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!