Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Do You Notice Your User Experience?

As with most things that people do, we all tend to focus on what we do and think that it's some measure of the center of what happens, but truthfully we're not.

I am curious. How much do you notice your user experience as your navigating through the web? For instance, on the AT&T Order Status website ( (Not that I would have any reason to be checking it every couple of hours or anything...)), in order to get your results after you enter your info, you have to actually click the Submit button. If you just hit Enter or Return, the page returns an error page, with no indication of how to fix it.

Now, you might say, "Big deal, Phil. Just click the Submit button." Well, sure, but I'm the type of person that enters info through the keyboard, using Tab, and then hits Enter. Plus, I focus on usabilty and user experience, because it's what I do in the course of my day.

At any rate, I'm just curious about how much you might notice your bad experiences. How do you deal with it? Where are some of the websites that make you want to put scream?


Tom said...

Looks like AT&T web developers are descriminating against Tab Return peeps. Not cool. I feel your pain.

Jennifer Thompson said...

I notice it when the usability is low (or bad, or however you say it). For example, I started this comment and then Blogger erased it all. Bad. If one of those pop-up surveys comes up, I'll fill that out, but that's about as far as I go to tell them how I feel.

If the usability is good, I don't think about it in the slightest. Which I think is the idea.

Most newspaper sites (at least the ones I read) drive me crazy because they're so cluttered. One reason Google has done so well is just simplicity. You go to Yahoo's home page, it's full of stuff. Google's is just basic but has exactly the functionality you need. Gmail is simple to use and looks clean. The advertising is there and easy to access, but also doesn't detract from the stuff I'm actually trying to see.

(I'm with you on tab return, too.)

Tony Arnold said...

I notice my user experience keenly Phil and get very frustrated with the lack of thought and design effort that goes into making a great UI experience in companies' products. You would think they could care less about having repeat customers.

Keith Brenton said...

Inexcusable from an outfit the size of AT&T.

Thanks for the link. (Not that I need to be checking on it every few minutes for anything. But if I do, I'll remember the "Submit" button tip, and who gave it to me.)

Justin Davis said...

I notice UX as well, but only because it's what I do all day long. Otherwise, I might not be as quick to notice.

I think that users in general usually don't notice UX issues, because of a few reasons:

Bad UX is so common - there is so much bad experience design out there, that I think users have become somewhat conditioned to expect that from the web. It certainly doesn't make it right, far from it, but I think it plays into it somewhat.

Articulating UX issues takes work - visual design is easy to judge quickly. If something's ugly, we get it (at least, in accordance with our own taste). On the other hand, bad experience is tougher to articulate. Users may be able to say "I don't really like using that site", but won't be able to tell you exactly why.

Unfortunately, this last point is what makes our lives so hard. Our customers will probably never email us and say "You know, you really should use inline form validation", but they will say to their friends, "Eh, that website's weird to use, go to this one instead".

Great to see other UX folks here in Nashville!

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