Category Archives: User Experience

How to make online shopping difficult

PromoD never stops surprising me.

If there is ONE THING that you need to have if you sell clothes online, is a colour/size filter.

It generally always is on the left navigation bar, allowing the shopper to refine results based on a desired colour, or most importantly, on a desired size.

It’s pretty much the reason why shopping for clothes online is easier than in real shops: sorting your choices by colour, size or category takes much less effort than browing a real shop, crowded with people, with missing sizes, and so on.

Plus, you can see all you need, in one page, at a glance.

Now, PromoD, why would you hide your filter in the one place nobody would ever expect to find it?

Screen Shot 2015-08-06 at 9.32.35 AM

Conventions are so useful, especially online. Why do UX designers think that moving a filter from the left navigation bar to the middle of the page, where nobody can see it, is a good idea?

Someone pleas help me understand that.


Disclaimer: The postings on this site are my own and do not represent the postings, strategies or opinions of the company I work for.

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Ryanair, their calendar and an inverted logic user experience

How many times have you had to select or enter your date of birth on a website in your life?

I bet hundreds, probably thousands of times.

It’s a very basic function, which is generally proposed with a basic calendar interface, in which you select the day, month, and year of birth (in Europe, that’s the logic) – or the month, day and year of birth (in the US, the logic is different).

I would have never, ever in my life, imagined that such a basic, standard, and common concept as DD, MM, YYYY, would have been inverted. 

Ryanair, in fact, when you check in online, will ask you to select your date of birth by first selecting a year, then a month, and then a day.


In Usability, there’s a rule. It’s a simple rule. It says: “don’t make the user think”.

“If we find something that works, we stick to it. Once we find something that works — no matter how badly — we tend not to look for a better way. We’ll use a better way if we stumble across one, but we seldom look for one.”

Which means just one thing: do not put unnecessary effort on the customer. If since forever, the logic behind selecting a date has always been DD, MM, YYYY – or MM, DD, YYYY, depending on which part of the world you live in – then why change it?

If there’s a good reason behind this decision, I’d be happy to know it!

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A bigger search box can change your life!

A member of the Google Search Team shows us how just by making the search box bigger the User Experience improved. Customers were searching more, and getting more answers to their questions.

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Localization, where are thou?

IMG_2529 IMG_2530

Evernote 3

I don’t know if everybody gets annoyed at bad localizations like me. Bad localization AND poor grammar are those things that really really make me mad. Especially in digital products. I mean: you are clearly renown, you have funds, you have the resources to make your app stand out of the crowd, you decide to localize it in N languages and you do it this bad?


What is the ultimate target of localization if not making the unfamiliar familiar?

And what is less familiar than a word in your own language with a wrong letter? I tell ya. Nothing.

A word in your own language with a wrong spelling creates that sense of étrangement – as we say in rhetoric. That is, it makes everything to the reader a little strange

How can language make such a difference in the perceived value of a digital product (app, e-commerce, etc)?

Well, by making everything in the product familiar to the buyer. A localized content is what makes the customer feel at home, comfortable and trustworthy. These feelings are – guess what – the best sediment for a fertile and long-term customer engagement.

In other words: words – allow me the repetition – are the best way to cultivate your customers’ trust.

Some examples of things that let me down about Evernote, one of my favourite apps.

Italian people will understand.

1) “In atteSSa della pagina”

2) “CoLLazione”

3) “I mie Pasti”

4) “Tocca per ritagliare le ricette e salvarNE nell’account Evernote”.

Evernote: how can i trust you if you don’t even spell the words in my language properly? 

What do I have to think about you?

1) That you use an automatic translator (bad, bad, bad).

2) That your italian localization guy does not speak italian (bad, bad, bad).

3) That you don’t really care about Italian customers. Then, why doing the localization?

Apart from this, I love your app 🙂

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What makes your customers leave?

My dear readers, I can’t write much because of a temporary problem involving my right hand and a tendon, therefore I’ll just share with you an amazing Infographic powered by Kissmetrics!


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The e-commerce Drama

The e-commerce drama







Did you study literature at school or university?

I did, and I loved it, but that was in my previous non-geek life.

Have you ever heard of the dramatic structure? That sequence of events that compose a play or a drama, a comedy or a tragedy.

The dear old Aristotle, for instance, viewed the plot structure as divided into three parts: protasis, epitasis and catastrophe. Horace, instead, stated in his Ars Poetica that each dramatic play should have a 5-act structure.

For reasons of convenience, we will use Gustav Freytag’s study of the 5-act dramatic structure:  Die Technik des Dramas. Freytag stated that a drama is divided into five parts, or acts, which some refer to as a dramatic arc: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and dénouement, (resolution ou catastrophe).

Yes, but how is this related to the online customer journey?

Well, this is the fun part!

1) EXPOSITION: background information needed to properly understand the story –> HOME PAGE: here is who we are, this is what we sell, here is the context in which we act, this is our identity.

2) RISING ACTION: you have a target but some conflicts arise –> CATEGORY PAGE: you want to find a v-neck warm and cosy black coat. You filter the coats macro category by inserting your preferences: it has to be a size 12, it has to be black, and it has to be long. Gosh, no results. You broaden your search criteria: ok, I’ll be ok if it’s a size 12 and black, but not long. You think about it and …

3) CLIMAX:  the turning point, for the better or the worse, in the protagonist’s affairs –> ADD TO CART: yes, you thought about it, you sent the product page’s link to your friend on Skype and she agrees that this is the right coat for you. Good choice! The product page details say this is the last item left: you feel blessed by the God of the World Wide Web and have doubts no more! You do THE action, you click on the add to cart button.

4) FALLING ACTION (or ANTI-CLIMAX): it might contain a moment of final suspense, during which the final outcome is in doubt. –> CHECKOUT: umpf, you have to create an account. Umpf, there are so many fields to fill in, but yes, it’s so worth it that you do it fast. Umpf, credit card number. Where is the credit card? Will it be safe? Gosh, it’s 300£, is it a wise expense? At the end of the day the sales will start just in a couple of months. Do I really need this? Oh, whatever, it’s been a hard week, I worked hard, I deserve this coat. I need it. It’s so cold outside …

5) DÉNOUEMENT (RESOLUTION): The issues are resolved, creating for the character a sense of catharsis, all the tensions are released. –> DELIVERY: Oh my God this coat is amazing. It is amazing!  The delivery was super fast, and the fabric is so soft and it fits me perfectly! I’m so happy I spent only 300£ for it. My friends are going to love it, I can’t wait to wear it 🙂

6) DÉNOUEMENT (CATASTROPHE): The bitter end. The story ends with the death of the character, a sense of injustice and unfairness affects everything. –> FAULTY/WRONG ITEM:  Oh my God this coat is amazing. It is amazing. The delivery was super fast, and the fabric is so soft and it fits me perfectly! Wait … what is this? Is this a hole? Is this a hole? Jaysus, (the character is Irish) this is a big, huge, irreparable hole! Right under the arm’s seam! Noooo this is so unfair! I spent £300 for this … I even removed the label and washed it. They are never going to refund it … I am never ever shopping online again!


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Customer Experience Best Practices:

shoescribeUnlike its older brother, – the multibrand shoes platform for shoes-aholics – offers an amazing service in terms of Customer Experience. Why? Let’s say a few words on each step of the shoescribe customer journey.

Home Page:

The home page is fresh, tidy, beautiful and functional. The fancy editorial style makes it a very well optimised page with lots of good content and a very clear category organization. In this home page there is space for everything that really matters: the product, of course, the editorial content, some marketing & call to actions (but not too much) the help & info area in the footer. The main characteristic, though, it’s that there is evidence of a very good quantity of quality content! We love it! Let’s move forward to the category page!

Category Page:

A poem. A clean, beautiful and functional category page with an amazing feature: the filter is in the header. The filter, a super functional designer, size, heel size and colour filter, is not anymore on the side bar but is clearly visible on the top of the page. It is expandable and WORKS perfectly! You can easily remove every filter and make one step back without any fear of losing the query.

Product Page:

it’s clean and functional but it might be better. How? SEO descriptions (missing) and product review. But there is a lot of free space in the page layout, so I guess these features shall be developed one day.

Customer Care page:

It’s the part I love most! Maybe because the Customer Care area’s project was managed by one of my best friends and former colleagues, sure. But also because it’ extremely user friendly, simple and straightforward: the most frequent and important subjects are there, easy to read and use. And I Love the communication style! It’s friendly and really warms up the relationship with customers!

Customer Happiness Index: why not …


During one of my macro-economy exams at the University I learned about the Index of Genuine Happiness. That concept impressed me a lot. It was calculated by taking into consideration education, medical services, life expectancy, etc.

I’m about to say three words that will annoy many serious customer experience professionals: Customer Happiness Index.

Why not, I say.

How to measure it?

Well, with Social Media Integration CRM has dramatically changed (and will keep changing even more in the future).

So, which data will be relevant when willing to measure your Customers Happiness Index?


*Genuine Happiness Index – Demographic per country: ie. = official social statistics about Genuine Happiness Index of females from 15 to 25 in Italy.

* Purchase behaviour = orders per customer, average order value, purchase activity throughout the year, promotional response (is the customer sensitive to brand awareness or promotional newsletters?)

* Number of friends on facebook? (clearly not taking for granted that the more, the merrier. I would probably think the opposite).

* Online presence?

Many data could be retrieved, used, crossed and put together to create different customer personas.

What comes next is easy. Once you know who you’re talking to, you need to make sure that – whatever it is that you’re trying to say – you speak their very own language.

It’s not just about marketing. This could be used to do some useful marketing, the one that aims at encountering people’s needs.

But maybe I’m a little bit too idealistic.

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5 things retailers should know when starting their eCommerce (and by the way, cake is not a colour!)

Rainbow Cake

Your eCommerce consultants are not crazy when they ask you for more product information to display in the product page.

They are not crazy when they ask you for Search Engine Optimised descriptions (which means that no, you cannot describe the shoes colour as “cake”: who would search for that? Maybe a hungry shoes-addicted? Anyway, probably not your customer persona, unless you sell edible shoes).

The internet can be a very cold place. Nobody says hello when you get into the shop, all those banners and ads constantly asking you to do things, that sliding navigations that makes you lose any sense of direction (yes, this very last thing is about’s new release: sorry guys, I think the average customer will get lost at the second click). No people in the shop (or maybe there are, but you can’t see them). The customer feels lonely. And nobody wants to feel lonely!

Anyway, here are the 5 things retailers should know when starting their eCommerce:

1) It’s NOT like running retail shop. It might sound obvious, but you will have to face a paradigm switch. Deal with it.

2) Since it’s not like running a retail shop, you need to warm it up! Use a warm and reassuring communication style. Invest in communication!

3) Reduce noise. Make sure your customers can make their way to the product page without too many clicks. Put a nice and functional search box (make sure it works, please!) and a clear and semantically logical category tree.

4) Once they are in the product page, please, give them all the information they might ask! Use SEO product descriptions (so, again, cake is not a colour), suggest pairings.If you want to make them feel less lonely and reassured about the product, insert product reviews. As we know, they work as virtual plazas, warm up the atmosphere and reduce the time your customers need to decide to buy. Which is good (so why aren’t you doing this NOW?).

5) Once they got to the checkout page make it smooth and quick. Breadcrumb on the top, no more data than those strictly needed, clear navigation, no distraction. The only “distracting” element can be the customer service phone well displayed on the top of the page: your customers will feel reassured and will checkout in less time.

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