January 20, 2010

Get your chicken (sh*t) together

Co-teaching a course with Jeff Nelson and the topic discussed was User Experience and Form design. Used a personal example about how not to do forms.
Flashback to after Christmas. I was still craving some bird and stuffing. Swiss Chalet, I thought. Online ordering? Cool. And then it went downhill in a hurry.

User goal = me, chicken. When ordering by phone, expect to give up the following:
  1. (First) name
  2. Order
  3. Address
  4. Phone # (for follow up)
  5. Payment information
Here's what went down...

Step 1: Phone number. Seems reasonable, but two things: 1). There is no 'status and visibility'. In other words, how many hoops do I have to jump through to get my dinner; 2). Why just phone number on this page? Are you geo-locating me?

Step 2:
Personal Information.
Why do I need to create a profile? Why do you need to know if I'm a Mr. or Ms. and what my last name is (obviously for marketing purposes)? Which fields are mandatory vs. optional? Love this line: "Please note: The address field is optional. If you leave it blank, Delivery will not be available unless you compete your profile". Understand the over 18 legal requirement (PIPEDA compliance), but you're still adding to the user experience burden.

Step 3:
Error handling. So, I screwed up. Quelle surprise. It's not apparent how I messed until after submit. Inline contextual help and visual indicators might have assisted. Oh, and they reset the Password settings.

Step 4: I've told you all about myself in good faith and I'm still nowhere near accomplishing my goal. When do I get to select my meal? What's next? Postal code. Hmmm. Could they not have asked this a little bit earlier for localization (and, as you'll see availability)?

Step 5: What the heck does this error message mean? No context, nothing. After all that, you want me to call?

So, I called them, thus breaking the online customer experience to move to another channel. After another 10 minutes, we discover that I can't have their chicken - outside delivery area. Wow.

Lessons learned:
  1. Obviously, don't buy their chicken online
  2. Before you design a form, think about user goals and paths
  3. To paraphrase Luke Wroblewski: "A raindrop never thinks that it's responsible for the flood". Don't let other departments from within dictate the customer's experience. By asking marketing and sales questions, as well legal stuff, you incrementally degrade user delight
All I wanted was chicken and stuffing...

1 comment:

Violet said...

I have to say, I am in this class and there is some serious bitterness to the online chicken experience with Swiss Chalet that John possesses.