So here I am, needing an online calendar for myself, my company and my husband. I’m staring at this page, thinking: what am I supposed to do? If I click those links, will I sign up? I don’t know what one I want. How do I compare these plans… or are they products? I see a big log in… where is the link to register? Maybe I could just try it. I don’t see a way to register. I have a palm… but I’m not a “my palm user”
I still haven’t decided what to click.
(you can click the thumbnail to see a bigger image, or go stare at Schedule Online yourself.)
So upon sign up (honestly, I’m still not quite sure what I’m signing up for, except it’s the cheapest) I’m asked to fill in this form. Apart from the amusing alignment problems (which, btw, are normally a problem that keeps people from trusting a company and therefore will cause them to not hand over their cash… Cheskin/Archetype study on trust, sadly no longer available online) I was puzzled by time zone.
Why was timezone a requirement for becoming a customer? They don’t serve midwesterners? it only took me a second to realize they were signing me up and setting me up…. This leads me to a key principal of interface design: relevance.
Group all like items in an interface together. users can gain understanding through the groupings. That’s why address, email and phone number are typically grouped together… they are all personal information. timezone is a tool for setting up the tool, and as such should be grouped with other like elements– perhaps adding contacts, deciding on the page view, entering/uploading appointments, etc.
It just makes for a more elegant user experience.
They ask for feedback, I give it and voila, I’m unceremoniously dropped here.
What the hell just happened.
How about a little “welcome and here’s how it works”? How about a little “getting started” info? All I know for certain is that I have no appointments. Whew, that’s a relief. now I have plenty of time to spend trying to figure out what to click to get this thing to work.
What’s funny is that when I circled back to get the screenshots, I discovered that I hadn’t even read the text of the button I clicked– I just filled out the form and hit the first button-looking button I saw. Even so, I’m still puzzling over how to get started. I suppose I’ll start clicking, like every other user I’ve ever observed using an interface. <grin>
one more thing…
On the actual interface of the scheduler, this appears if you happen to notice the horizontal scroll. Luckily it’s pretty non-essential information.