Fix Bad Online Advertising Techniques & Design

Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox offer a few highlights of the User Experience 2004 conference where John Boyd from Yahoo! and Christian Rohrer from eBay presented a large body of research on how users perceive online advertising.

When users were asked how various aspects of online ads affected their Web experience, they rated the following attributes most negatively.

  • Pops-up in front of your window -95%
  • Loads slowly -94%
  • Tries to trick you into clicking on it -94%
  • Does not have a “Close” button -93%
  • Covers what you are trying to see -93%
  • Doesn’t say what it is for -92%
  • Moves content around -92%
  • Occupies most of the page -90%
  • Blinks on and off -87%
  • Floats across the screen -79%
  • Automatically plays sound -79%

Users were particularly pleased with ads that clearly:

  • indicate what will happen if people click on them
  • relate to what people are doing online
  • identify themselves as advertisements
  • present information about what they are advertising
  • provide additional information without having to leave the page.

This is based on 605 respondents in 2004; similar numbers were found in 2002 and 2003.
Now you know how to improve placement of advertisements on your page and fix up your web design. Give users what they like!