your perception of the company?