It is the little things in life that count, according to the old adage, and this is certainly true as far as user experience is concerned. The devil really is in the detail.
All too often some minor oversight on a website makes me furrow my brow, but more and more websites are taking a microscopic approach to user experience and interface design, and the results can be useful, amusing, fun, and functional.
I thought I’d share some of my favourites, as well as a bunch from Little Big Details, a fantastic website that collects these examples of smart user-focused design. It has hundreds to browse through, so if you're interested in UX design then do check it out.
I've always found it ironic that some of the most fancy hotels have some of the worst websites in the world. It's the same with restaurants. Both are long serving fans of Flash and autosound, and the result can be hellish.
If websites are particularly bad, and if I'm the one tasked with booking or buying something, then I can tell you for a fact that I will look elsewhere. The problem is that there isn't always an 'elsewhere'. Luxury brands pride themselves on their uniqueness, after all. If your better half wants some Jimmy Choo for her birthday then that's what you need to buy.
I've seen signs of improvement, especially in the restaurant sector, but many top class brands still have a lot of work to do.
Here are 17 examples of the kind of user experience issues that drive me mad, and which feel like a punch in the face when the brand in question charges a premium for the quality of its products and services.
Quiksilver recently revamped its European websites as part of what it calls “a very aggressive market expansion strategy”.
The sites, which were launched using Demandware, use a range of interactive and visual features that it claims offer an enhanced user experience.
But aside from all the new graphics, is the site actually easy to buy from?
We have previously flagged up ASOS as an example of shopping basket best practice, so using the same criteria I looked at how Quiksilver stacks up...
Why should we expect more from our usual social media mobile platforms? Well, why not?
Without feedback, preferences, and usage patterns, companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare wouldn’t be connecting us on a daily basis.
In 2012 however, we should expect a contextual experience from these sites – desktop and mobile alike.
Lee Duddell is the Founder of WhatUsersDo, a UK based company that offers online user testing to customers including O2, Dixons, ASOS and Schuh.
For examples of these user testing videos, see the site reviews we have done of Four Seasons and the Thomas Cook tablet experience.
I've been asking Lee about the challenges of starting the company, the common user experience problems unearthed by testing, and how he sees the UX market developing in the next few years.
In the past year or so there has been a trend in web design towards the use of scrolling, which can help to engage visitors and provides a feeling of movement and animation.
These web pages are entirely static, and rely on the visitor to interact in order to generate the ‘movement’. Back in the day if you asked for this a developer would reach for Flash, but nowadays HTML5 (which has a <ParallaxScroll> tag), CSS3 and JQuery are usually employed to achieve scrolling effects.
I’ve collected a bunch of scrolling websites that are built with the arrow keys in mind. Some of these are more 'animated' than others, and some scrolling websites feel a little bit clunky, but all of them are interesting and creative web experiences.
I’m not yet convinced that scrolling is something that e-commerce companies should be embracing en masse, but it can certainly be used to support brand and product campaigns, given that the best examples are inherently narrative. Portfolio-based websites (such as the two agency sites I've featured) are another area where scrolling could come into play.
Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, keep those websites scrolling…
Four Seasons unveiled its new website earlier this month, with many eyebrows raised as a result of the reported $18m pricetag.
While this seems like a lot of money for a site relaunch, it is an international brand, and the $18m may cover more than just a redesign.
The important point is whether or not this website will help it achieve its aim of improving its online revenues, which currently stand at 12% of overall sales.
With the help of some user testing videos (kindly provided by whatusersdo), I've been looking at the user experience on the new Four Seasons site.
While the site contains some great imagery and content, there is plenty of room for improvement, and it's a big fail on accessibility...
Website optimisation teams are so much more effective when UX/Usability Consultants and AB/Multivariate Testing experts work closely together.
We have seen first-hand the difference this makes to the conversion rate optimisation process.
During a recent spot of unavoidable eavesdropping in a slow-moving queue, I overheard two ladies expressing great frustration at their less than positive experiences on cinema websites.
We decided to investigate, and asked potential users to visit three sites and carry out some simple, typical tasks that cinema-goers would be likely to perform online.
The sites we tested were Cineworld, Empire Cinemas and Odeon.
This article is the first in a series of extracts taken from Econsultancy's new Internet Marketing Strategy Briefing. The free-to-download report covers the most important online trends in digital marketing that we are witnessing.
This extract, written by Econsultancy's Research Director, Linus Gregoriadis, will focus on the user experience aspect of customer centricity, although other topics covered within the document include channel diversification, data, social media and content strategy.