I regularly moderate round tables on topics of interest to CIO’s. These are closed-door sessions and participants are screened to allow us to have a frank, peer to peer discussion about critical topics. The sessions are sponsored, but the rules are clear – sponsors are expected to send a real expert in the topic and no sales pitches are allowed.
In July, I held what proved to be a very popular session on Customer Web Experience with Akamai as the sponsor. It provided Ravi Mairi, their vice- president of Web experience products who was indeed a expert in this area.
Partway through the session one of the CIO’s said he expected his development team to be able to tell good user experience from bad user experience. A number of us challenged him on this – we all have talented design and technical teams, but do they really know good user experience from bad?
I thought we should tell the team in no uncertain terms what we as CIO’s thought separated good user experience from bad user experience. It’s an area where we have a lot of expertise. I thought, ‘What would we send as a note to our team?’ And here’s what came out.
To: Web Development Team
Subject: Customer Web Experience
I was at a session today with a number of my peers and we hashed out what we thought was good and bad experience for our customers who encounter us on the Web. Here are 10 things I want you think about. There are five things I like and five things I despise.
Five things I like:
- A great site is simple and intuitive. That may sound obvious, but if it is, why are so many sites just the exact opposite? I want a site that can “read my mind”. I don’t want us to talk about OUR products or US. I want us to talk about what our customers want and need.
- Have as few clicks to get to information as humanly possible. If you design this site right, it will never take me more than three clicks to get where I want to go.
- The content must be targeted, relevant and brief. Tom Petty said it best. “Don’t bore us, get to the chorus.” If it works for a great songwriter, it will work for you. Save me the blah, blah, blah and the corporate speak. Give me the information I need – quickly.
- Site search – Forget Google search, what about your site search? I expect to be able to find what I want using your site search. And I don’t always call things what you do.
- Offer me real help when I need it. I don’t want to be imposed on, but when I do have a question, offer me help. I love it when I can do a live chat when I want to. At the very least, have some way I can contact you to ask a question. My time is valuable. When I need the answer, I need it now.
Five things I despise – and if you have them, I will leave your site and I’m not coming back.
- Pop-up surveys – Just say no. I do. Hey – here’s the straight facts. We don’t want to fill these in. And even if I wanted to help you out, I often don’t know what to say. Here’s a tip. Look at what I DO not what I say. Monitor my behaviour.
- Do not disable the back button – If the only thing that’s holding me on your site is that you’ve made it inconvenient for me to go back where I was, I am gone. While I’m typing that url or going to my history to find where I want to go back, I’m closing your site – for good.
- Mobile sites with reduced features – Really make me crazy. Look – I work on my phone, my tablet and my laptop. I want to be able to negotiate and find what I want no matter what device I’m using. If I found it on my lap top in the morning, I want to be able to check it out at night when I’m watching my kid’s soccer game.
- Multiple menus – Just give me one menu, please. Multiple menus make me crazy. Is your site too big for that? Simplify.
- Don’t make me log in – I get it. You want me to identify myself. But I have enough passwords to manage and enough places that require a log in. Don’t ask me to log in unless it’s absolutely necessary. I want my personal information to be protected but other than that, I don’t want to have to login for your convenience.
Keep these in mind and I’ll like our site better – I bet our customers will too.
How about you? What would you add to this? Love to hear from you.