The Japanese survey company, Goo, asked a panel of consumers what they disliked about companies' Web sites. Here is Goo's ranking of the top 20 dislikes of Japanese consumers:

  1. The information has not been updated for several months (100)
  2. The site is heavy with too many images (97.9)
  3. The site is full of incomplete contents (89.4)
  4. The links open PDF files (87.5)
  5. The home page is all flash (86.9)
  6. The site keeps opening up lots of popups (86.6)
  7. There's too much information. I can't reach information I want. (81.4)
  8. There's no overview like an index of products etc. (75.4)
  9. The site suddenly makes sounds (70.2)
  10. It's unclear how to contact the company (63.3)
  11. Even after looking, it's hard to tell what the site is trying to convey (57.2)
  12. There is no detailed information on products (57.0)
  13. The site resizes my browser without asking permission (53.0)
  14. There's no way to search the site (53.0)
  15. It's hard to understand the map to the company (50.7)
  16. The background color is hard on the eyes (48.9)
  17. In general, the text is small (43.4)
  18. The public blog is just a lot of the staff's private concerns (42.8)
  19. Right click is disabled (42.6)
  20. The site menu is in English (42.2)

The survey results are presented in Japanese on Goo's site.

I believe the number in parentheses refers to the percentage of respondents who selected each item as one of their dislikes.

Survey methodology:

  • Respondents: Registered members of Goo's proprietary research panel
  • Method: Closed ended (multiple choice) questionnaire. Online.
  • Survey dates: May 21, 2008 ~ May 23, 2008
  • Valid responses: 1072

Although the results are very interesting, I should point out some flaws in this research:

  • As the survey methodology was "multiple choice" we only get responses that correspond to the choices offered in the survey. Perhaps the survey didn't include all of the respondents' peeves.
  • Consumers aren't always very good at telling us about their difficulties using a site.

Why aren't consumers good at telling us what's wrong with the sites they use? Because everybody lies…


You're not convinced?

OK. Here's a less flippant explanation from "The User Is Always Right" (by Steve Mulder)

… most often, users don't tell me the truth because they're not even aware of the truth of their behavior. It turns out that many people aren't very good at analyzing their own behavior or paying attention to their actions. Basically, our image of ourselves doesn't always reflect reality. That's why it's important to watch what people really do, and not simply trust what they tell you they do.

For this reason, it's necessary to observe customers as well as listening to them. By watching them, you can see what they actually do. (You can get some idea of this from web site analytics too).

Nonetheless, it's interesting to see this ranking. I plan to come back to it in the near future and map the issues to Forrester's Web Site Review criteria. The pet peeves cited in the list are all related to problems of VALUE, NAVIGATION, PRESENTATION or TRUST – and most of them could be identified and remedied if companies properly reviewed their sites before unleashing them on the public.

I will write a follow up to this post soon… but I must go now and practice my speech for next week's event.