Things the user can actually do versus things the product can do

I bought a cell phone recently that I loathe. It is a complete brick that somehow tips past convergence of convenience to the land of this-damn-thing-sucks. And I am a moderately tech savvy, right? But if your phone weights so much you have to worry about your belt falling then you are less likely to wear it. A different post on that….

Checking in with the headrush blog creating passionate users led me to the graphic on the right (from their blog). Interestingly the post starts off about SLR cameras and I HAVE been able to get past the P mode on my camera into some fun stuff. By reading magazines, books, surfing flickr and thinking "how did they do that??" I still need to take a class.

My fear on this topic? My fear is that our Tendenci clients are not getting the value they could from our product because of usability and training. We have a ton of help files etc, but are they getting to the right people at the right time? Hmmmm.

Humans in the Machine – NYT understands

The daily NYT email highlights the HUMAN FACTORS of the web site redesign. Not the classic definition of human factors suggesting "taking the human as a physical presence into account" but the "show you what the other humans think". The kind of human factors that emphasize the wisdom of crowds. What Live Web2.0 is about.

Redesign of

Some of the changes and new features
you’ll see are a refreshed look, streamlined navigation, expanded use of video
and other multimedia and better ways to see what other readers are looking at,
searching for and talking about.

Emphasis added by me. The full explanation of the user interface changes and the logic behind them is worth a read for UI geeks.

Lands End – Figure How to Buy Something

FigureouthowtobuythisThis is an actual full length screen shot from Land’s End.  As a follow up to a previous post on the Grok conversion newsletter I found I had to post this as well.

I literally could NOT find a "buy now" or "purchase" or "add to cart" button anywhere on the detailed view page of the Lands End site.  It might be there, but I can’t see it.  I got to the page from a quick link from a catalog, so my bet is they want me to call so they can upsell me.  But I don’t want to be upsold, I just want to buy it.

Finally I found the "Catalog Quick Order" link on the lower left and was able to make a purchase by retyping in my code.  But it took work, and making users jump through hoops can’t be good for your conversion rate.

While making this post I went back to the page, I wanted to be sure that I wasn’t missing anything obvious.  I was missing something, but I don’t think it is obvious.  There is a small text link that says "INSTRUCTIONS: Click color for larger view. Click size to select item."  See it?  Right above the sizes?  I know why I didn’t click them, because I wanted white and there is no white swatch of color even though the main image pictures a white robe.

In Land’s End’s defense, perhaps I should take such a critical eye at our own user interfaces more often.