by usability guru Jared Spool:
It’s hard to imagine a form that could be simpler: two fields, two buttons, and one link. Yet, it turns out this form was preventing customers from purchasing products from a major e-commerce site, to the tune of $300,000,000 a year. What was even worse: the designers of the site had no clue there was even a problem.
The form was simple. The fields were Email Address and Password. The buttons were Login andRegister. The link was Forgot Password. It was the login form for the site. It’s a form users encounter all the time. How could they have problems with it?
The problem wasn’t as much about the form’s layout as it was where the form lived. Users would encounter it after they filled their shopping cart with products they wanted to purchase and pressed the Checkout button. It came before they could actually enter the information to pay for the product.
The team saw the form as enabling repeat customers to purchase faster. First-time purchasers wouldn’t mind the extra effort of registering because, after all, they will come back for more and they’ll appreciate the expediency in subsequent purchases. Everybody wins, right?
We conducted usability tests with people who needed to buy products from the site. We asked them to bring their shopping lists and we gave them the money to make the purchases. All they needed to do was complete the purchase.
We were wrong about the first-time shoppers. They did mind registering. They resented having to register when they encountered the page. As one shopper told us, “I’m not here to enter into a relationship. I just want to buy something.”