1 Good Reason – Social Marketing

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Sending The Wrong Message

June 10th, 2008 · 2 Comments

Sometimes when I visit a website I have to imagine what were you thinking? And I know that I’ve done it myself on occasion. Made that foolish blunder that was done with the best of intentions. That thing where when you look back it made sense every step of the way, but now looking back it’s flawed train of logic to have arrived where you are.

Today’s example: Plurk.com’s My Account Page.

As an intrepid web explorer I fill out numerous forms on sites. And usually at the bottom of a form you’ll find the SUBMIT button, or the much cooler “Do It!” or another variation on the theme. So imagine my surprise when I mistakenly clicked the button at the bottom of this form on Plurk:

A little background Plurk is the hot new social networking site that has all of the social (media) butterflies a twitter (sorry for the inside joke)! It offers a different interface and some fun new features when compared to Twitter. What you don’t Twitter? That’s just fine because todays blog is about presenting ideas and managing their presentation to the audience.

I have no doubt that the people over at Plurk are smart. And I’m sure they care very much about what they are doing. But I think in their rush to get the product out the door, up and running as quickly as possible they didn’t give as careful consideration to how people use their website, as they might have. I can imagine the conversation going something like this:

Designer #1 “We need some way for people to quit our service. I hate when you sign up for something and there’s no simple, easy to find way to leave the service. And that will help us, because when people delete their accounts we don’t have to store their info anymore. It will make the technology run better.”

Designer #2 “Seems like a good idea. How about we put it on the Manage Account page?”

Designer #1 “Ok, that’s easy to find. But we should put it all the way at the bottom. We don’t want people to see it too soon.”

Designer #3 “Hey, why don’t you make the button to delete my account Red so that people will see that it’s different than the others?”

Designer #2 “Good Idea”

Designer #1 “And instead of a simple message let’s make it say exactly what deleting will do.”

So following a process something like this outlined above we now have a BIG RED BUTTON TELLING CUSTOMERS TO LEAVE. I believe that most Marketing people would recommend against that. And the real kicker is it’s in the place that’s usually reserved for a SUBMIT, or SAVE button would be.

How could this be avoided? Invite some people in for donuts and ask them to try it out while you watch them. Pay people $10 in the deli on the corner to do it. Try anything to have someone try your site out first.

This is the oldest and cheapest way to do user interface testing. Just ask some people to try it and watch them while they use your stuff. You will learn fantastic things about your interface.

If you want to learn about good interface design, go look at the top 10 online stores. Study the way they do things. Because you can guarantee that they have studied it. Look at eBay, Amazon, NetFlix.

What do you think you can do better?

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Related Reasons:

  1. You don’t need to always BE ON MESSAGE
  2. Flogging & Astroturfing isn’t wrong, it’s advertising.
  3. Let Me Decide How Your Website Looks

Tags: Reasons For Net Marketing

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Steve Woodruff // Jun 10, 2008 at 8:38 am

    Boy, that’s dumb. Like, really DUMB! I will now press “Submit” under this Comment box, after making sure it does NOT say, “Do you want to delete Chris Kieff? This action cannot be undone.”

  • 2 Kate Carruthers // Jun 12, 2008 at 3:25 am


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