The following is a guest post by Paul Prewitt the Electronic Communications Coordinator at the University of Arkansas Alumni Association. Paul was kind enough to share an inside ‘FAIL’ that they recently fixed and is hoping you can learn from it too. You can contact Paul online at (www.draftmotif.org) or connect through twitter. This is the ninth post of the .eduGuru Blogger(s) Search Contest.
So eventually everyone is going to fumble or make a mistake. If we didn’t make mistakes then how in the world would we ever learn and grow. Fixing your mistakes and learning from them is the important part.
Keeping the End-User in Mind
Hopefully you’ve figured out that developing for the End-User – especially for public websites – is typically the best way to go. It is often easy to forget which End-User is the one we are designing our sites for in Higher Ed – especially when a site overarches multiple audience focus points. However, it is always good to try walking in their shoes before considering a project complete (or better yet getting them to do so for you).
I should probably clarify that our ‘FAIL’ was part of a third party contracted site page www.arkalum.org/join. However, just because it was a third party vendor that does not excuse it – after all to the End-User it is all part of our site.
Online Payments != Bill Me Forms
Since we’ve fixed the page already let me give you a walk-through on where the ‘FAIL’ was and what impact it was having on us.
You guessed it our online payment processing page (membership activation page) was originally developed to include a payment method of “Bill Me”. What is that? In short it turned the page into just another email web form (we had to follow up with print invoices).
Worse yet, as you can see above the “Bill Me” option was the default and the Order Confirmation page used the same button as the Credit Card option “Complete Payment” which meant that the End-Users didn’t even realize they were not fully completing the online payments (after all the button made it appear as though you had completed it).
The “Bill Me” option created confusion for those that thought they had already joined online and made it so that we were not meeting the End-User expectations.
How to Pick Our Self Up!
The answer is simple; remove the “Bill Me” option. But is that the best option for the End-User?
I doubt many would argue that it is but just in case let’s look at how the page is used. The End-User’s goal is to “activate” their membership and that means paying the money. So although there might be a few reluctant individuals that will not make a payment online or those that forget their credit card the day they come, the majority will expect the page to actually charge them (that day).
So That We Can Learn!
If you have not checked out the page at www.arkalum.org/join then now is defiantly the time as although this fixes the ‘major’ problem with the page one should never stop doing End-User testing. Thus, I hereby ask you “How can we keep improving this page?”