Does Your Site Work?

We got back from Spring Break last night, various family members having spent the time in different places, and we decided to have dinner delivered to us.

As we aired out sleeping bags, unpacked bags, showered, and otherwise prepared to return to our daily lives, we tried to make a quick order at a restaurant online.Here were the steps:

  • We waited through an animated introduction screen. While we had found this mildly entertaining the first time we saw it, we didn’t want to wait through it before being able to place an order.
  • We searched with growing irritation for the place where we could place an order.
  • We tried unsuccessfully to log in, thinking we had an account. While it’s possible that we should have remembered whether or not we had set up an account there, the response to our log in attempt could have told us that we didn’t have an account, rather than leaving open the possibility that we were using the wrong password.
  • Having spent quite a while trying to get into our account, we concluded that we didn’t have an account and went to set one up. Then lengthy form was daunting, but we filled it out and hit submit — and waited for several minutes before realizing that it simply didn’t work.
  • We phoned the restaurant and placed the order.

We are a calm and forgiving group. There are plenty of people who would have called some other restaurant instead, and gotten angry about it and told all their friends, too. It may be nothing to do with your company, really, but fails at the website can create negative responses to your company and even to your product.

If your website has added functionality, like a shopping cart or a form to fill out, check sometimes and make sure that it’s still working the way you think it is.

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