Tag Archives: user experience

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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The Smartest “how to order” breadcrumb EVER

From http://www.momandpopcorn.com/ – Check it out! Great Usability, Great Shop, Lovely Vintage Graphics!

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Give me error messages! I want error messages!

Again on contact forms: Is there anything more annoying than not being able to fill in a form and getting an error symbol without any explanations?

To all the web designers out there: error symbols are NOT self explaining. Please add a short explanation, so that your user is able to understand what is going wrong. Here I have to reproach WordPress for inspiring me about this: I was trying to upload a video and just couldn’t manage to complete the task because there was absolutely no clue in the form about what the problem really was. The url format? The link? How am I supposed to know that? Take a look:


Also, please try to order the fields control hierarchically; which means, If I’m filling a form and maybe I am already registered, it is pointless to block me 2 times with error messages such as: “password too short” or “invalid date format” and then, after all has been sorted out, tell me “email already registered”. If you know that my email is already registered, say it in the very first moment!

The internet should be a better place …

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The Anatomy of the Perfect Contact Form

Very interesting article on Shoot the hippo about contact forms: The Anatomy of the Perfect Contact Form

The suggestions stress how important it is to guide the customer in every online process without being too invasive.

Personally, I think most of the suggestions here are useful, the only “con” I find is that I would probably reduce the background noise of this page: it seems to me a little bit too “busy”.

But again, the breadcrumb is perfect, the form validation is working fine, the “customer’s feedback” on the right makes the website perceived as trustworthy and the notice tells you how long you will have to wait to have an answer. Also, there form is very short, only the necessary data are required!

It is indeed very efficient.

This enlightening article suggests:

1) Progress Bar – Show people where they are at in the process

2) Clear heading:

  • Include a call to action ‘fill out the form below’.

  • Include a reference to it being easy ‘simple’.

  • Be approachable ‘please’

  • State what will happen when the form is sent ‘our team will call you back’

3) Reasure your visitors – Explanation  State why you need the information and that you will never share it

4) Use oversize, colour form fields with field descriptions in the fields

5) Use inline errors – or rather inline congratulations! Reward with a lovely tick for each success

6) Terms and Conditions – If you have to have terms and conditions then make it easy

7) Security logos – Demonstrate that the page/ information is secure

8) Oversize me! Use an oversize button that describes what happens when the form is completed. Use this opportunity to remind people that you are great ‘to the experts’

9) What happens next? Explain when people should expect a response

10) What’s the product? Add an image or description about the product or service that the person is enquiring about to remind them that they are in the right place

11) Testimonial: Present a testimonial on the contact page to remind people that other people think you are great

12) State your services to remind people that they are filling out the correct form.

13) Show your physical address and demonstrate that you are real and reputable!

I couldn’t agree more!

Thank you so much Tom Bowden for sharing your precious knowledge!

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Domino’s Real Time Breadcrumb: when Pizza and eCommerce excellence fall in love

It’s been a long time since I first fell in love with Domino’s Pizza Online Shopping Experience.

I remember the first time I landed in that shop: the huge variety of products available, the customized pizza experience, the extremely fun and smart communication style.

Everything was there: design, usability, marketing, customer experience.

And how was I shocked when, in less than 3 minutes and without having to register (yes guys, there’s this thing called fast registration which gives a nice kick to the conversion rate) I had bought my first pizza online.

Please beware that this is not a paid post or something like that: it is really all about passion for customer experience and innovation.

Well, here’s the story. Most online users abandon online shops after an average than 2 minutes. In only 3 minutes I left that online shop with a pizza in my pocket.

This means that the customer journey was essential, functional, smooth and efficient.

They have one of the most amazing and functional thank you page in the history of thank you pages!

Take a look at this:

It’s clean, it’s easy, it’s His Majesty The Breadcrumb.

Generally breadcrumbs are used to show the path in the checkout process, so that consumers understand where they are and how long it’s going to take to finalize the order. This breadcrumb, however, is used on the thank you page. Its function is: now that you placed your order, let us show you what happens next, step by step.

It doesn’t only show you the path, it actually adds temporal context and reduces the distance between the online customer and the product (which is what every online shopping experience should do: I mean, that’s the real eCommerce challenge!)

In fact, in most online shopping experiences there is a lack of time between the order finalization and the reception of the goods. This moment is delicate, and accurate communication is key (usually brands fill in that period with automatic emails with order status updates: we will see who’s the best in one of the following posts).

Anyway, what amazed me most (and yes, amazed is the right term) of this customer journey was the “after experience”.

This dynamic breadcrumb shows you at which step your pizza is: each box lights up as soon as the product is on his way, in real time. And you wouldn’t believe that, as soon as the Delivery box lighted up, my doorbell rang.

Isn’t it a kind of magic?

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Breadcrumbs: good for cooking, even better for surfing!



The World Wide Web is a huge ocean. Surfers need directions.

Online customers need:

1) To get the information they’re looking for, now. Even before than now.

2) To be reassured that your shop is trustworthy.

3) To be guided, hand in your hand, step after step, into a smooth, quick and easy shopping experience.

Simplicity is Key, but you people probably know that Simplicity is extremely hard to put in practice.

This is why great content is key to a successful online shop. Yes, great, but how do you achieve that?

Well, first of all you should think of a content strategy before putting online any content:

  • What is the function of my online shop?
  • What are the customers looking for?
  • How can I make everything available at a glance?

Now, this is very general and can be applied to every single page of the Customer Journey. However, my original target was to highlight the importance of breadcrumbs in the most crucial page of this journey, which is the checkout.

This phase is so delicate that it should really all be 100% customer focused. No distractions, no over-stimulation, just you and your customer; take his/her hand and guide him/her until the “place order” button. Then, politely say goodbye in the thank you page and leave all sorts of pleasant expectations 😉

Breacrumbs (yes, the term comes from the Pollicino fairy tale) can be a very good tool to provide the customer with the correct orientation needed.

Why are they so crucial? Because we all know that the checkout can be long and demanding, especially if customers havent’ registered yet.

So, for sure, people want to understand where it begins and where it ends!

This is extremely reasonable: would you ever take a dead-end road?

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The Anatomy Of A Perfect Landing Page

If I have to wait until September to get the new Grey’s Anatomy series I will take a look at The Anatomy Of A Perfect Landing Page and share it with you, eCommerce geeks like me 😉 It is provided by Kissmetrics.

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