Thursday, January 15, 2009

The $300 Million Button

One button, big difference ...

"How Changing a Button Increased a Site's Annual Revenues by $300 Million

It's hard to imagine a form that could be simpler: two fields, two buttons, and one link. Yet, it turns out this form was preventing customers from purchasing products from a major e-commerce site, to the tune of $300,000,000 a year. What was even worse: the designers of the site had no clue there was even a problem.

The form was simple. The fields were Email Address and Password. The buttons were Login and Register. The link was Forgot Password. It was the login form for the site. It's a form users encounter all the time. How could they have problems with it?

The problem wasn't as much about the form's layout as it was where the form lived. Users would encounter it after they filled their shopping cart with products they wanted to purchase and pressed the Checkout button. It came before they could actually enter the information to pay for the product.

The team saw the form as enabling repeat customers to purchase faster. First-time purchasers wouldn't mind the extra effort of registering because, after all, they will come back for more and they'll appreciate the expediency in subsequent purchases. Everybody wins, right?

"I'm Not Here To Be In a Relationship"

We conducted usability tests with people who needed to buy products from the site. We asked them to bring their shopping lists and we gave them the money to make the purchases. All they needed to do was complete the purchase.

We were wrong about the first-time shoppers. They did mind registering. They resented having to register when they encountered the page. As one shopper told us, "I'm not here to enter into a relationship. I just want to buy something."

Some first-time shoppers couldn't remember if it was their first time, becoming frustrated as each common email and password combination failed. We were surprised how much they resisted registering.

Without even knowing what was involved in registration, all the users that clicked on the button did so with a sense of despair. Many vocalized how the retailer only wanted their information to pester them with marketing messages they didn't want. Some imagined other nefarious purposes of the obvious attempt to invade privacy. (In reality, the site asked nothing during registration that it didn't need to complete the purchase: name, shipping address, billing address, and payment information.)"    (Continued via UIE, Jared Spool, Functioning Form)    [Usability Resources]

1 Comments:

Blogger Patrick said...

I think registration should be transparent. Some fields do have to be filled in to make a purchase, when done this information could be used to make an id and let the system create a password for you transparently.
On the end of the order form some checkbox like :
[x] I want my information stored for shopping in the future.

When stored your email adress could send you the generated id and the generated password.
Only an email field has to be added to the purchase form.

This makes it transparent and helps the user

4:54 AM  

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