I spent the day at Infusionsoft’s Customer Tour Conference. It was interesting to see some of the more advanced things that are possible using their product as well as listening to how some people are using it to market and sell their products. One of the things said during the day was in regards to sequences and moving user’s through a series of steps and goals, but which applies quite heavily to programming, which was:
“Build your process assuming the user won’t do what you want them to do.”
I found this quite a succinct quote and an excellent rule of thumb for when designing pages. Once you reach a certain size, your clout allows you the freedom to get away with less than stellar design choices. For instance, personally I think the Amazon site is a mess, and this was re-affirmed to me recently while trying to show someone how to go about ordering things from it.
When it comes to Amazon their reputation means a user is more likely to jump through hoops to complete their order, but for a never heard of site, any signs of hassle and they’ll be out the window and onto the next (Unless your offering is just so amazing they can’t resist). News and unheard of sites that are successful, “reduced friction” for their users. They seamless move users from one stage of a process to the next without having to make them think or accidentally moving them onto the wrong path. A good site needs to be more than a set of CRUD pages. It needs to be an experience that helps the user achieve what they want, in the clearest way possible.