Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Sticky, sticky, bounce, bounce: How to stop pissing off your users
Good morning, Class.
Today we're going to discuss sticky, sticky, bounce, bounce, which is the technical term for describing what happens to a user when they are trying to use your website and cannot because the directions are so awful. They stick, because you have something they want, but then they bounce, because they can’t figure out how to get it.
Let’s give examples of sticky, sticky, bounce, bounce:
1. When your customer, who has money to spend, inputs billing and shipping information, receives an error code, but the instructions don’t explain which field is problematic. The customer gets frustrated, throws stuff at the computer, breaks it, and can’t order your product.
2. Your user, who wants to sign up for a youth basketball league, can’t figure out how to sign up because the directions are so convoluted. So he doesn’t, his daughter never learns to play basketball and the WNBA falls apart. (Shhh…this almost happened, but was quickly rectified by some patient wife who has a lot of website experience. Don’t even try to figure out who this is.)
3. Your patient, who has severe coronary artery disease, needs to make an appointment, but can’t because the web site doesn’t have a phone number to call. The ending is not good—but you knew that already.
How to avoid bouncing users
Point is, sticky, sticky, bounce, bounce can be avoided by writing good content AND ALSO…wait for it…by actually going through the steps your users go through. This used to be called testing or Quality Assurance. Now I’m not sure anyone does it anymore.
Um..is this going to be on the test?
Now some might say this has nothing to do with Content Strategy. And they’re right…sort of. Because a Content Strategist’s responsibility could end with just giving the content to the developers and then singing while skipping through the rain, of course. However, a Content Strategist also needs to look at analytics to figure out why products might not be shipping out at the rate of 79.8 units per second. And, usually analytics reports is where you really get a lovely view of sticky, sticky, bounce, bounce. So Content Strategists of the world—make sure you’ve looked at the directions on a system—that’s content too.
Join in! I’m sure you have tons of examples of sticky, sticky, bounce, bounce. You don’t even have to raise your hands.