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Devil is in details (and in dead ends)

Sometimes happens, especially in huge projects, that the UX of secondary pages is a bit neglected, and you end up in having page that are coded at the very last minute by developers.

Sometimes is not even a page, it's just a particular scenario which wasn't considered/available during the design, and the information is not shared in the team.

Unfortunately, if a page/step is reachable by the users it means that it will be reached by the users,  either if we design it or not.

Also, these step/pages are often critical.

They're warning about an error, they're reporting an issue, a problem. User here is stressed and it should't be left alone.

I am talking about password/username retrieval, payment failed, etc.

So it's crucial that we design all the type of:

  • warnings
  • failures
  • errors

that the user can find in the system, even if they're not part of the main journey.

They could seem details, but they're not.

However, when the page is not so hidden, and the scenario is not so rare, there are no excuses.

Exploring the flows must be exhaustive and complete, in order to not fall in some bad dead ends like the one which follows

The bad example of TFL

Transport for London tagline" Every journey matters".

Apparently the digital one a bit less, though.

It didn't take even so many steps - just 3 click from the main page - to be presented with a "wall page".

No explanations, CTAs or even suggestions. I was furious.

I was trying to sign in and the process we're talking about is the password retrieval.

I couldn't move forward in my flow, and even moving backward or starting again didn't give me any better chances.

But I desperately needed to sign in!

This is confusing, annoying and it causes stress.

Especially because I need to manage my account and I cannot in any way!

Let's have a look at the screens.

Step 1. Login

Oyster card dedicated page with area for the login.

It's the 2016 are we still using asterisk * to highlight mandatory fields?

I mean, Log in fields?

Step 2. Forgotten password

Step 3. The wall!

Well, thank you TFL.

I got that. But that's it?

And what about the "..."?

Why cannot you reset my password?

What should I do now?

There's a form, a chat, human being to call to explain the situation?

I was completely lost.

But the problem wasn't in this page (well, not only in this page), but on each step

The issue was that the user ID was changed since the last time I logged in, so instead of being your Oyster number, my username was actually my email.

So instead of providing the user with obvious note, like the mandatory fields, the UX here should have taken care of:

- explaining in the log in area about the ID change. Even a little tooltip saying "Don't you log in since a while? Better read this", or something like that.

- recognising that I was trying to log in with the old username, so even an error message warning me about an email and not a number would have saved the situation.

- repeting all in the forgotten password page

- providing of any sort of help or explaining the alternative way to reset the password

Conclusion

Don't underestimate any flows. Even the less important, even if you design them at the end, be sure you do.

Keep yourself posted about the latest changes in the project.

Educate your team to manage the missing UX.

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