I’ve recently taken delivery of a new company car and the inboard electronics seemed to suggest I could connect up my mobile phone using Bluetooth.
The steering wheel and centre console where festooned with phone-type buttons and the display had a tantalising option on the line below the cursor – so I rotated the knob, pushed the button and punched all the console keys.
No response. Even after consulting the inch-thick manual I was no wiser.
In frustration I rang the lease company to ask if it was an option we hadn’t purchased – or whether I was just being stupid? They simply said that the function was standard, avoiding any comment on my competency.
Slightly irritated, I returned to the car with my Sales Director. He reached in and pulled the knob horizontally, backwards. There were no arrows, engravings, marks, signs or anything to suggest that it would work like this. But sure enough, the phone connected.
The point of this tale, you ask? Well, I was prepared to persevere but Internet shoppers will give up and go to the competition when they’re faced with a confusing design.
We often have clients asking us to incorporate all kinds of hoops in the shopping cart, usually because the marketing department wants to collect customer information. If the point of the site is to collect data then design it to do that. But if you want to make sales, design it to be simple, intuitive and user-friendly. Create a site that promotes sales, not prevents them.