How one button cost a website $300 million
If we had a penny for every ill-conceived website design that wasted photons on our retinas, we'd have exactly £937. That's a lot of rubbish websites and a highly improbable amount of penny pieces, but we're sticklers for accuracy at Bitterwallet, as well you know*.
If we had $300 million for every website that had us scratching our collective heads, we'd glance once and gladly denounce technology as we lolloped about naked on a panda-stuffed mattress, having gold-encrusted pizza fed to us by Nigella Lawson and Kate Winslet. Unfortunately for one such website, that's exactly how much money they probably missed out on a year - all because of a badly designed button.
Fast Company reports the incredible story of a major retailer's website that underwent rigorous usability studies. The site (which remains anonymous) was designed just like many other online stores; you add items to your shopping cart, after which you pressed "checkout". You were then prompted to either log-in or register to complete your purchase.
Nothing too remarkable about such a set-up, except the usability studies showed that plenty of new users couldn't be bothered to register, and even registered users were put off from completing the purchase, because they couldn't always remember their registration details. Again, so what? It's something we've all experienced ourselves; if there are any obstacles in our way to buying an item, we sometimes feel the additional effort required to overcome them simply isn't worth it.
You'd even argue that the suggested remedy wasn't even worth implementing...
[The consultants] redesigned the site, replacing the "register" button with "continue". They also added a message, saying that registering wasn't required to checkout, but was optional and might be helpful if you returned.
...until you see the results. A teeny, tiny change to the wording and procedure made a staggering difference to the retailer; sales went up 45 per cent, or $15 million in the first month, and $300 million in the first year. Crikey. The people who build websites aren't always their most savvy users.
* no, really