Archive for October, 2008

Usability, persuasion, emotion, and trust…

October 8, 2008

I was quite surprised when recently shopping on Amazon.co.uk to experience a few usability annoyances as well as buying a camera that I hadn’t intended to.

I was doing a bit of research on a particular camera I had seen elsewhere to see if I could get it cheaper. I was pretty convinced I was going to buy it; the decision was now from where. However, this changed when I spotted the user reviews. They ended up being pretty mixed, and someone suggested an alternative. So I checked out the alternative, which had all positive reviews and I ended up buying it.

This was totally against my initial intention or expectation and my decision to purchase was based upon my emotion as I was led by the user reviews.

However, basic usability was not great, what an awful screen where you enter you card details:

  • The layout felt weird, as the entry fields were laid out horizontally for, card type, name, number etc etc; and
  • There was bad error feedback: I missed something out (I think) because when I hit next/submit (whatever the button was called to get me to the next screen) I got an error message telling me there was something wrong with my details. So it cleared everything I had entered and didn’t tell me where or what was wrong, so I had to fill out all fields on this page again. How annoying:-(

It’s not a catastrophic usability error because I still completed my purchase, but it was annoying all the same. Maybe I made allowances because it was Amazon; because of the Brand I kind of trusted them a bit more, but if it a smaller and less well known site/company I’m not sure I would have continued.

Check out http://beyondusability.humanfactors.com/ where designing for persuasion, emotion and trust is thought to be essential when staying ahead.

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