Once she's wrestled her way in, she immediately discovers
there are no aisles for her to walk through to look at
their stuff, no overhead signs for her quickly to
locate anything, no helpful (or even rude) information
desk people, no smiling sales staff, not even an obvious
cashier. In fact, she realizes that from her point of view
there is absolutely no rhyme or reason to this store
at all. How much do you think the novelty and graphics and
music matter now? How long do you think she's going to
hang around? How much do you think she’s going to
can hear you hooting. What a way to run a business - to
build a store that actively discourages shopping!
The bozos who thought that place up should be hung out to
dry, right? Now, consider this: in the online world, the
functional equivalent to your store is the Graphical
User Interface, or GUI - pronounced "gooey."
Whenever I hear this term, I think of flypaper and how
it's hardly something you want your prospects to get stuck
on. You don't want your clients fighting with your
"store" - you want them actively engaged in
shopping, not just satisfied but delighted by the
way you offer your products.
your GUI has a very simple role to play: it allows humans
to interact with you, to view your products, to make
selections and complete a purchase. Easily. Painlessly.
Happily. An effective GUI bridges all the gaps between you
and your shoppers by helping them focus on the content
of your website. A good GUI should be seamless,
transparent, completely unobtrusive. A super interface
will help build the proper customer experience,
reinforce your brand, and increase your sales. A bad one
will do just the opposite.
GUI spells ruin. If a user has to work hard to puzzle
through your high-tech system or obscure processes, she's
not shopping. And every time you add another gooey layer
that frustrates her interest and motivation, she's that
much less inclined to "stick" with you! It’s
easier to find a competitor, just a click away, who
puts her interests first.
many folks (you know who I mean…) who are responsible
for e-commerce design on the web assume that constructing
an interface is nothing more than creating distinctive
glamour and eye-catching cleverness. And that's a major
reason lots of e-businesses fail. One study discovered
that users currently spend 1-1/2 hours of every 5 hours on
the web simply waiting for pages to download! They spend
at least another 10% of that 5 hours searching for items
on a page, and more than another 10% filling out forms.
Get real! No shopper is going to invest that kind of time
for an average purchase!
GUI plays a simple role, but designing a GUI that’s
simple for your shopper isn't a simple matter. Many
disciplines go into the mix:
analyze the kind of information that needs to be
communicated and generate logical pathways to form the
foundation of the site.
give the structure a coherent visual look and feel that
fits within the overall brand positioning strategy while
(ideally) striving to enhance usability.
Human-factors and usability
question accessibility and usability issues at every
step of the way, conducting extensive user testing to
weed out any potential problems.
with experience in good, old-fashioned N2N (nose to
nose) sales as well as in consumer psychology,
marketing, merchandising, color theory, and other key
issues further refine and improve the effectiveness
of the interface.
of work, but your business won’t work without it. Lots
of studies and lots of red ink are proving that fancy
graphics, audio, 3-D, and too-clever layout features don’t
make your site sticky. They make it slow, distracting, and
confusing. Anything that gets in the way of a quick,
easy, and safe buying experience turns customers off.
So design your GUI from the customer's point of view,
not the developer’s or the designer’s, and you’ll
create a flypaper that has them "sticking" for
all the right reasons!
click here for a printable version of this whole article
Click Away from Goodbye
I see a website that sucks, I can hear the background
banter of its developers and programmers. “So it's not
completely obvious,” they’re saying. “It's not that
hard. Let them figure it out. They'll get used to
it." These dudes sure put a lot of faith in the
patience, motivation and resiliency of their visitors!
you've heard me rant about all those design pitfalls that
spell death to an e-commerce website. But let's take a
broader view. I want to paint a picture that helps you
understand the stuff your average prospect goes through
even before they land on your website, so you'll see
even more clearly why designing a delightful experience
for them is so critical to your sales. You see, Joe
and Josephine Consumer are also Joe and Josephine
suppose you head out in your car to go shopping. You know
what you want to buy. You know this neat new store
you heard about actually has the item in stock. You think
it's gonna be a cakewalk. But along the way you get stuck
in a really snarly traffic jam. It's a blistering hot day.
Your car overheats. It takes hours to fix the problem.
Finally you're back on the road. Only now you discover
there's a detour ahead. You thought you followed all the
signs, so how come you're lost? Another hour of wandering
and eventually you locate the store. Naturally, you have
to park on the other side of the planet. Guess what kind
of mood you are in. Guess what's going to happen if that
neat new store does even the tiniest thing wrong.
there? I thought so. Now, here's the cyberspace equivalent
for most (let me repeat, most) folks out
out a personal computer.
Plug this in where? Start what? What's a task bar? I don't
see any windows on my screen!
What's an ISP? What do I really need? Why can't I just
plug it in and go?
to use e-mail.
Okay … I get the bit about not needing stamps …
to use a browser.
Omigod, if I click will I cause the Fall of Western
Civilization? Whew, I’m there but… how the heck do I
to use navigation, hyperlinks, frames and forms.
Go where …do what … how? How come this flashes at me?
Hey, it changes color! Where the heck am I? You want me to
give you this information? Why? You just fed the
whole form back to me. What did I do wrong?
What am I letting onto my computer? I go where to install?
to use plug-ins.
I need what to do this? Says who? That's what they think
(said while clicking off to the next competitor)!
about pop-up boxes and drop-down menus.
Whoa, where did this come from? What am I supposed to do?
Why won't it stay on my screen?
cryptic error messages.
It killed my computer! Error 404? Get me out of here!
legitimate business from scams.
Who am I to trust when there aren't any faces?
after negotiating all these hurdles (and maybe a vodka on
the rocks or two) do they arrive on your site. Give them any
reason to leave, and they will.
better appreciation of what you’re up against now? You
can't do anything about the frustrations Joe and Josephine
have endured before they find you. But once you've finally
hooked up, you need to be especially
kind to them. The whole trick is in making Mr. and Ms. Basic-User
- not Mr. and Ms. Techno-Whiz - want to stay
and want to buy from you! Make it worth their
while to have figured out everything it took to get to
your site. And remember: while you’re (always) one click
away from goodbye, your competitor, who has taken
the time and made the effort to create a smooth,
simple, safe and delightful experience for them, is
just one click away from hello.