Caring About Customers
You can’t tell a user that you care about them. Well I suppose you could try, but that’d make for a strange (and, creepy) web experience. However, what you can do is SHOW a user that you care about them. Here are some of our favorite methods to accomplish that:
Points of Assurance
You know those little helpful design elements situated near calls to action or on the periphery of a page? Things like ‘Always free shipping!’, and ‘Shop with confidence on our secure server’ – these are points of assurance, and their purpose is to help a user feel comfortable accomplishing their task. The secret is to understand your user well enough to know the perfect place and time to expose them. But make sure you do, they answer common questions that users have before they know they have them.
Beautiful Tooltips and Clever Error Handling
Forms and user-input are often overlooked sections of a site. There’s a school of thought that believes if a user starts down the road through the forms, they’re likely going to finish – so why spend a lot of time on the forms? Well, having witnessed many users get hung up on things that you wouldn’t expect, I call that school of thought into question. A form is a conversation with your user, and is one of the most essential areas for helpful design cues, deep thought, user research, and testing. It’s a time when users are asked for their personal information, and the most essential time to keep them comfortable. If they mess up, don’t alarm them – ease them into their errors in a friendly way. Don’t tell them what they did wrong, show them where they went wrong and help them understand how to fix it. Present your tooltips and errors with animation that eases in, and try to do it with friendly colors. Red is an awesome color, but typically means ‘You’ve done something wrong’, and you don’t need it. You can accomplish the same thing by softly pointing out what needs attention. Try not to make them feel like the blame is on them. They’ll appreciate it.
Personify your users/customers, think about them. Try to understand everything you can about them. Use personas. View your forms as a conversation with the user instead of a task they have to plow through. Do these things and your users may not thank you, but they’ll truly enjoy the experience you’re providing to them and accomplish their tasks.