User experience mistakes to avoid to improve conversions

If you want to attract, convert, and keep customers, your website must be optimized for mobile use and have a user interface (UI) that induces an emotional response. At the same time, it should be easy to navigate and make an effortless purchase.

You don’t have to paint the Mona Lisa on your eCommerce store or website to get your visitors to buy. One of the most famous artists of all-time said:

“Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.”

Leonardo da Vinci

UI is a vital part of the user experience (UX). Making a mistake with your website design will negatively affect its ability to convert visitors.

The fact is that an effective UI strategy starts with good UX. In other words, a beautifully designed website will not be able to compensate for poor navigation, just like exercise cannot erase the effects of a bad diet.

UI/UX considerations

According to Harvard Business Review, customers today have neither the time nor the patience to figure out where to find what they need on a website or how to get it. That’s why a successful customer journey is a direct result of reducing customer efforts.

When it comes to conversion rates, it is far better to make it easier for your customer to find what they are looking for than to delight their senses with a beautiful design.

This doesn’t mean your site shouldn’t be appealing, merely that you should avoid trying to make it so at the expense of user experience.

Here are some statistics showcasing customer expectations regarding websites and web pages:

  • 38% of users will leave a website if it has an unattractive layout
  • 47% of visitors want web pages to load in two seconds or less
  • 95% of Internet users say that a good user experience is the most important factor in a well-designed website
  • 94% of people do not trust websites with degraded web design

Complicated navigation, ugly design, and slow loading times make up the three most significant factors in poor conversion rates.

To avoid these issues and increase your chances of attracting more visitors and getting more sales, check out the following list of six common UI/UX mistakes, along with an explanation of how and why they impact conversion rates.

6 common user experience mistakes to avoid to increase conversions

Here are some of the most common mistakes that designers make.

1. CTA button issues

The great thing about call-to-actions (CTAs) is that they can lead a customer to a purchasing decision through a single button. However, they have to be done correctly.

Many designers and marketers make the following two mistakes with their CTAs:

Inconspicuous CTA Buttons

On far too many websites, the main CTA buttons (e.g., “Buy Now” or “Shop Here”) do not stand out enough. In fact, they are barely even visible. The outline of the CTA button is often too light, and the fonts are illegible. Even when an image is inserted to highlight the unreadable text, it often fails to make sense or makes the CTA even less understandable due to poor contrast.

Indistinguishable CTA Buttons

The “Go Back” and “Proceed to Payment” buttons on the check-out page often look the same and thus confuse the customer. CTAs should stand out to make it clear to the customer what they should do next to get what they want. Make sure to use various styles, colors, and fonts to help users differentiate between CTAs and move the customers along the buyer’s journey.

Here are some ways to improve your CTA buttons:

  • Make sure your CTA button stands out from the background
  • Don’t complicate your button design – simple and clear is best.
  • Make your CTA big enough to be noticed, but small enough not to seem ‘pitchy’
  • Use rectangular shapes surrounded by white space for your buttons to make your CTA more inviting
  • Put your CTA button next to your proposal or underneath it, as this is the most logical step indicating what to do next
  • Create a sense of urgency: first person, timing words, and active verbs serve best for this purpose
  • Keep your CTA short and to the point – no more than 60 characters in length

You will have to test out different CTA button designs and messages to see which ones best resonate with your audience’s attention. The main point is to make your CTA effective but not overpowering.

2. Too much information

Information overload is a real phenomenon. It can overwhelm a visitor and make them want to leave your site instead of learning more or buying.

Avoid burdening your users with too much information or too many options. Instead, give them only one thing to do at a time and you’ll make it easier for them to reach a purchasing decision.

Keep in mind that most website visitors prefer to skim through content rather than reading it from start to finish. Unless it is a blog, too much text will most likely decrease conversions. You can say more with less if you trigger emotion within your copy.

Here are nine emotional triggers that are proven to influence customer buying behaviors:

  • Fear
  • Time
  • Trust
  • Value
  • Belonging
  • Guilt
  • Instant Gratification
  • Leadership
  • Competition

If you apply words that evoke such emotions within your copy, you’ll be able to lessen the amount of text and make it easier for your users to make a buying decision.

3. Cluttered layout and hidden options

No matter how creative your website design is, it will frustrate your visitors if it seems untidy. When there are too many elements on your page, they compete with each other. Often, they even overlap, hiding options and buttons that are critical to conversions.

When users don’t know where to look, they can’t access what they need and, consequently, leave.

One of the most common mistakes is using elements that cover essential CTAs. These can include a floating Cookie Policy, newsletter pop-ups that are difficult to close, or chatbot options with an unclear exit sign.

Here are some tips on how to effectively clean up your landing and product pages:

  • Include only the most essential elements on your landing page: hero image, main headline, CTA, product or service list of benefits, and social proof.
  • Use plenty of whitespace between images, forms, descriptions, and CTAs on your product pages.
  • Never use more than two fonts and three colors in your designs as it takes the attention away from what you want your user to do next.

Again, always think usability first and aesthetics second.

4. Complicated an unclear navigation

If you want better conversions from your website, make the shopping experience easy and quick.

One of the best ways to do this is to design the navigation menu according to your user’s expectations. In other words, keep it simple and clear.

Place the navigation menu where your users will expect to find it – either in the top horizontal position or on the left-hand sidebar. Also, try to use a maximum of five or six menu items, to avoid confusing your users.

The two main mistakes website designers make when it comes to navigation menus are:

  • Too many photos. Including too many images and icons near or around the navigation menu usually ends with hidden menu categories.
  • Too many categories. Hyper-categorization and difficult patterns in the menu bar make it difficult for visitors to move along the buyer’s journey.

To limit the complexity of your navigation menu, try using a hamburger-style menu instead of one with a lot of complicated designs and too many options.

Although most designers regard hamburger-menus as too simplistic, experience has shown that sites and pages with simple designs are more aesthetically appealing to users than complicated ones and lead to more conversions.

When designing the navigation menu and sequence for your site, you should also make it as mobile-friendly as possible. After all, half of all website traffic today comes from smartphones.

If you are considering hiring an agency or freelance development team to make your navigation and site more mobile-friendly, be sure to inform them of who your users are. You also want to make sure they are capable of meeting your requirements, so provide them with as many details as possible, including what devices or operating systems your audience predominantly uses.

Don’t forget to describe their buying habits and your conversion goals. This will help your developers create the optimal UX when working on your site’s UI.

5. Slow loading pages

As mentioned earlier, page-speed is a critical factor in determining a site’s conversion rate.

A one-second delay in page load time reduces views by 11%, decreases customer satisfaction by 16%, and lowers conversions by 7%.

To keep your page loading speed under two seconds, follow these tips:

  • Don’t use too many plugins
  • Optimize or compress your images
  • Limit the use of redirects
  • Reduce HTTP requests

Point out to your UI designer/developer that it is an integral part of your conversion strategy to have your site and pages load in under two seconds. Page-load speed is an essential factor in meeting your conversion goals, as it impacts customer experience drastically.

Think about it. Would you stay on a website that took more than 2 seconds to load, or would you opt for another website, where you could access what you wanted when you wanted it, much faster and with greater ease?

6. Generic imagery

Keeping your website visually appealing is also part of the user experience. A well-designed site with lots of authentic and original imagery helps build trust in your users’ minds.

Using stock photos and other images that are popular around the web creates a sense of mistrust. It automatically diminishes the Know, Like, and Trust Factor that leads to higher conversion rates.

Therefore, you should use unique imagery on your pages whenever possible. If your budget allows it, hire a professional photographer to take pictures of your products, staff, or office settings to build brand authenticity.

There are two other strategies you may want to consider when it comes to on-site images:

  • Positioning images to direct user attention towards CTAs.
  • Choosing models that closely represent your target audience and ideal customer persona.

Images are a great way to grab visitor attention, but make sure you attract it towards something inspiring and real, and not a blatant lie.


The easier it is to navigate and make purchases on your site, the higher your conversion rates will be. Add to that avoiding the six mistakes listed above, and you will increase your conversion rates without spending money on traffic that fails to convert because visitors are met with an ugly UI design that provides a lackluster customer experience. Provide your customer a clear, streamlined, and aesthetically pleasing experience, and they’re sure to come back.

This guest blog article was written by Heather Redding who is a part-time assistant manager and writer based in Aurora, Illinois. She is also an avid reader and a tech enthusiast. When Heather is not working or writing, she enjoys her Kindle library with a hot cup of coffee. Reach out to her on Twitter.