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Usability and Considerate Design  

:: Friday, July 08, 2005 ::

I hate to think that in the midst of project team meetings, the one thing that gets overlooked is consideration for the end user. How many white boards have you seen lately that have “ease of use”, or “be polite to customers” scribbled anywhere on them? Rather, the discussion hits on revenue generation, business requirements, colored backgrounds and information architecture. All good things, of course, but I’m quite sure you all want somebody to use the thing too, correct?

Where is the Shopping Cart button?

A few days after upgrading my cell phone, I decided to go online to purchase a car charger for my new phone.

I found the cell phone model and a page called “Accessories”. There was a convenient anchor link at the top of the page that linked downwards to the “vehicle power adapters” section of the page. I clicked on it. I could see, along with the image of the adapter and nearby description, an “Add to Cart” button. It looked so perfect. So logical. I was thinking it was an easy to use shopping cart. Happily, I made my selection and clicked the “Add to Cart” button.

Which, promptly and efficiently, brought me back to the top of the page, where those nice little anchor links were sitting. Huh? I looked all over the screen to find a “Continue Shopping” prompt or a link to “Your Shopping Cart”. Something. Anything! I just wanted to order a product online for heavens sake. This is a well-known cell phone company. They can’t be this stupid. Worse, I was feeling dumb, and this is something no design should ever do to an end user. Steve Krug says "Don't Make Me Think". I say, if you make us think, at least let us enjoy the moment. It would’ve been nice to be able to complete that transaction, or find instructions on how I could do so.

I never could. Rather, I left the web site, and asked Google to show me a map to one of their stores located nearby. In this way, I could spend $3 per gallon in gas, take the dog for a car ride, stop for milk and get my car adapter. Why bother with the Internet?

Continue reading Usability and Considerate Design: How good design and manners create user confidence

:: posted by Kim Krause Berg on 7/08/2005 03:40:00 PM

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