Tom and I are working on a very fun e-commerce website right now. The owners are fun, their products are fun, the customers are fun, it’s just a fun project all around.
At the moment, the owners probably aren’t having any fun at all.
The reason is that as I tried out their website in the course of my basic research, I found that the user experience wasn’t what the owners expected.
- There’s no link to the catalog — or even any hint of the existence of a catalog –until way at the bottom of the page, where people would have to scroll to find it. And most don’t.
- Before you can shop, you have to fill out quite a long form. You can’t even check on shipping before you do this.
- When you click the button to put something in your shopping cart, you get a big notice warning you that the security certificate has expired.
- If you persevere in spite of that, you find that the payment information form has some odd features — the name of the company that does the processing is right above the place for shoppers to give their info, and the form is built differently from most credit card forms. Enough people are antsy about online security that the payment info section is just not the place to be creative. It should look and behave like all the other credit card forms the customers see every day.
- If you got to wondering about the company and wanted to contact them to find out what was going on, you would quickly discover that there was no contact information anywhere — not so much as a phone number.
We’re talking about a very unusable site, here.
The owners of the site were surprised by this. They had never tried it out.
Try out your site. See what happens when you try to find it, or try to shop there, or try to — well, whatever you want people to do at your site. How hard is it? How fun is it?
Are you surprised?