Design in the details

If you haven’t already, go read Jared Spool’s telling of the “$300 million dollar button”:

“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?”

Fun article, right? Now check out Greg Linden’s account of Marissa Mayer’s Web 2.0 talk from 2006, and his description of correlating tests at Amazon:

“After a bit of looking, Marissa explained that they found an uncontrolled variable. The page with 10 results took .4 seconds to generate. The page with 30 results took .9 seconds.

Half a second delay caused a 20% drop in traffic. Half a second delay killed user satisfaction.”

These are both a bit old, at least in internet time. However they both drive home an important point. The user experience decisions you make have an impact on your bottom line. Even the tiny, seemingly inconsequential ones.

Just because you are not Google or Amazon with bajillions of users doesn’t make this any less relevant. In fact, it is all the more so. Google and Amazon can afford to lose a few customers – you may not be in so fortunate a position.

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