Business, MBA, Microeconomy, Thoughts

Usable but not emphatic, some ways to irritate your online customers

Don’t web designers surf the web? There are so many things that annoy users that I hardly believe so. And it’s not a matter of small businesses. Many big ones also do fail.

It’s not usability. With usability we define the on-line concept of being able to interact with a website with ease. But there’s more than that. There’s a business process going on, and you need to treat customers right. You need some empathy. Can you spot the difference?

I’m interested in the business perspective. Let’s see a few ideas from situations I’ve experienced myself:

  • The ones you read everywhere:
    • Easy and quick. That’s where business and usability go hand by hand. No comments.
    • User feedback, listen to the user, bla bla bla. We all agree on that.
  • The ones that really matter to me:
    • Don’t make me register before buying! Can’t you do that seamlessly with the billing process but without cutting the business flow? I have changed my mind more than once because of that.
    • And if I make any mistake. Don’t erase all my data! I’m going to hate you for that.
    • Don’t forget that a buyer hates ambiguity. Do offer a final bill of materials, with the specifications and reference of every product bought. It’s long and ugly? It’s useful too.
    • I won’t accept hidden costs! I’ll back out if you add me some extra cost at the final step. That’s cheating the customer!
    • Give me an easy contact email and/or number. What should I do if I have a doubt? I don’t trust sites that don’t offer that, or try to hide it. Moving it to a secondary place will surely lower your quantity of calls, and the associated costs, but it will annoy many users too!
    • Tell me where I am in the buying process, and where I can go without a steady compromise.
    • Let me know if I can change some parameters later. That will let me not to worry about them.
    • Let me have a lifelong record of past purchases. Will that mean some extra records at your database? That will mean also that the user will have a stable reference, and a personalised service. That I won’t have to print anything or save any page to my overcrowded desktop (and probably loose it).

Aren’t they obvious? Well, they aren’t. And there’s still something more that I hate.


the value of personalisation comes from exclusivity
People do want to be exclusive. Who could recognise himself as unoriginal or just conventional? No one.  So, don’t tell me about “other users that bought this also bought”! At least for a moment I want to feel I am the only one…

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2 thoughts on “Usable but not emphatic, some ways to irritate your online customers

  1. G,

    You should offer your services to the many bad websites out there. I’d also like to add this point: Let me use the “Back” button on my browser without causing the whole buying process to implode and have to start all over again. Argh.

  2. Hehehe you’re right D. that’s one of the things that annoys me most. I just forgot.

    It’s just the same with websites that require you to log in and then they forget everything you had previously done.

    That’s the same as if, when asked to repeat something, the seller became amnesic all of a sudden, and started again saying “hello, can I help you sir?” and everything all over again.

    Best regards 😉

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