The story of how I almost threw my brand-new computer out the window (but why I now want it to have my babies)
A lesson on website usability and customer experience
Big news. HUGE news:
I got a new computer.
And in addition to being Totally Life-Changing, it also reinforced something that I’m especially passionate about: website usability.
But first thing’s first, let’s do a little myth busting.
(Or is it, myth reinforcing? I’ll let you decide.)
You see, humans don’t like change.
According to human behaviour experts, we like safe. Reliable. Routine. Expected.
“Meh,” I thought to myself two weeks ago. “I’m a Sagittarius. I thrive on change.”
And so, when a choice had to be made – upgrade my current Apple Macbook, buy a new Macbook Pro or invest in something different – I chose the path less travelled.
“Let’s get the HP.” I told my partner, when he presented me with the options.
So I’d been using a Mac for the last ten years. So all of my other devices were Apple branded. Who cared? Change was good. When we looked at the specs, the HP was stronger, faster, cheaper and better in every way. AND IT WAS TOUCHSCREEN. I was makin’ the switch.
Cue thousands of dollars vanishing from my bank account and the arrival of a shiny, silver mini-beast just two days later.
My Instagram peeps and I named it Harry Potter and voila …
It was love at first sight.*
It was beautiful. It was sleek.
It was a total fricken pain in the ass.
Why my new HP almost went on an adventure (out the window)
My old Mac? Simple. Easy. Efficient. Intuitive. It made my choices for me.
The new HP? It wanted me to decide on every single little thing. Set up was excruciating. It was like ordering a subway sandwich and being asked to CHOOSE EVERY SINGLE TOPPING.
I hated it.
I fought – with it, and my partner, who was just trying to help me figure out how to make it work – and almost threw it (the HP, not my partner) out the window. Seriously.
I wanted to return it, swap it for a Mac and pretend we’d never even met.
Then my partner patiently suggested I was being a brat – he may or may not have been correct – and I decided to simmer down the attitude and give the HP a proper shot. I retired my Mac and let the HP run my day.
The first week went a little something like this:
Day one: I consider writing to HP to tell them they should include a mouth guard and complimentary dental care for all the teeth-clenching their computers make you do.
Day two: I scream: “YOU ARE RUINING MY LIFE!” and my neighbour comes over to check I’m okay. I tell her my computer is making me think too hard.
Day three: Windows does something the Mac operating system NEVER would have done and for a brief moment I kinda get it. Why it would do it that way. It sort of makes sense.
Day four: … The HP surprises me again. In a good way. I almost send an email without attaching a doc, and Harry says, rather politely “Excuse me, dumbass, I think you forgot to attach the document you said you’d already attached.” I attach the document and cease calling Harry creative but offensive profanities.
Day five: I play Overwatch (something I couldn’t have ever done on my Mac) and Harry barely sweats. I decide, yeah, alright, we’re friends.
Day six: Mac, who?
Day seven: HAVE MY BABIES, NEVER LEAVE ME, I WON’T EVER SURVIVE WITHOUT YOU.
I know. Pretty big transformation, huh?
And it made me think about how I’d almost given up. How I’d almost missed out on Harry’s brilliance, because I’d thrown him in the ‘too hard’ basket to begin with.
Then I wondered … how often does this exact same thing happen in everyday life?
The truth about what your customers really want from you
We’re all short on time, short on patience and packed to the rafters with expectations. Everything in our world must be quick, convenient and – if it wants a five-star review on the internet – over-deliver on every single promise it makes. And, gosh darnit, it needs to be EASY too.
Including, but not limited to … our websites.
Your website is the most important customer attraction and conversion tool you have online.
Which brings me to the moral of our story:
When you’re designing (or redesigning, or tweaking) your website … Make it super user-friendly.
Please. Pretty please.
Because if your website is complex, overwhelming or clunky, people won’t spend a week of their precious time figuring it out. They’ll leave. And never come back. Taking their business – and their wallets – elsewhere.
So sure, make it pretty. Make it sleek. Make it powerful.
But MAKE IT EASY TO USE.
Here are some tips to get you started:
- On your home page, clearly state who you are, what you do, who you do it for and why it matters.
- Hire a copywriter to ensure your web copy woos, compels and sells.
- Make your menu bar simple, direct and easy to understand. Save the creativity for your copy and images. If your audience can’t understand your website at a glance, they’ll leave.
- Give your audience clear actions to take.
- Make the emotional transition from one page to another (for example from your home page to your about page) absolutely seamless.
- Don’t make your audience think too hard. Seriously. Give them headings, sub-headings, big buttons and lists so your content is easy to read and digest.
- Always consider your customer experience and how you want your audience to feel throughout their online journey with you.
Because while I adore Harry now, I COULD have adored him a week earlier if he hadn’t been so darn tricky to set-up and get to know.
So, don’t be like Harry, guys.
Keep it simple. Make it easy. And don’t make your audience think too hard … their minds are busy enough as it is.
Note for anyone looking for a new computer: Explore HP’s range. No, this isn’t a sponsored post. HP doesn’t even know I exist. But despite Harry and I’s, er, teething issues … I now think the world of him. I wrote this article on Harry and I run my business on Harry. And he (and credit where credit is due, Windows) absolutely nails it.