‘Bad’ UX for the right reasons

This might be a stretched metaphor but today’s extended efforts and long stairwell down to the beach meant relative seclusion as the boys and I paddled. Hafting to work for it made it all the more special.

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Secret beach. New fav. Calm and hard to get to.

A post shared by Nick Allen (@nickwallen) on

All to often we look for a slick, fast, simple, intuitive user experience on our websites.

The trouble is, for consultative or B2B websites, that you’re looking for qualified leads.

When you’re after a specific client and trying to distinguish yourself from the masses, having a simple user experience to register interest could in fact do you a disfavour. Unqualified leads are frustrating. Incorrectly routed leads cause delays and miss-categorised enquiries can also bog down a company’s success. For many websites, that “contact us” form is the heart and achilles heel all in one.

Still, the distinction should be made between qualifying criteria and a slick user interface. The last few days I’ve been left frustrated by recruitment sites that are not mobile optimised. Further frustration was felt by one popular system that would not let me upload a file with non alpha characters in the name. Nickallencv worked, Nick-Allen-CV did not, but was easy to read.

Nor could I just link to my LinkedIn profile or to my role specific application on Dropbox. Still, as a consequence I quadruple checked the doc before submitting (a good UX filter).

Functionally, a user experience should be as simplistic as possible. But with a little investigation there’s no reason we cannot simplify the qualification of leads.

If you’re working with c suite, high income, any clients, your site needs to be optimised for mobile and tablet use. Period! Once clear of creating a device agnostic experience, how about using what you know?

Implicit personalisation of a website and analytics profiles means that even after a user had browsed just a half dozen pages, you should already have a notion of their intent and profile. If they’ve come from a search engine query, heck, then you’re already half way there!

With B2C this means tailoring “related items” and understanding what they’re after, featuring similar items beside product descriptions etc. It means converting them to transactions and nurturing add-ons or up-sells.

For B2B it means feeding them more relevant content and related services. Then, once convinced, at the point of ‘contacting us’ this means: suggesting the auto-completion of form fields, bundling services they may be interested in and routing the lead accordingly.

As mentioned before, it’s key to UN-optimise your site for the wrong clients. The sweet spot is dropping the wrong leads and nurturing the right ones…

Of course for ecommerce websites the art with a large array of products is to balance explicit filter selections, with implicit recommendations. Apple fans are apple fans so there’s little reason to offer them a Blackberry. But they might be convinced to switch to a Samsung and would definitely like to know about the best cases and most used apps as additional items.

Finding the right balance of visual cues and prompts is the UX experts forte, knowing which user to optimise for and prioritising what upgrade to make first is the strength of a good Product Owner/Digital Strategist.

2 thoughts on “‘Bad’ UX for the right reasons

  1. There’s a certain irony in the fact that, with this post, I was able to start following your blog. I normally read this blog after seeing your Tweet about it. When I have tried to follow before, the WordPress login box pops up, but I’ve been unable to proceed. The reason is two-fold. 1) I don’t remember my WordPress password 2) the login box pops up with the menu bars disabled. That last item means that I can’t access my password manager, In other words, the UX of the login process prevents me from logging in.

    Given the subject matter today, I decided to open the password utility in a different window (something that is difficult on a mobile device) and look it up.

    Thanks for sharing your insight!

    1. Thank Dan. I use Lastpass across all my devices to try an alleviate some or this frustration. It is hard when the hardware or website interferes. Yet rewarding, when software can crack the frustrations. Wherever my next role is I promise to iron out all cross platform, cross browser, cross Oceanic issues. Have a great Sunday!

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