user experience

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OK, this is a two-fold post, as I take issue with the website, which is my usual, but this time I add in frustration over the actual product design.

The first issue is with the website. I received an Instagram ad for Bird Collective and I went to their site to look at their offerings. I immediately liked the state birding t-shirts, but soon found a big issue.

The top 3 shirts in the screenshot below have a hero image showing the BACK of the shirt! The 3 shirts below have images showing the front.

This is incredibly confusing and inconsistent. A clothing company showing different angles of the same type of product is breaking a cardinal rule of product presentation.

OK, so onto the actual shirts. Why is Bird Collective showing the backs of some shirts and the fronts of others?

Because those cute state-themed shirts have this on the front:


Why.

Why does anyone make a cool shirt and put the cool stuff on the back? Bird people are INTO birds, so I don’t think they would take issue with the reason you would buy this shirt being on the front.

In addition, “New Jersey Birding” is not a group you can join, that isn’t a logo that would make sense. It’s just there.

Also, what is the additional cost of printing on both sides? I imagine it would have been cheaper to produce tees only printed on the front.

This is a huge miss. If anyone reading this knows why this would be done, please comment or tweet me and let me know.

In conclusion, here are my recommendations for Bird Collective.

  • Find a way to sell the state-themed shirts that is more up-front about the fact that the majority of the design is on the back.
    • Create a hero image that indicates that the main design is on the back
  • Rethink the design of the state-themed shirts for future production. Identify why the design was created that way to begin with. The other shirts on the site are not printed on multiple sides so switching the state-themed shirts over for future production runs should be considered.

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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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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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I have written a previous blog post about an Mpix email, where I wasn’t happy about a tracking number that wasn’t linked.

I am happy to be back with a positive review of the typical “you put something in your cart, please come back and buy it” email. However, the content of this email is what made me think it was worthy of a blog post.

Instead of a basic message of “there’s something in your cart,” this is a reiteration of Mpix’s message of quality process and product. While the message is undoubtedly a sales pitch, it is delivered in such a way that I don’t mind the effort to convince me to finish my purchase. A short and sweet description of why Mpix is great, their fast service and quality products.

I haven’t yet finished my purchase but will undoubtedly do so.

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