February 26th 2007 Posted at Design
Comments Off on Form Design
Here’s a basic question for you. When you design a new site what country is your target audience in? Every site has a target audience in mind when you develop it (what you say you don’t have a target audience and everyone will use your service? Simply not true). When you design a site – you should have a target audience or at least specific use stories in mind when designing. Here are some use stories I did for Earlymiser – price comparison
Jill is a stay at home mom located somewhere in the Midwest. She likes getting the best price on items for children (she has two – Samantha who is 14 and John who is 12). Both of her kids play videogames and she uses gamefly.com to save on game rentals. She uses earlymiser.com to find the best price on new games for her children
and here’s another
Shawn is a a hard core gamer. He has three console systems and one Alienware PC for gaming. He wants the absolutely best price on the game as long as the source is reputable. He maintains a list of the games he owns at earlymiser.com and moniters the prices on games he would like to own. He occasionally buys stuff on Ebay and oftens sells games he no longer wants online.
See each one of these stories says something about the user of the proposed site. Here are some general things that you can draw from this example. The users of the site are in the United States and are looking for value. They both use the site for videogames. What does this have to do with form design? Well when designing forms for your account creation process, you might want to put the United States at the TOP of the pulldown menu if your customers are primarily in the United States. Since earlymiser.com is entirely focused on the United States, the US is at the top. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be in other countries and create an account – it’s just a recognition that most of your customers will be from your target country. This means you should resist the urge to copy and paste the same old country list everyone else does – you know the one – the huge alphabetical list starting with Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra and ending with Zimbabwe with your target country stuck somewhere in the middle? When designing sign-up forms put the most common target countries up at the top. It will minimize user data entry errors and then make your users happier. While I am certain someone will claim it’s being “ethno-centric” it’s really being “user-centric”.
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