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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.
I have just had a very bad experience with a well known budget airline (Ryanair) and I haven’t even left home yet.
It reinforced my view that I will only travel with that airline when I have no other practical choice.
So how come it is highly profitable?
On the Econsultancy blog we often highlight examples of websites that offer a great user experience as it’s useful to be able to see good design in practice.
And we also think it’s useful to highlight examples of brands that aren’t getting it right and could do with redesigning their site to improve the user experience.
QVC falls into this category. Its checkout process feels like it hasn’t been updated in several years, and there are several major issues that could be causing lost sales...
With the economy in a seemingly perpetual crisis, businesses are under ever more pressure from their finance and managing directors to ensure all business tools and investments are delivering the desired results.
This includes websites ranging from simple brochure websites to marketing campaign websites to multi-channel international e-commerce solutions with integrated supply chains.
As video ad consumption soars, so do marketers' video budgets.
And the mind-blowing numbers keep coming – comScore’s May estimates for U.S. video views topped 10 billion for the very first time.
Facebook’s mobile app has long been its weak link, and despite constant updates it still offers a poor user experience.
Throughout 2012 it has been busy acquiring companies that had achieved some success in mobile, including Karma, Glancee and Instagram, yet improvements to the Facebook app have been negligible.
While app design is a complicated science, there are a few basic issues that Facebook could try to resolve that would vastly improve the user experience.
There has been a huge amount of interest within the Econsultancy community around the EU e-Privacy Directive, sometimes rather misleadingly referred to as the ‘EU Cookie Law’ (as it doesn’t just apply to cookies). This is not surprising as the deadline for compliance with the directive in the UK is May 26th so less than two months away.
People have been asking "So what is Econsultancy going to do on its site?", and "What do you think is best practice?", and "Will Econsultancy.com be compliant?". Today we have set live our ‘solution’.
(UPDATE, 18 April 2012: Our new report, The EU Cookie Law: A Guide to Compliance, explains the legislation as far as it affects UK online businesses, sets out some practical steps that you can take towards compliance, and includes examples of how websites can gain users’ consent for setting cookies. Do check it out.)
Now and again you see a website so different to the norm that you can’t help but be intrigued. Lings Cars reverses perfectly in to that space.
The easy option here would be for me give the site a good going over with a usability stick, but I wouldn’t be the first to do that and quite frankly I don’t want to have Ling Valentine breathing now my neck and boxing me into submission....
Instead, what I want to hopefully do in this article is identify a wide range of persuasive, psychologically rooted design techniques that this website uses to a) build trust and then b) encourage you to hire.
Stay with me on this, I know when you first see the site you may well have a WTF moment and wonder how anyone would/could find their way around the site, but if you don’t know already Ling shifts quite a few cars over the course of the year: £35m in 2010 in fact.
I’ve been on record a number of times saying that I think the EC Directives relating to cookies are fundamentally flawed. We could make a parallel with the current UK/EU Euro ‘situation’ but let’s not go there. In the UK the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has a duty to enforce these directives and, as they say, “This isn’t going away. It’s the law.”
Yesterday the ICO released its updated guidance for UK website owners. You can download the PDF from the link in the news release.
Given the tough task of interpretation, guidance and enforcement that is the ICO’s duty, I have to say that I think this document is a valiant and comprehensive effort given the task and I’d commend them for this. I would urge you to read it for the full details. It is clearly written and quite practical.
Below are some of my initial thoughts on reading this latest guidance.
Persuasive design is something that has been around for many many years, not least in the way high street stores and supermarkets lay out their stores to encourage and entice customers to buy as they arrive and walk around.
In the online world, PET (persuasion, emotion, trust) is an approach that was pioneered by Human Factors International, and alongside usability and user experience, designing with persuasion in mind is an extremely powerful approach to positively impact on conversion rates.
In my experience, one site which has persuasion rooted in its design, content and layout is Booking.com.
In this article I provide a breakdown of some of the key persuasive elements that booking.com deliver.
14 October 2011 is World Standards Day where the three major international standards bodies IEC, ISO and ITU celebrate the contribution that standards make to international commerce. The theme this year is ‘Creating Confidence Globally’ and it strikes me that this is particularly relevant to usability.
Most creators of digital products design their products to be usable: effective, efficient and satisfying. Although sometimes this is hard to believe, I do not think anyone deliberately ignores their users.
However, what some designers quite frequently fail to do is to apply current usability best practice or test out their products before launch. When real users find the products difficult or cumbersome to use or fail to get the desired results and stop using the product, this can come as a surprise to the unwary designer (and their bosses who see the costs of their investment rising and the benefits diminishing).
There are currently some brilliant tools for carrying out user testing on your website. The basic premise is to invite a number of people on to your website to complete a specific task.
You then gather feedback about their experience which will highlight any usability issues.