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I was going to take the leap today and cancel my landline (insert your “old-fashioned” joke here). But when I went to [insert communication provider’s] website, I was led down a rabbit hole of bad user interface decisions, one after another—it was the web equivalent to the annoying “press 1 for option A” recorded customer service voice that makes you want to hang up and pick a new provider.
(Skip this paragraph if you don’t want to be annoyed.) First was the (relatively thin) main dropdown menu that appeared on hover. I had to mouse down, then over in the exact right spot—it took four tries to click on “Contact Us.” That produced another static dropdown panel with another “Contact Us” option. I then had to select from a large menu of options of things I might be calling about (pay your bill, set up email, careers). I select “move or cancel service.” Now I have to select what service I am calling about. From there, I had to decide between FAQs or a “call us” link. From there I am led to a list of accordion menus repeating the service options I already saw, but the accordion from my previous choice is defaulted to “open.” NOW I see an actual phone number. That is six choices I have to make just to see a phone number.
If I had been calling to, say, add a service, I would have seriously reconsidered based on that experience. User experience is just as important as good customer service. A poor user experience is just as bad as a rude waitress, annoyed cashier or condescending bank teller—they all lead to a poor impression of the overall brand, which can lead to bad word of mouth (read: nightmare for your brand).
User experience isn’t rocket science—but it IS a science. And an art. (An artful science?) It comes down to asking, “What do my users need? What do they want? What is the simplest, easiest way I can give that to them?” You want to get real answers to those questions (hence, the science-y part) by doing usability testing, stakeholder interviews, treejack tests, A/B test, etc.
And it’s not just online. If I shop in your store and receive a coupon on my receipt to take an online survey, but the URL to the survey is broken, that’s a missed connection. If your ad in a local magazine lists the address of the store 500 miles away (when there is one smack dab in the middle of my city), that’s a missed connection. It’s connecting the dots of your brand, no matter how a user may interact with it. User experience is a way to add depth, delightfulness and meaning to your brand. Don’t let another missed connection detract from that.
Now let’s talk about that dated logo…