Archive | December, 2010

30 December 2010 ~ 1 Comment

Netflix, I’m Dying To Know

What did I watch?! :)

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28 December 2010 ~ 1 Comment

Prominently Placed

I found this image from a Borders mailer interesting.  Note what’s adjacent the arrow.

I believe that’s a progress bar.

Would not be my first choice for a product shot :)

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26 December 2010 ~ 0 Comments

A Fighting Chance

Pokin and I are frequent users of Priceline.  Being 45 minutes from LA and a bit over an hour from Seattle, we head down (and up) a few times a year.  We’re savvy enough travelers that we can get Priceline to give us decent deals in great locations.  After each stay, we receive an email from Priceline asking us to rate the  hotel.  That link takes you to a page that looks like this:

The first visible page of the form contains 92 radio buttons.  Across the three screen-fulls of this form there are a total of 125 controls for 25 questions.

When faced with a wall of controls like this, I feel overwhelmed.  I mentally switch off for a few reasons:

  • There’s a disconnect between when I expected and what I received when I followed the link.  When I click that link I’m expecting a tight query for my thoughts on the Hotel Andra.  Instead there is (for example) a question about whether or not I’d recommend Priceline.

Take this feedback form from OpenTable.  Note the use of background contrast to indicate which section is important/requred.

Back to Priceline:

  • They’re asking for questions that make their lives easier, yet have nothing to do with my desire to giving feedback.  These questions are so that my input can more easily fit into the various slots on the Priceline website where it’s likely to appear.  In addition to asking for my time to make their website more valuable, they’re asking me for additional time to make it easier for them to do so.  For example:
    • “Tell us something you liked about this hotel in 20 words or less.”
    • “Tell us something you did not like about this hotel in 20 words or less.”
  • I  notice that the “on a scale of 1 to 10…” style of rating, which is far too granular.  How can I choose between 6 and 7?  Or 2 and 3?  It’s easier (and faster) for me to make gross assessments like the difference between a 5 and a 10.  They’ve decreased the chances they’ll get anything because of analysis paralysis – there’s too many notches on that scale.

If Priceline wants to increase the chance that I’ll fill this out, how about a bit of progressive disclosure?

Progressive disclosure is an interaction design technique that sequences information and actions across several screens in order to reduce feelings of overwhelm for the user. By disclosing information progressively, you reveal only the essentials and help the user manage the complexity of feature-rich sites or applications.

There are two questions here worth answering, or at least the two that I’d like to answer:

  • Rate your overall experience at the hotel
  • Write a short review

How about starting with those, and giving me a reason to keep going?  Here’s a quick suggestion:

By prompting with the shorter version to start, you increase the chance you’ll get any feedback at all and you’re giving people a reason to continue.  Instead of monetary incentives, you can use social prompting as well, e.g. “The more you tell us, the more you help other travelers like yourself!”

If Priceline’s desire is to capture as much feedback as possible, I suggest they start small and stick with sound principles to decrease abandonment and give their users (and themselves) a fighting chance when faced with such a daunting form.

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25 December 2010 ~ 1 Comment

How do we do it? Volume!

Price alert from Amazon.  Finally, I can pull the trigger!

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24 December 2010 ~ 0 Comments

One Bright Spot

Pokin and I have had a lot of trouble with Wells Fargo through the years.  First they submit my name to the Secret Service for counterfeiting after I returned from a trip to Africa (don’t ask) and then they accidentally charge me for 4 years of monthly bill pay fees. The list goes on…

Where they have excelled is in the usability of their ATMs.  I’ve joked about this in the past though since then, things are much improved.  You can now receive scanned images of your cheques, send receipts directly to your email, etc.

Here’s another example from today.  Check out the previous iteration of the ATM login screen:

This is the new login screen:

Wait, how is this a login screen?  Where are the login buttons?  They have been replaced with what are essentially navigation items.

“Do you want $60 in cash with a receipt from your checking account (which is what you’re most likely to do)?  Or would you like to do something else?”

Contrast this to the previous workflow which required  you to login and choose from a hierarchical menu (withdraw – select account – how much?) to complete your transaction.  Wells’ ATMs have gotten better at saving and promoting your most commonly used actions and this is taking it one very large step further.  This means that most of the time I won’t ever have to make it past the login screen.

Won’t people be confused by the lack of a ‘standard’ login process?  In this case, here’s what Wells has going for them:

  • Your interaction vocabulary with the ATM is one of touch, either via the screen or physical keypad.  Yes, something is different about this prompt but since navigation never occurs on the keypad, one of these two buttons is surely the path forward.  Even if you took a guess, you’d have a 50% chance of doing the right thing :)
  • The most likely action is called out with the use of color.  I would prefer if the less likely action had a bit less contrast (jet black on white has the highest contrast ratio).

This is a subtle and interesting change that’s worthy of consideration in other domains.

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