Rage Clicks and Thrashed Cursors — How to Deal with Frustrated Users
Have you ever tried to buy tickets to a concert and experienced the frustration and eventual rage of waiting for pages to load, unresponsive pages, unclear next steps, timers counting down, or buttons not working to submit — and you probably still walked away with zero tickets? Yeah, you probably had some choice words, and your keyboard and mouse might have suffered your ire in the process.
As a website owner, you strive to create a seamless user experience for your audience. Ideally, one that doesn't involve them preparing to star in their own version of the printer scene in Office Space. Despite your best efforts, there will be times when users get frustrated due to slow page loads, broken links, navigation loops, or any other technical issues. This frustration can lead to what the industry calls “rage clicks” and “thrashed cursors.” When your users are driven to these actions, your website's reputation, engagement, and return visits can be damaged. Let's dig in to discuss what rage clicks and thrashed cursors are and how to deal with frustrated users.
First of all, what are Rage Clicks?
Rage clicks are when a user repeatedly clicks on a button or link when it fails to respond immediately — the interface offers no feedback that their first click did something. This bad user experience doesn't motivate them to return for more. These clicks are likely often accompanied by loud and audible sighs, groans, or even yelling. “Come on, just GO!” might ring a bell if you've ever been in this situation. Rage clicks are one of the most frustrating things a user can experience when using a website or app.
Rage Clicks are defined technically by establishing that:
- At least three clicks take place
- These three clicks happen within a two-second time frame
- All clicks occur within a 100px radius
Similarly, what is a Thrashed Cursor?
A thrashed cursor is when a user moves the cursor back and forth over a page or element, indicating impatience or confusion. Various issues, including slow page load times, broken links, unresponsive buttons, and unclear navigation, can cause users to exhibit these digital behaviors. It can also indicate the user is about to leave the site if they cannot find that solution quickly.
Thrashed cursors are defined technically by establishing that:
- There is an area on the page where a user was moving their mouse erratically
- An established pattern of “thrashing” occurs around or on specific elements or pages
- Higher rate of user exits from the identified pages
Why do Rage Clicks and Thrashed Cursor happen?
Common reasons rage clicks and thrashed cursors happen are:
- Poor Design: Poor design is one of the most common reasons for rage clicks and thrashed cursors. If the website has a confusing layout or navigation structure, it can be frustrating for users to find what they're looking for. Or, they may assume an element is clickable; when it’s not, it can be irksome. Underlined text is an excellent example, as users often associate underlines with links.
- Technical Issues: Technical issues such as slow loading times, broken links, or non-responsive buttons can cause rage clicks and thrashed cursors. Users expect the website to work correctly; when it doesn't, they can become annoyed or frustrated. If they click a button, they expect the button to do something.
- Lack of Clarity: If the website’s content is unclear or poorly written, it can cause confusion and frustration for users. They may struggle to understand the information provided or find it challenging to complete the intended action. Content loops can be a good example of this. Content loops happen when users repeatedly go back and forth between pages or sections of a website, trying to find the information they need. Eventually, they’ll become frustrated, leading to this user leaving the website.
How do you resolve issues that lead to Rage Clicks and Thrashed Cursors?
Now that we know what rage clicks and thrashed cursors are and why they happen, how do you resolve it, you may be asking. Here are a few things an agency partner can help you with that can significantly reduce the risk of your users resorting to these behaviors.
Use Performance Measuring Tools
By employing performance measuring, you can analyze the data collected, gain valuable insights into how users interact with your platform, and identify areas for improvement. For example, if you notice a high number of rage clicks on a specific button or link, it may indicate that users are confused about its functionality or that it's not working correctly. Similarly, if you see a high number of thrashed cursors on a particular page, it may suggest that users are struggling to navigate or find the information they need.
Tools that support Friction or Frustration measurement:
- Clarity (from Microsoft)
- Quantum Metric
Conduct User Experience Exercises and Testing
Identifying the root causes of rage clicks and thrashed cursors can be done through a UX audit. An agency can examine your website design, functionality, and usability, identifying areas of improvement.
- User Journey Mapping: User journey mapping involves mapping the user's journey through your website from a starting point to a goal, identifying pain points along the way, and determining where users may get stuck or frustrated.
- Usability Testing: Usability testing involves putting the website in front of real users and giving them tasks to complete. The tester then looks to identify issues, such as slow loading times, broken links, or confusing navigation.
- User Surveys: User surveys can be conducted in various ways, including online surveys, in-person interviews, and focus groups. These surveys can be designed to gather information about users' perceptions of the website, interactions with the website, and satisfaction levels. Questions can be designed to identify areas of frustration, such as difficult-to-find information, slow page load times, or confusing navigation. It's wise to keep surveys short, so work with your agency to select the questions to garner the best feedback.
- Heat Mapping: Heat mapping involves analyzing user behavior on your website, identifying where users are clicking, scrolling, and spending their time. This can identify areas of the website that are causing frustration and leading to rage clicks and thrashed cursors.
Focus on Website Speed Optimization
A digital agency can synthesize findings from UX research and performance-measuring tools and work to optimize your website for quicker page loads and buttons or links that respond immediately to user actions.
- Image Optimization: Optimizing images on your website will significantly improve page loading times. An agency can help you optimize server settings and compress images to reduce their size without sacrificing quality.
- Caching: Caching involves storing frequently accessed website data on a user's device, reducing the need for data retrieval and improving website speed.
- Content Delivery Network (CDN): A CDN is a network of servers distributed worldwide that store website data, improving website speed by reducing the distance between the user and the server.
- Server Optimization: Server optimization involves optimizing server settings and configurations, such as increasing server resources, using a faster server, and reducing request response time. Website owners frequently skip this step and don't select the right hosting plan, which can cost more money through lost users and lower conversions.
Resolve Technical Issues
A web agency can help resolve any technical issues that may be causing frustration for your users. These issues may include broken links or buttons, 404 errors, slow page load times, and server errors. Technical issue resolution can involve various activities, including code optimization, server maintenance, and bug fixes that work to ensure that everything is working correctly and address any issues that arise promptly. The resolution of technical issues will improve website performance, reducing the likelihood of user frustration and rage clicks.
User frustration can negatively impact user satisfaction and business outcomes. Partnering with a digital agency can be a valuable investment to mitigate these issues. Through the use of tools, UX audits, user surveys, website speed optimization, and technical issue resolution, a digital agency can identify and address the root causes of user frustration, improving the overall user experience — leading to an increase in user engagement, satisfaction, and loyalty, which means improved conversion rates, higher customer retention, and ultimately, increased revenue for your business.
If your customers are hulking out, maybe it's time to call us!