The thoughts, feelings and general awesomeness of Paul Wheatley.

Gotta love personalised email marketing.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks @VirtusaCorp for taking the time to get to know me.

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Is Bilbo Baggins contract in The Hobbit legally binding? | The Verge

Well, i am very glad someone took the time to look into this…

Is Bilbo Baggins contract in The Hobbit legally binding? | The Verge.

Favourite line…

unusually, the company can decide on its own arbitrator in the event of any disputes, and it’s unclear whether the laws of The Shire or the laws of the Dwarven Kingdom apply to the contract

Um, you know its made up, yeah?

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MailChimp Annual Report

MailChimp Annual Report.

Love this, awesome infographic about the history of Mailchimp

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I want to give you my money, at least make it easy (pt2 – O2)

The second in my series of ‘Just make it easy for me to pay you’ posts.

This ones a quick one, O2.

Every month i go onto their site wanting to pay my bill and every month i click around for a good 5mins before i remember that they, for some un-user centric way, hide the pay function.

Here is the payment pages (with my personal information blacked for obvious reasons)…

The O2 payment page with the 'Make Payment' text hidden in the body text.

The pay link is in the text that I (and i am sure i am not alone) never read.  Why would you?  You pay this every month, you are only interested in the total at the bottom.  Thats where your eyes immediately go to, put the ‘PAY’ button as close to that as possible, simple!

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I want to give you my money, at least make it easy (pt1 – Pond5)

Pauls Rules of UX 34: If a customer is holding their credit card wanting to give you money, make it as easy as humanly possible for them to achieve that!

While creating my podcasts recently i came across Pond5.com.  A site packed full of images, videos and (most importantly to me) sound effects and music.

I very quickly found what i was looking for, i found the interface (though not accessible on a iOS device) very intuitive and pleasant to use.

However, their checkout process is another matter all together.  I find it extremely hard to believe Pond5 have done _any_ User Experience testing on their checkout process, there are so many ‘sticky spoons‘ i needed to pull them all together in one place, so here we go…

So, i have decided to purchase some stock media form Pond5.
I have chosen the item, added to basket and clicked ‘checkout’ all fairly normal so far.

But then, the dreaded “You must be a member to proceed”…

Pond 5 shopping baskets are showing different amounts

There is no way to purchase from Pond5 without becoming or already being a ‘member’ (or at least no way that i could see). Perhaps, because of copyright or some other reason, Pond5 needs your account details, but there is nothing explaining that.

This is a huge User Experience doorslam!

So i either leave and find my stock assets else where, for the purposes of this review, lets say we carry on.

Also, if you look up the top of this page, it claims my basket is empty, however by basket has 1 item according to the bottom basket, are these different baskets? are they someone else’s baskets, or is it a bug?

So, i click on create account.

Standard login form, Email, Username, Password, repeat password.

And it does provide some quite nice feedback

However, i find the wording a little anoying… ‘Sign me up’ and ‘Why join Pond5?’

Because you gave me no choice, thats why!?

So i click Sign me up, ready to purchase my stock assets…

So wait, not only do i _need_ to sign up, i now have to go and find my email, open it, find your email (that may or may not have been blocked by my Spam filter) then “confirm my account”.

Pond5, explain to me why this is necessary?

I WANT TO GIVE YOU MONEY! STOP MAKING IT SO DIFFICULT?!

So i push on…

After a couple of seconds it redirects me _back_ to the login page
Minor thing here, but you know i have just registered! Why even show the ‘Not a member yet?’ section, it could create confusion!

Anyway, i pop in my Username & Password, hoping that the next screen i see is the payment pages to allow me to leave this horrendous user experience, alas no.

I am now presented with this page…

What appears to be the 'My Account' page with the baskets now both showing 1 item

What do i do now? Both baskets now have contents, as mentioned before only 1 had contents, am i now purchasing twice as much or has the bug ‘fixed’ itself?

With some trepidation i click ‘Checkout’… again!

Finally, i get a somewhat familiar ‘checkout’ process

Hooray! A normal checkout process!

Now,as it happens i have a promo code, in the interests of not sharing and getting in any bother for or by the company who distributed these, i have masked it out…

I click in the input field and type in the code…

Form field watermark does not disapear

Awesome, the field’s watermark text has not auto disappeared. super.

Let’s try that again, this time deleting the watermark text and clicking ‘Redeem’

A small box appears in the top right saying code accepted but my price has not changed, the 25% discount claims to have been applied but the price hasn’t changed!

Again, i would regularly have dropped off at this point, but i will push on!

Now, this next one is a pet peeve of mine…

Every credit card expiry and start date is always in the format of MM/YY why do companies insist in using the MMM/YYYY format in Credit/Debit card entry pages?

Form field for Credit Card input with JULY 2012 selected instead of 07/12

Don’t make me think! – I know its not a big deal to work out that 07/16 is JUL/2016 but if you just had drop downs with MM/YY there wouldn’t even be a pause.

Anyway, i click ‘Checkout’.

Based on the progress indicator on the checkout process i am expecting the next page to contain a link to download my asset…

Checkout process shows 3 steps, the next one should the the point of download

No prizes for guessing that is not the case…

Screen shot of the next page in the process "Thank you, please go to downloads to complete"

Another click!

Finally i can download my asset!

There is so much un-necessary nonsense in this purchase process, it could be slimmed down significantly and encourage far more purchases!

Pond5, get it sorted!

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Get drunk, it makes you a renaissance man!

Not quite this kind of Renaissance Man but closeSo, a couple of weeks ago i attended ‘Future of web design’ in London. A fantastic 3 day event filled with fantastic talks and networking sessions. Due to the distance and the associated costs for my current employer we split the 2 day conference (the first day was workshops) between 3 members of our team; i attended the 1st day.

I enjoyed every one of the talks i attended even though some were not directly related to my career path such as ‘Let jQuery Rock Your World’ by the very talented Matt Gifford.

Side note;
during Matt’s talk, i became his 1,000th follower, i was offered something from his pockets, I declined.

And this leads me on nicely to the purpose of this post; saying this talk was not directly related to my career path is the wrong way to look at things. I feel strongly that if working in an industry like the Internet (among others) you shouldn’t think or yourself as a designer or a developer or digital marketer, you should have a more cross discipline knowledge base but possess a Gold star in a particular facet of that knowledge. To use an American University phrase; you should have a career ‘major’ with many, many minors.

Now, I am not saying that you, the developer, should head off for 4 years at Art College and become the next Jonny Ive. But what i am saying is don’t live in your respective disciplines silo. Head out into the light, meet up with Designers, UX guys, marketers, SEO ninjas and (if you have the time to search middle earth) back end devs. Head along to conferences and attend talks that are somewhat out of your comfort zone. Like with the JQuery talk mentioned at the top of this post, I learned something, nothing about implementing JQuery I can assure you, but I did learn about some of the things you can and cannot (or more accurately; should and should not) do with the tool. These learning’s will stop me adding in silly and badly thought out suggestions for functionality in my next prototype or wireframe.

It also allows you to learn the pain points that different Web Development disciplines in suffer from. This was touched on in the closing Keynote from Remy Sharp entitled “Dr Weblove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Photoshop and Love Designers”. Remy’s entire talk focused on Designers and Developers getting together hugging and generally sharing the experience as opposed to chucking pretty PSD’s over the wall into the ‘dev camp’ and expecting them to implement. Remy highlighted the perfect example for the point I am trying to make, A designer creates a beautiful, likable, PSD of how the clients new website is going to look, she finishes, pops it in a folder on the network and leaves, job done. The following week, the designer opens the folder, opens the PSD and realises that there are 4 buttons on the page with no ‘hover states’ or ‘onClick states’ so either the designer needs to come back and do more work or the dev breaks open the Crayolas and creates his interpretation of what the button should look like.

Now, some could argue that it is the designers problem as they should have thought of that, some would argue that it should have been in the brief and some would argue that we shouldn’t have hover states (for the purposes of this post I am going to ignore the later). But what I am trying to say is that it’s none of the above. No one is at fault, if the designers and developers in this scenario had either went to a conference or read a few articles around each others discipline and/or had a few beers together at the start of the project the problem would not have been fixed, but the size of the problem could have been reduced.

What i am trying to say is, inevitably problems and mistakes are going to happen in projects but if all teams have a rough understanding of what the others do, projects run smoother.

So, let’s get drunk together and make the internet more awesome!

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Dealotto – a User Experience review

This Thursday, i happened across a company named Dealotto (http://dealotto.com). They put different images, icon sets, etc… up for sale in a sort of lottery type thing with a set top price. e.g. this icon set could be yours for $5-$25. Some sort of automagical process happens and you end up paying $19 (varies) for the icon set. I am guessing the theory is some people will pay too much, some too little but it all balances out for the designer who was selling it. Anyway, thats not the point.

I used the service and tweeted “Hmmm, I love the design of @Dealotto but the registration form raises a few #ux flags for me (dealotto.com/register/)…” I then followed that up with “cont… would be interested to know what the exit rate of that page was #ux”. To my surprise 5hrs 39mins later @Dealotto replied with “@paulwheatley Thanks, any tips / suggestions for improvements?”.

So finally after my many, many moans on Twitter about #ux problems, a company has contacted me back and asked for my suggestions around what might be done. So i guess, i should put my money where my mouth is, huh?

Let me start by saying, I like the service they offer and I think their site is a lovely design, the following are simply the ‘flags’ I referred to in my tweet. Everything i suggest here should be throughly AB or MVT tested and not just taken as read! (to be read as “please don’t sue me if this doesn’t work or has a negative impact”).  Equally, i would be interested to know if Dealotto try any of my suggestions and what impact it has.

To begin with, when you land on the register page on a 720×1040 display (a not uncommon resolution), this is what you see…
Dealotto's registration page with User Experience Suggestions

Lots of stuff taking up room on the page, the customer has already clicked through 3 links to get here (Home, Login, Register) you are making them work.  Drop the image and move the lower part of the page up.

As far as I can see, you cannot get to the register page without having went through the login page, and clicked on ‘Register’

Dealotto's registration page with Login and Registration UX issues marked up

Why are there 3 large area of (albeit pretty) typography telling the user to ‘Signup for a free account.” and “Login or Register”? They have already decided to do this.

In the top bar the customer can see 3 icons with login beside them

No UX markup on this image

What are these icons?  I am on the register page, they are next to a login button, can I login using my facebook and twitter account(s)?… No, these appear to be links to Dealotto’s Facebook and Twitter accounts.  Why are they beside the Login box.

Also, while we are here, what is this?

User Experience Markup noted on this image of Facebook and Twitter images

Does it refresh the page? it’s with the login box, does it have something to do with that?

No, it tweets a link to the current Dealotto offer (assuming you are logged into your Twitter account).  um, thanks.

Okay, so now onto the part of the page you are needing here, the register box…

On the left side is the login box on the right is the registration form

On the left is the login box, as with above, i cannot see a way to get to this page without having seen the login page and selecting to ‘Register’ why are you presenting the login box to me again?

The login box’s presence here also shows a little issue with the difference in styles between the 2 forms here.  The login box is standard form fields, the Register form is given the look of a postcard.

It is not immediately obvious that you need to click on the dotted line.  At first you would be forgiven for thinking you need to print it out and post in.  Generally forms should look like forms, ‘Don’t Make Me Think!’ the title of Steve Krug‘s book and a basic usability principal.  If the customer stops, even for a second, you have to make sure that the design change that you implemented to force them to think was worth the possible drop off at this key stage.

Next, the button or ‘Call to action’…

Clearly an inactive button, no feedback for the user

It looks ‘greyed out’ or inactive when compared to the bold use of purple in the header…

Example of uses of Purple on other parts of the Dealotto site.

When i first used this form i stopped after filling in my details and checked them over believing that i had done something wrong as i expected the buttons color to show an active state to allow me to proceed, it did not.

No user experience markup on this image

Again, don’t make the customer pause and wonder what they did wrong, it encourages drop off.

Finally and these two points are nothing to do with the registration process, its just things i wanted to point out.

Considering my above points around not using form fields when (in my opinion) they are required. The site goes on to use form fields when you wouldn’t expect them.

On the ‘Account’ page, you are given ‘Invite URLs’ to share with your friends to gain discounts from future deals, but the URLs to share are in form fields…

The sharing URL box is a form field.

And in the payment method, it is clear that you accept PayPal, no problems there.  But why are you showing Google then scoring it out?

Google is scored out and is positioned beside PayPal (which is active)

When you hover over Google a tool tip appears…

Text on image reads "Sorry, we no longer support Google Checkout as a payment option"

It now explains that you are no longer accepting Google Checkout but really, what is the benefit to this? The location of this negative message is a bit too ‘front and center’ for me, but I understand that this may have been implemented due to a high volume of calls/emails asking if you supported Google Checkout.

I wouldn’t suggest either of these would give much, if any, drop off. Just pointing them out.

So thats it, happy to do a more in depth review if you want, simply DM me.

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The Gamer Show – new episode

The Gamer Show - My Dad’s SlovakianMy Dad’s Slovakian

Chis discovers that Mindjack is the best game EVER, Paul creates test chambers, and Sam eats a whole box of Fig rolls.

Have a listen here…

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Paul is now Podcasting, and about gaming no less!

So, after years of being told that “I like the sound of my own voice” I decided to test that theory and head on over to The British Tech Network.

To my shock, they agreed to let my random banter on their network?!

And here it is…

Sam’s first and last podcast

Paul, Chis and Sam discuss the news and upcoming releases in the world of gaming. This week Sam alienates all Mario Fans, Chis gets comfortable and Paul still hasn’t completed Arkham City. Have a listen here…

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