Now I briefly used DigitalMax two or so years back, so I went to the DigitalMax site to see how bad it now is. Let’s start with the homepage, an ask the age-old question – What do you want me to do?
..and I have no idea. I can find out more about 20c prints, login, join, add add photos and so on but there is no obvious “Start here” option.
–>add a Start Here button, section or just make it obvious what the main thing to do is
–> Make it easy for me to understand what the website is for. (“Print your photos”)
So – I first tried to Add Photos, since that seems to be the “start here” option for me.
I got this screen. What is it saying?
It’s actually an error message – written in small blue script beneath the gloss. While the error message should be a lot more obvious, why not show the registration screen for me to login or register? Why do I have to login to try the site anyway? Can’t I upload photos, play around and then decide whether or not to buy? Most online shops let you do this.
–> let me play before registering or logging in
I’ve been a member before, so I try to login and get this:
–> Highlight errors by using red text and/or shading
Again – a tiny, hidden in blue text, error message. So I try looking for my old details and again get these useless error messages.
Digitamax has forgotten that I was ever a customer which makes me feel pretty unloved.
–> never lose my details
–>put the registration details on the login error page so that I can join without clicking away
I am about done with this site. But, I persevere in the name of bad usability science.
The registration page is actually simple and painless, making it even stranger to understand why I have to click to get there – why not put it on the front page (if you insist on me registering, at least say “Register now to get started”).
–> put the registration form on the front page (if you insist on me registering first, which you shouldn’t)
Unfortunately DigitalMax then accepts my registration (with no click on the email link to confirm), and then compounds this error by emailing my my login address and password back to me. Thanks for showing everyone my password.
–> never ever email me a password that I’ve entered. Send me a generated one if I ask for it or send me nothing at all.
–> Confirm email addresses to prevent junk account set-up attempts.
After successfully registering, rather than automatically logging me in, I am invited to manually do so. Did anyone actually test this new site with real users?
–> test and retest. Listen to your users and watch them in real life.
–> log people in automtically after registration.
It goes on. The login doesn’t actually seem to let the rest of the website know what is going in – here’s the screen after logged in:
The main part of the page is still thanking me for registering and asking me to log in. The first use of red text is not for an error message, but for a success message.
–> Greet me by name when I am logged in
–> Make it obvious what to do next by putting a giant “Add photos” in the screen after logging in
It goes on and on and I have had enough. There are one or two good screens, but generally Digitalmax fails on a number of levels. They do not make it obvious what to do, they have lots of glitz but poor usability, and they didn’t even deign to respond to Web Designer and customer Natalie’s email.
Now DigitaMax is otherwise a NZ success story – Auckland based, and offering a good service and range of pretty cool products. Terabyte appears to have done this redesign, and while they have a large portfolio, the website is a poor advertisement for their ability to deliver a website that delivers results. Sitting here it is imposible to know whether the client or the design firm should take the blame, but overall this was a giant leap backwards for DigitalMax.
However, a few simple changes could reap dividends for the bottom line:
–> buy “Don’t make me think”, listen to your customers, understand (through the numbers) what people are doing on your website and make constant tweaks to improve the bottom line.
–> Continue to work on a redesigned website constantly – without assuming a “website redesign” is finished when the site is up. That may mean you need to budget a bit more.
–> Take ownership of your own website – use the designers as consultants, but understand what you are trying to do and what good looks like.
–> Focus on removing steps from the process – minimise the number of steps between arriving at the website and ordering prints. You should be able to do it in three screens.
–> Respond to Natalie. Indeed go and hire her.