Don’t forget it’s a User that uses your User Interface not you or your designer

In this day and age we keep hearing the terms User Experience and User Interface (UX/UI). These are terms given to different aspects of how we interact as humans with a product whether it be physical or digital. For a detailed definition have a look at this easy to understand blog:-

For the purposes of this blog I am really referring to User Interface Design (UI) since I am really only focused on the digital interfaces.

I know companies spend millions of dollars on their e-commerce website or their app or their smart booth but when it comes to the user interaction many of them fail. Why is this? How can you spend so much money and still get it wrong?

The answer to these questions really is quite simple. The designers and product managers are not users. They design what they think a user wants and do not design what they want as if they were a user. The result is a solution that whilst it looks amazing, simply does not function for the user.

A few examples of these I recently found.

On an e-commerce site recently I was searching for a gift and found exactly what I wanted. I added it to my cart and went to checkout. When I clicked on payment the site then told me the product was out of stock. RULE : If a product is out of stock you can show it but indicate the status and don’t allow people to add to cart. Better still ask the user if they would like to be informed when the product is back in stock.

On another e-commerce site I was looking for products to be delivered to someone. The system shows all options and only after you request delivery does it tell you whether the product is available for delivery to your location. RULE : If you are a delivery based platform ask the user for the delivery address first and then show them items they can get delivered.

Another site I went to recently I wanted to search for something. The search bar was at the top of the screen (where it should be) but it was greyed out and not clickable. It took a while for me to realise that at the bottom of the screen there was a cookies message which was in the same colour as the website and not at all obvious. Only after clicking the accept all cookies did the search box become usable. RULE : If you are going to block your site from functioning because of a pop up box then make it obvious.

Finally an e-commerce experience on another site was when I was trying to pay for something. The credit card payment box appeared and I dutifully completed the number, name, address etc but the submit payment button was not active. It took a long time to realise that the credit card number box on the right in the same box had the expiry and ccv fields which had disappeared once I entered the credit card number. RULE : When receiving payments make it easy. Tell the user what they have yet to enter and don’t leave it to them to work out.

All of the above could have been resolved if the designer had gone through the process or asked some “target customers” to do it themselves. It is not hard to eliminate these UI issues but you have to have engaged designers who act like users and have a test set of people willing to bullet proof

test your user interface. Many of the above issues will lead to users leaving your platform and not purchasing, but more concerning is they will tell others what a bad experience they had.