Brand Experience

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I discovered a strange anomaly today on the US Postal Service’s website, and had to share.

For business reasons, I had to research how to get an account to pay the post office for processing a business reply mail card.

I then got further down the page and found the forms to use in order to enroll in the program. Great.

The first form is a PDF. It is not set up so that complete it online, which is aggravating – although I guess it doesn’t really matter, because as you can see under the steps, I have to submit this IN THE ACTUAL MAIL. Now, I know this is the post office, but I just changed my personal address online without issue. I am stunned that this requires forms sent in the mail.

However, it got weirder when I clicked on the second link for the other form I had to complete to apply for an account.

The nice PDF from before is gone, replaced with this really unfortunate form. In addition, the only way to manage this is to fill it in online and then print it out and mail it in, with the previous form.

  1. Why are the fonts so many different sizes?
  2. The row numbers fields do not need to populate like this. It should offer one line, with an option to keep adding lines as necessary.
  3. Why isn’t this a PDF like the other form?

I then scrolled down and saw this:

This form hasn’t been updated since April of 2012. That explains a lot.

This is obviously a huge miss by the USPS. I am certain that fewer and fewer companies have needs for pre-paid mailings, but this is still a service that is offered, and should be dragged into slightly more modern times.

There are obviously major issues with inconsistency in how this process is designed. Here’s how I think it could go:

  1. One form encompassing all information they need to create a CAPS account.
  2. If they insist on the customer printing and mailing said form, it should be generating a PDF of the completed form, in a format that is easy to read and process by whoever is receiving the form and processing it at USPS.
  3. Or, they could just let people submit their applications online, which seems like a much smoother and faster option.

Let me know how you would fix this antiquated system on Twitter.

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Click here for all posts in the Brand Experience Project.

I am a new homeowner, and planning to move into said house comes along with a LOT of shopping. It sounds fun, and mostly is, but I have seen some unfortunate e-commerce shopping experiences. One of them is a quick one that I saw recently on AllModern.com.

Look at this beautiful area rug! I am into it, and I just had some hardwood floors refinished so I need to find a beautiful way to protect them a bit. However, then I clicked “select rug size” and saw this menu:

There are no sizes. There are no sizes on the size menu!

This appears to be an issue on the site in general, because this rug’s page also has the same problem.

I can’t imagine I am the first person to run into this issue! I truly love that rug and would like to purchase it, but I do need to know more about the size options. Luckily, it should be a fairly quick fix for AllModern.com to implement.

*UPDATE*

Within one day of sharing this blog post with AllModern.com on Twitter, they have fixed this issue on their website! I love how responsive they were.

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Click here for all posts in the Brand Experience Project.

Universal Standard is a brand that I do like, but don’t LOVE. I appreciate their mission to dress all bodies in size 0-40, because that isn’t happening enough, but I do wish that there were more items available and that they had a bit more variety in style.

A further exploration of that is for another time. For now, I wanted to briefly explore the size dropdown menu on Universal Standard product pages.

Here is a typical product page. This time for these cute Sava jeans.

On the right are the typical buttons, for selecting your size and then to add the item to your cart.

Here’s where I get confused. How is this the choice that they have made regarding the size dropdown? With so many sizes available, why has no effort been made to abbreviate the effort to find a larger size? There is clearly plenty of space to create columns in order to avoid this.

I was especially surprised to see this clunky presentation of size choices when I saw this “quick shop” feature on a page with a number of products:

This DEFINITELY needs to be replicated on the individual product page. It’s much cleaner and more concise than the incredibly long, space-wasting dropdown that is currently on the website.

Let me know how you would improve this dropdown on Twitter or in the comments below.

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DogTuff.com Design Issues | Brand Experience Project

by Jamie Sanford on March 22, 2019

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My parents have a newish puppy, and when I visited recently, became acutely aware that the toughest toys ever are necessary for even a 12-pound Boston Terrier. More interest in finding toys that will take longer for him to destroy led me to DogTuff.com.

I have some thoughts based on the screenshot above.

  • Logo
    • I find it a bit hard to read and wish it was bigger. I do understand that with the other choices made in the header that there is not much room to increase logo size.
  • Header Offers
    • I absolutely understand the reasoning behind putting information about free shipping and a discount in the header so that it appears on each page, but there is a LOT of information here, and it might be too much for someone to stop and read instead of skipping to the shopping part.
  • Need Help/Phone Number
    • If the phone number is in white font over a black background, why have the messaging above it in grey? It seems like a weird time to suddenly be subtle.
  • ‘Top Picks” and “Hot” Flags
    • Something else I think is crowding the situation and isn’t necessary. I think that if a customer has made it to a website called DogTuff.com, they probably have an idea of why they are visiting. There is already so much happening in this header, I think the labels could be sacrificed and the customers will still be able to navigate without issue.
  • Show (number) Dropdown
    • How is there not an option to show all?! If not show all, there should be a review of the average number of items per category to determine the best options for how many items to view per page. I can attest from years of experience in e-commerce to knowing that many people prefer an option to view all results.

Here’s another screenshot to discuss another dropdown:

  • “Sort By” Dropdown
    • What does “position” mean here? There is absolutely no indication, and it is the default option on this main page for “chew toys.”
    • I am also not sure that Product Name and Color are best used as sorting tools in a dropdown, I would rather see a filter on the left side to choose a color or a product type.
    • Price is an obvious choice here, but I would like to see options for “Price Low to High” or “Price High to Low” instead of relying on the small arrow to the right for the customer to control that function.

That’s all I have on this for now. I love this website – toys that take your dog longer than 30 minutes to eviscerate are good! I am, however, generally always interested in creating the most value in terms of customer experience with the least possible amount of clutter on the screen.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments or tweet me!

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CoverGirl Foundation Color Issues | Product Review

by Jamie Sanford on January 29, 2019

Check out all of my Product Picks here. If you want to see all of the products I’ve reviewed (not just the ones I like), click here for Reviews.

I’m adding this to the product review category, but it could easily be in the Brand Experience category.

I’ve been a fan of the CoverGirl 3-in-1 Foundation for years. I have repeatedly tried more high-end foundations to see if there is a better option, but I haven’t found one yet that I enjoy as much as the CoverGirl 3-in-1.

I recently decided to try another drugstore foundation after RawBeautyKristi raved about the CoverGirl Vitalist Healthy Elixir foundation. She looks great, so obviously I need to try it out.

So I quickly head to Amazon, find that they have it in Ivory, and purchase it right away. A few days later, my new foundation arrived and I tried it during my next makeup application.

My first impressions were great. The application and coverage were nice, and I liked the outcome. I find myself not always wanting 100% coverage these days, and this let my skin show through a bit, which was well-received. I then wore it again mixed with the Fenty Pro Filt’r Foundation, as I still struggle with the Fenty foundation being a bit dry on my skin. Everything was fine, or so I thought.

Cut to a regular day at the office, but a day in which I’m wearing a v-neck top. It turns out that the major downside of using a lighted mirror to apply my makeup is that I don’t get a wider look at myself before I leave my house in the morning. It turns out that this Vitalist Healthy Elixir foundation, in the color Ivory, is not anything close to the Ivory shade I have been using for years, made by the same company! Having not done a side-by-side test, I had no idea.

These are both Ivory. How disappointing. I am surprised that a company as large as CoverGirl would not keep consistency in the colors of their skin products. Especially when you are naming them! These products do have numbers that aren’t the same, but the format of the numbers is very different, so I’m not sure that seeing the different numbers but the same shade name would have made me think twice.

Once I noticed the error, I went back online to look further into the issue, and found a LOT of product reviews mentioning the same issues that I had, that the Ivory shade was not light enough, and that there is not a lighter option in this particular product. So it’s not just an issue for me, but many customers who wanted it to work, and like me, seem to really enjoy the product itself.

Ultimately, I do think that companies that manufacture makeup should commit to matching shades to their names, across all products. I’ll take responsibility for not attempting to find out some more about this product before buying it, but it still seems ridiculous.

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