Satisfaction robot humaine

Satisfaction: the difference between robots and humans

June 25, 2013

My mother bought a Mac!

I recently helped my mother buy a computer on the Apple website. The experience was almost perfect. The site is well organized and features all the information you need to compare different systems. There are large photos of each product, with complete specifications to help you find the best computer for your needs. On top of that, the configuration utility is tops, offering clear explanations of each option. An excellent example of polite design! My mother didn’t even need me!

Apple has some work to do

But you will notice that I said the experience was “almost” perfect. At the payment stage, the billing didn’t indicate the final amount with taxes. My mother was being asked to authorize payment for an unknown amount. Kind of like signing a blank cheque! She asked me why it worked this way. Having worked at Apple for a short time, I answered what I always answered when asked this question, “That’s just how the system works.”

My mother – a user of the site, the one who clicks the “buy” button – doesn’t care about the system. If there’s a technical issue, she won’t know about it, doesn’t understand it and, honestly, doesn’t even want to know. She just wants to see her final total before authorizing the transaction.

Mistakes not to make

This situation perfectly illustrates three of the seven major mistakes that an e-commerce site can make. Here’s the full list:

  • Purchase process is not reassuring
  • Poorly explained goals and tasks
  • Complex transaction procedures
  • Weak information architecture
  • Inconsistency between different areas of the site
  • Lack of information required to complete the purchase.
  • Poor management of errors

It’s important to mention that practically all of these mistakes can be avoided if the user is considered as a human being and not as a robot. Do you know how to tell the difference? Here’s a presentation I gave on the subject during the February 28 MTL eCommerce Meetup.

And you, do you have any examples of e-commerce sites who commit these seven mistakes?