Parts of my current work got me thinking about how I, personally decide whether or not to trust a site. By trust here I do not mean completely… I mean I trust my bank more than I would trust someone’s blog. But as a generalisation the following is my hit-list, or rather my go-away-fast list where I will leave a site and never return:
- whois data is privacy protected. Now ok, I have no issue with someone protecting their blog, but if it’s a company I have to ask why are you hiding? You’re blocked.
- website presents a pop-up asking – well, anything. Typically you get a pop-up asking if you want to take part in a survey, or saying you can subscribe to a newsletter. No, design your website correctly so I can see those options but do not force them on me. I won’t be back.
- hard to find actual street address. Blogs excepted again, why do businesses hide or make it very difficult to find their address? Bye.
- paywalls and ad blocker detectors. Nope, not paying, nor am I switching my ad blocker off. The Guardian do not do this but do have an ad blocker detector which puts up a message at the bottom of the page, not in your face. I don’t use it enough to warrant it but I would be far more willing to pay them than any media that fails completely if you have an ad blocker, or which shows a few lines and then requests payment. Remember, the web is a big place, and someone else has probably posted a similar story to that which you want me to pay for.
- copyright infringement. Harder to see but I came across a local business that displayed, as it’s background image one of our own which is our IPR! Chance maybe, but hey.
- sites which attempt to persuade you that what they are offering is not in fact illegal. Far harder to spot, these. But a number of my investigations lead me to websites offering things which although not illegal are certainly contrary to our own internal regulations, typically sites offering to write your dissertation or thesis.
- sites which require my personal information before giving me a price for a product or service. Car hire and insurance companies are bad for this. Why do I need to tell you who I am to get a price? Ok, some data is needed, like age and postcode, but surely no more than that. I just want a quote, and only if I decide to take it up will I then send the necessary details.
- sites which insist on having whole-frame anchors such that if you click anywhere other than somewhere obvious you are taken to somewhere else in the site or, worse, to somewhere nasty. You get blocked every time.
- sites that have no privacy notice / set cookies without permission / have privacy notices that are pages long / have daft, unenforceable or obfuscated notices or terms. Come on people this is not rocket science.
- sites (and, in real life, vans!) where the URL and e-mail bear no relationship to each other. If you bother to buy a domain then bother to also use it as your e-mail domain! Come on, sack your marketing team.
Not a big or even complete list, but those few points are my own personal basis for going further into a website or just clicking away.