Join David Hogue for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating smarter experiences, part of Applied Interaction Design.
Here we are on the detail page for the rainbow rose collection. On the original hansel and petal website. And despite the fact that we don't have very much information here, I think our customer is going to make the decision that this rose bouquet is going to be the right product for him. But there are still some changes that we can make to this page to make it more interactive and more effective. We've already discussed the content changes, but one of the things you may have noticed is that we've got multiple colors in the flower bouquet, but we've only got one, large rose image I don't have the opportunity to see a close up of these other rose colors to see if I really like them or not. So, we want to add some functionality to the page. Let's take a look at the improved version here.
Once again, we've got more content, but now you'll notice I get nice closeup views of each one of these different rose colors. So, I have a much better sense of what the product is. Now I'm more comfortable in making that purchase decision, and this is relatively simple functionality where we're simply swapping out the images and people expect this. Remember, We bring our past experience with us, we learn from those experiences, and if this site is consistant with other past experiences, then we apply what we have learned. People shop all over the internet, and in this case, they expect to be able to see alternate views.
That was their expectation. There's a couple other problems on this page, the original page, unfortunately. One of them is on the ability to select a vase. You'll notice that we've got a pair of check boxes here. I can choose a round vase or a square vase, or I could actually choose both of those vases. Now we know that's probably not the intention of this particular retailer. They want you to choose round or square. But we've used the wrong form fields and in this particular case we actually are making people stop and think. Oh, do I get both vases? Or do I have to check just one of these vases? Now it might seem like a minor thing but when we force people to slow down, pause or even stop to think about what they are supposed to do, we are interfering with their interaction. Another problem that we have here is this quantity box. Although it works as we would expect, it's unfortunately starting at zero. And if I'm on this page, and I know I'm interested in this product. Chances are I want to buy at least one of them.
So the fact that that was set to zero, in advance means I now have to go in and edit that value to turn it into 1. I want one of these bouquets, and that leads us to a discussion of smart defaults. We want to pre-populate forms or inputs with information that is known or highly likely selections. In order to save that person some time. This default information, however. It does need to be easy to override or undo in case the default isn't correct. We never want to complicate the experience, we don't want to make people work harder.
In fact, one of the most important things that we can do when we're designing highly interactive experiences is that we find ways to make the computer work for the person. We want to reduce the person's effort. Don't make the person do something that a computer can do for them. We want to avoid redundant effort. Don't ask a person for information the computer already knows, or which they've already typed in. And finally, we want to respect the person's time. Don't make them wait for something that the computer can do in the background, or don't make them take lots and lots of steps to do something that could have been done more quickly.
So, the computer doesn't mind doing this extra work. We might as well have the computer do it for the person. How can we improve this website? What can we do to modify it, so that we're doing more work for the person, and that we're being smart about the experience? Well, we've already seen that we can change the colors. We've already added content. But now we're using the correct form fields. It's a radio button, and it's pre-selected. Round may be the most popular. I don't have to choose it.
I only need to change it if I want something else. We've also pre-selected a quantity of one. I know if you're on this page, you may be interested in the product. And if you want to buy it, one is probably the most common quantity that you're going to order. So why make you change a zero to one. It might seem like these are just minor things to change, but a whole series of small changes where we use smart defaults and do the work for the person, it adds up, and we save a few seconds here and a few seconds there, and the whole experience feels easier and more efficient.
And that means people enjoy the interactions much more as well.
- Defining a customer scenario
- Improving navigation
- Working with content in grids
- Establishing a sense of place on category pages
- Exploring infinite scroll and pagination methods
- Using tooltips to deliver contextual content
- Working with light boxes and layers
- Improving form structure
- Handling errors and presenting effective error messages
- Comparing the original site to the enhanced site