User Experience – Learn How Simple Tweaks Can Improve Your Website

User Experience, why its important

Websites that focus on good User Experience and UX design out performs those who leave it to chance. Even Venture backed websites can have flaws that leave users scratching their heads.

Pocket App a story of User Experience fail

I’ve been a long time user of Instapaper but have recently decided to give Pocket (formerly Read It Later) a try. Set up was fairly simple, just a username, email address, and password.

Pocket Create Account User Experience Screenshot

A couple of days after I setup my Pocket account, I decided to reformat my Mac. I really need to update my iMac but with WWDC (Apples’ World Wide Developer Conference) just a couple of weeks away, it’s not a good time to buy any Apple products. I decided to do a clean install of the OS and not restore from a backup. In doing so, all of my stored passwords were wiped clean. I then opened Safari and downloaded and installed Google’s Chrome browser.

Username or email address

I use a couple of Chrome extensions everyday so I installed Buffer and Pocket. Here’s where things got a little strange. I went to configure the Pocket extension.

Pocket Log In User Experience Screenshot

Most of the apps I use and design will allow you to either log in using a Username or Email address. This is just good UX design. Understanding that an email address is more unique than a Username, I tried logging in using my email address. Upon doing so, I was greeted with the ubiquitous Username or Password is incorrect. I then went to the Pocket website and was able to reset my password by either using my username or email address.

Pocket Homepage User Experience Screenshot

This just further confuses the user. Good User Experience (UX) design would also allow a user to log in by either email or username. This is how most apps are designed. Below is a screenshot of Evernote app’s log in screen. Notice how the user can log in by either using a username or password.

Evernote Log In User Experience Screenshot

The code used to allow a user to log in by either method is quite easy to implement and has low overhead. Besides offering a better User Experience, this also lowers the cost of supporting customers. I can’t imagine how many support tickets have been opened due to this design flaw.

Email addresses are more unique than usernames

I go back to the days of using AOL as “The Internet”. Everyone had to have a username or handle and of course there were lots of JohnSmith57489. I had hoped that we have moved  beyond usernames to log in but I guess not all of us have. Email addresses are unique, usernames aren’t. You could have a username available on one site but the same username may not be available on another. This is why good User Experience (UX) design uses your email address but will also allow for a username.

Key Takeaways

Good User Experience or UX design is not an option it is expected. When UX design is overlooked, users get frustrated and support costs go up. Simple changes to your website can dramatically increase user satisfaction.

What are your thought? Have you taken a hard look at your own website? Are there any areas that need improvement? Do you have any examples of bad UX design you would like to share? I’d love to have you share your thoughts in the comments.