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Why Do People Leave a Website?

The Internet has taught people that instantaneous is best. Whether it is streaming music, movies, or television, purchasing items online and having them shipped to your door, or ordering a pizza for dinner in thirty minutes, the general Internet user’s attention span is extremely short. As such, it is important to have a well designed, interactive website if you want customers to stick around. You may be asking yourself “Why do people leave a website?” There are a multitude of reasons that people may choose to leave and this post will explore a few of those, as well as some simple solutions to retain your customer’s interest.

Long Load Time

The first point at which people may leave your website is before it even loads. Long load times, typically anything more than 2-3 seconds for text or pictures to begin appearing and anything more than 4-6 seconds for the entire page, including CSS formatting and Flash videos ready to play, will deter a user. This is where webpage optimization plays a role. Having a well designed website means that it is ready to actively use within a few seconds. We are past the days of loading screens for web pages. Rather, a simple, quick displaying page with the option to load resource heavy features such as a Flash demonstration applet separately will tend to retain customers. There is no need to have time-consuming e-commerce additions and the like on the front page. Rather, allow the user to settle in before pushing too much at them. Another area to watch along with load times is ease of navigation and design principles.

It’s Confusing

No one wants to load a webpage and see a confusing array of links, buttons, colors, flashing lights, and clip art. The modern aesthetic of the Internet tends to lean to a simpler, more elegant solution. Influenced by companies such as Apple and Google, sparse backgrounds are not necessarily bad. But the thing to keep in mind when looking at examples such as these is the form and function work together. Google has one job: search. It does its job extremely well with little to no distractions. Apple funnels people towards its new product lines and directly to specific information for what they are looking for. From there, a seamless transition moves the user from information to the ability to purchase with their e-commerce system.

It’s Ugly

When choosing a web page design, think as a user. What would be their first impressions? What is the purpose of the website? Take away the extraneous. Put it in a document or technical specification section. You dictate how your customer or viewer moves around your site through the placement of links, search features, and leading lines in pictures. Remember to take into account design and journalistic principles. While not everything from classic journalism translates well, the movement of a user’s interest is vital to be able to take into account and plan for. Keep a simple, streamlined service with exactly what the consumer wants and nothing more.


These are just a few of the reasons people tend to leave a website. However, if these principles are followed, a definite return on user experience will be noted. Giving consumers a fast connection to just the information they want, followed by a simple, intuitive relationship between pages and information will stop forcing you to ask yourself the question “Why do people leave a website?” because it will not be your website they are leaving.

For more information on this subject see part-2 of this post.


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