How to Frustrate Readers

In our office and home, we just changed Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Going through the grueling process of understanding the new screen and procedures, I am reminded of three ways to frustrate readers:

  1. Avoid telling readers how to do the essential tasks of their lives. For example, don’t tell them how to delete email. Keep time-saving steps (such as how to log on automatically) a secret.
  2. Do not label icons. Let readers guess what checkmarks and asterisks indicate.
  3. Provide lots of advertisements just in case readers want to go shopping while they are using your service. Be sure the ads flash so that readers can’t miss them.

I’m looking forward to satisfaction with the new ISP once I can use it efficiently. But I would definitely get there faster if it focused on me–the user–and my needs. 

Have you experienced frustrations as a reader, especially online? Please share your comments.