The Way I Browse Online Will Never be the Same

Back in the innocent days of old, I used to be able to browse the Internet without prejudice. I could search, read, chat and shop in relative peace – barring the odd despairing howl here and there caused by various online comment sections (YouTube, I’m looking at you). But that’s all changed now.

Working alongside clients who use the Decibel Insight platform to analyze their sites in microscopic detail, I cannot help but judge the layout, ease-of-use, and user experience of every single web page I go on. The thing is: the whole web was just okay to me before, if a little annoying at times. But now that I’ve seen behind the curtain, I’ve realized that the whole show could just be so much better.

A digital diva has been born.

Right. I’m on a media site. It used to be more or less bearable to click on a tiny ‘read more’ link instead of the headline to open the article. But now it just seems wrong. My inner digital diva sneers at the site, bemused – “well you could certainly be organized and designed a little more intuitively.” Forget the news, I think to myself, let’s go shopping. But, oh, this E-Commerce store seems to have neglected to remember my login details from last time. Okay, I’ll manually type it all out and hit submit.

LOGIN WAS NOT SUCCESSFUL

“Urm. Why not?” the digital diva in me grows restless. “Was the username wrong? The password? Can I get a specific validation error here per-lease.”

I plow on without logging in. Farewell, personalized experience. Farewell, fast checkout… (and wave goodbye to my impulse buys, nameless E-commerce store). “Does the team behind this website even have an error reporting tool?” the digital diva demands. “Do they watch back recordings of user sessions to establish the flaws in the customer journey?” It appears not.

Before, this kind of thing wouldn’t get to me; but having been exposed to some of the most thorough web optimization processes in the business, my standards for an acceptable user experience online have skyrocketed. My tolerance for lousy online checkout forms, meanwhile, has plummeted.

The most effective way to summon my inner digital diva has to be when you fill out all your details, hit submit, and the page refreshes with a form validation error – and an empty form. Now you have to painstakingly type out all those details again. What a slap in the face. Web analysts, marketers, designers – analyze the performance of your forms! There’s simply no excuse for serious websites to have these kinds of issues any more. The tools to help you are out there. Use them.

The benchmark for acceptable design on the internet has been raised. If you don’t up your game, you face being left behind – by the user, and by your competition.

Jack Maden is a Marketing Executive at Decibel Insight, an award-winning customer experience analytics platform. Trusted by enterprise brands across the globe, Decibel Insight’s technology enables web analysts and optimizers to step into their customers’ shoes and understand their experiences like never before.

Copyright © 2016 Jack Maden