error messages that speak to me

Zoinks!

I love websites that speak with a human voice, as the ClueTrain Manifesto says:

[we] communicate in language that is natural, open, honest, direct, funny and often shocking. Whether explaining or complaining, joking or serious, the human voice is unmistakably genuine. It can’t be faked.

I love even more error messages like this one that make it ever so clear that there are people behind this website – both through the voice and explicitly.

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“I didn’t want them to think I was being smart” (user 15 mins after completing user testing session)

A friend of mine just finished being a ‘user’ for a testing company. They were doing final usability testing before launching a redesign of a well known online share trading website.

They’d asked him in because he’s been using this website every day for a few years now. It was the only reason he was interested in the internet. He struggles doing a search on Google, but he’s a power user of this site.

At the end of the user testing he emerged frustrated and a little angry.

He hated the new design, but because he’s so experienced with the tasks that he was asked to perform, he would have tested quite well.

When it came to the questionnaire, he said that he didn’t really tell them what he thought because he didn’t want them to think he was being ‘smart’.

‘I gave them the benefit of the doubt that they knew what they were doing and that they were making good decisions’.

Oh dear.

User Centred Design and Leg Waxing – An Instructional Analogy

wax

I went to a new waxing place on Saturday, and I’m never going back there again. Ever.

Even though they’re half the price of my old salon. There is nothing that would entice me back there again.

I had my legs and eyebrows waxed. I’ve been thinking about the importance of user centred design ever since.

Let me start by saying that I emerged unharmed (there are pots of hot wax involved, personal safety shouldn’t necessarily be assumed!). And I emerged more aware of the power of user experience for branding, loyalty, word of mouth and, ultimately – revenue.

So, what happened, and what on earth does a leg wax have to do with user experience online?

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honestly Telstra! (BigBlog *almost* launches)

Big Blog - coming soon

Can someone explain to me why Australia’s biggest Telco, and one of Australia’s largest companies, thinks that its appropriate to launch their brand new blogging service…. when the service is not yet available?

Why didn’t they at least bother designing this page? Maybe telling me *when* it would be launched. Maybe getting my email address and sending me a little note when its up?

Perhaps they could have cleaned out all the dodgy test content before sending the site public?

And I certainly hope someone is going to take a good hard look at that ‘BigBlog Community page’. An alphabetical index does not a ‘Community’ make….

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