- Let the design of the form or page hinder the site's readability
The design of a smart form, website or user interface should never interfere with the user's ability to consume the content on the screen. This includes having busy backgrounds behind content or poor color schemes that hinder the form or page readability.
Busy backgrounds cause a distraction and take attention away from the content, even more so if the busy background is directly underneath the content. In addition, be careful not to use color schemes that decrease the contrast of the typography on the screen (i.e. light gray type of a white background). Focus on the typography of your content to ensure issues such as line length, line height, kerning, and font choice doesn't pose issues for readability.
- Hinder a visitors ability to scan the screen
As I mentioned above, users and visitors alike often scan the screen quickly before settling in to read any one particular thing with focus. Users often scan for visual cues such as headings, menus, pictures, buttons, and blocks to know where they should focus their attention.
- Fill the screen with non-related content
Look at it this way; we do things based on a mission we give ourselves. We go inside a grocery store with the intent of buying a box of cereal. If you know your purpose, then you wouldn't go looking for your item in the toiletry aisle. Instead, you go directly to the designated aisle to find the specific item.
Users of your site or interface feel the same way. They want the content they came for without any other interferences or distractions. If users are entering information of a customer on your smart form, they don't want unnecessary fields to be shown up as mandatory and restrict them from saving the form. Similarly while claiming insurance on your insurance website; they don't want to see ads or recommendations to buy a new phone.
- Make your visitors wait for your content to load
The attention spans and patience of web users are very small. So when they have to wait on your web page to load, they will become frustrated and likely leave your page.
With your app or site, keep in mind the impacts of your design choices on the sites loading time. Large images, lots of jQuery and animations, and loading resources from third party sites hurt your sites load time. Optimization and key design decisions that reduce site loading time will help keep your visitors on your site.
- Have several things compete for attention
Designing elements that have to fight for attention can also cause confusion and some nervousness in your users unnecessarily. Using visual hierarchy to design the user's flow around the screen reduces the competitive feeling of different elements. You can help them out by limiting how many call-to-actions you have on the screen, reducing or relocating ads on the site, keeping flashing and animated things to a minimum, and use headings appropriately. Also, not having things pop up at users (i.e. modal boxes) helps to keep the focus on the content.