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Common shopping cart mistakes

In this article, SURL revisits a study from 2002 of common e-commerce problems. They found that all of the following 2002 issues remain in 2007:

- Calling a shopping cart anything but a shopping cart or whatever is appropriate for the target users of the site's location
- Requiring users to click "Buy" instead of "Add to shopping cart"
- Giving little to no visual feedback that an item has been added to the cart
- Forcing the user to view the shopping cart every time an item is placed there
- Asking the user to buy other related items before adding an item to the cart
- Requiring a user to register before adding an item to the cart
- Requiring a user to change the quantity to zero to remove an item from the cart
- Not making it evident how to update the items in the shopping cart
- Requiring a user to scroll to find an update cart button
- Requiring a user to check out before showing the final costs including shipping and tax


  • Top Ten Mistakes of Shopping Cart Design Revisited Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - August 12, 2007

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See also: Research (105)  E-commerce (23)  Shopping Carts (8) 



Is your app an ass-kisser?

If your app was an employee, what kind of employee would it be?

- The Ass-Kisser?
- Clueless Guy?
- The Paper Hat Guy?
- Brilliant but temperamental?
- Anal-retentive Guy?
- The Show-off?
- Just-Trust-Me Guy?
- The Undecider?

People react to computers in the same way they react to other people. Thinking of applications as creatures with personalities - as Kathy Sierra does here and Alan Cooper does in his 14 principles of polite apps - can be quite rewarding.


Henrik Olsen - March 27, 2007

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See also: Misc humor (8)  Emotional design (6) 



Google applications are for dorks and geeks

According to Jeff Bonforte from Yahoo, poor usability is the main reason behind the limited adoption of Google's online services such as Gmail and Google Talk.

Google is receiving a lot of attention from "dorks and geeks." But because Google is ruled by engineers and pay little attention to usability, they haven't been successful in turning ordinary people into users of their online applications.

Yahoo has found that removing features from their online applications have made them more attractive to mainstream users.


  • Yahoo rubbishes Google usability Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - March 02, 2007 - via Usability In The News

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See also: Simplicity vs. capability (5)  Web applications (5) 



Usability improvements are worth money for non-commercial sites and intranets

According to Jakob Nielsen, it's a fallacy to believe that only commercial sites can profit from usability. The public sector can realize economic value from making people able to complete self-service transactions, non-profits from increased donations, and intranets from increased employee productivity.

Government agencies typically benefit significantly from usability improvements because they have a large base of users. In one example, Jakob estimates that a state agency could get a return-on-investment of 22,000% by fixing a basic usability problem.


  • Do Government Agencies and Non-Profits Get ROI From Usability? Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - February 12, 2007

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See also: Cost-justification and ROI (24)  Intranets (2) 



28% of internet users have tagged or categorized content online

Folksonomies are spreading. A survey from December 2006 has found that 28% of internet users in the US have tagged or categorized content online, such as photos, news stories or blog posts. On a typical day, 7% of the users say they tag or categorize online content.

Taggers are classic early adopters. They are likely to be under 40 and have higher levels of education and income.

The survey was carried out by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.


  • Report on the tagging survey Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - January 31, 2007

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See also: Navigation (56)  Information architecture (13)  Research (105) 



Part two of report on how to design web applications

Part II of the The Designer's Guide to Web Applications is out. In this 62-page report, Hagan and David Rivers examine seven of today's most innovative web applications, including:

- WebOffice
- Serenata Flowers
- Backpack
- SurveyMonkey
- Writely (now Google Docs)

The authors investigate the purpose of each application, its target users, and how each application tackles its specific design issues.

There is a free chapter of the report available.


Henrik Olsen - December 15, 2006

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See also: Books (44)  Web applications (5) 



It's the features that sell products

According to Donald Norman, features always win over simplicity. Given a choice, people will buy the product that does more, even when they realize that it is accompanied by more complexity.

"Marketing experts know that purchase decisions are influenced by feature lists, even if the buyers realize they will probably never use most of the features. Even if the features confuse more than they help."


  • Simplicity Is Highly Overrated Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - December 10, 2006

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See also: Simplicity vs. capability (5) 



Report on how to design web applications

Hagan Rivers has written a 54-page report that deconstructs some of today's most complex web applications. The report gives step-by-step guidance though the process of creating successful web application.


  • The Designer's Guide to Web Applications, Part I - Structure and Flows Open link in new window
  • Interview with Hangan Rivers about the report Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - December 07, 2006

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See also: Web applications (5)  Books (44) 



People buy the products with most features

Luke Wroblewski has looked at the dilemma of capability vs. usability. According to a Harvard Business Review article, people judge the quality of a product based on the number of features, if they have never used it before. After having used these products however, usability will start to matter more than features.

This puts product developers in a dilemma. In order to maximize initial sales, they need to add many features to their products. But in order to maximize repeat sales, they need to prioritize ease-of-use.


  • The Sweet Spot for Buying Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - November 22, 2006

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See also: Simplicity vs. capability (5)  Research (105) 



The book Getting Real

37signals have made their book Getting Real available online for free (you can still buy a PDF and now they also have a paperback).

The book is about how to build successful web-based applications the "smarter, faster, easier way" and features a short chapter on interface design.


  • The book Getting Real Open link in new window

Henrik Olsen - November 05, 2006

Permanent link Comments (1)

See also: The design process (17)  Web applications (5)  Books (44)  Online books (5) 

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