Archive for September, 2007

September 19, 2007

I’ve just been trying to figure out the best place to position error validation messages on a data entry grid that looks like:

grid.jpg

I would say that a validation message under each relevant field would be the most functional and is immediately clear to a user which field needs looking at. However, because of the restricted space it’s not very aesthetically pleasing. The problem here is that being aesthetically pleasing is also crucial to the user experience and more importantly to those that will sign off the application from a brand perspective.

Maybe a fresh pair of eyes will help tomorrow!

One big critical mistake…

September 13, 2007

I’m really in rant mode at the moment. I have just tried to buy a ticket from http://www.southernrailway.com/ and I suggest that you don’t try. I entered my details and it crashed, which immediately sent my blood pressure through the roof! Have they taken my payment or not? When the site came back it gave me the following message:

“There were ERRORS

You have recently made a purchase with similar details, order reference xxxxxx. If you wish to request confirmation of this orders details, please use the contact us form.

If you would like to continue with the current order, please click buy”.

The same order number that I used a few weeks ago! So, what is going on?

No, I don’t want to use their contact form for them to respond in 10 days, I want to know now, if I have made a booking or not and if they have taken my money.

Rant over, anxious feeling not. A lesson to be learnt by companies building transactional websites is don’t compromise on usability or performance when dealing with people’s money and personal details, it is extremely damaging to trust and credibility.

And no I won’t use them again.

lose the fluff… users don’t see it

September 7, 2007

I was just thinking about whether I find the new hotmail login page slightly annoying or not. You now have to click over your account name to reveal the password input box, which is kind of unnecessary, let me see where I need to type straight away in order for me to complete my goal; logging into my hotmail account.

However, what also dawned on me is that I look at this page, probably daily, if not every other day and have no clue to what the two columns that precede the login box are for. I know they are there by remembering the page’s visual layout, but I have never read any of the detail.

Just brings home the point that it’s crucial to keep your pages task and goal focused. I’m not saying that the hotmail page doesn’t do this, because now I’m intrigued I’ve taken another look and can see that the one in the middle is about signing up to hotmail. However, I have forgotten what was in the first column already?