Robert Beerworth Team : Web Strategy Tags : Web Design Usability

So close and yet so far... why a small user experience issue on My Special K ended the love affair

Robert Beerworth Team : Web Strategy Tags : Web Design Usability

Breakfast is my most volatile meal.

Some weeks, I’ll go entirely without.

Some weeks, it is toast.

Some weeks, some sort of egg and bacon muffin from the café across the road from the office.

When I’m staying in a good hotel, continental/buffet breakfast becomes a whole other matter.

The main meal of the day.

A challenge if you will.

Including smuggling a hand-made sausage sandwich, two apples and a few yoghurts out of the hotel’s restaurant.

(To feed my kids of course.)

It should also be on the record that I am almost entirely unable to turn down an eggs benedict.

If it’s on the menu, it’s getting ordered.

I’m on a bit of a health kick at the moment however.

Which means a bowl of Special K at my desk every morning.


A missed usability example…

Currently, Special K are running a promotion and campaign.

All over their cereal boxes, they’re promoting a free diet and health planning service called My Special K.

Anyone who knows me knows just how disorganised I am and so the concept of building an online diary and attempting to plan my meals and fitness is one entirely lost on me.

I had a look anyway.

I am generally skeptical of the implementation of these sort of promotions by the time they hit the web, though the concept was (and is) sound enough as long as properly executed with a long-term plan.


Signing up

As web designers, we know that the signup process on a subscription or membership-based website is the make-or-break.

It is where the rubber hits the road.

It’s where the user decides to sign up or not signup.

Everything counts on this.

So as web designers, we optimise, streamline and oil our signup processes.

We look at our analytics and optimise again.

We do everything in our power to make the sign-up convert as best it can.

So, as an inquisitive web designer myself, I thought I’d signup to My Special K… to check out the signup process and generally observe what a good FMCG company like Kelloggs was doing online.

My first observation of the homepage was the distinct lack of an easily identified call-to-action… in fact, if you can call them that, there are at least two instructions to the user: ‘Sign-up’ and ‘Declare your gain’.

In fact at second glance, there are four distinct calls to action: 'Create a Personal Plan', 'Sign-up', 'Declare your gain' and 'Free Tools':

Christ. What does this website want me to do exactly?

I decided I’d just 'Sign-Up'.

‘Declaring’ sounding time-consuming and just a marketing buffer to signing up… and I had nothing to declare anyway.

Free Tools are usually crap and creating a 'Personal Plan' sounds like registration in any event.

Just sign me up to your website and let's get going!

Now, it is here that I thought the website was really clever.

Rather than needing to go to a separate signup form or complete my profile up-front, I could ‘Sign-up’ using the same device as those users logging in.

Clever: signing up from the homepage, no extra thought.

Just give us your email and password.

So I popped in my details and clicked ‘Sign-up’.


Except I wasn’t signed up

I was taken to a different page.

A signup page.

Turns out that the signup button was just a link.

So why is it connected to the form? The website offered me two fields and a signup button… it told me I could signup if I handed over an email and password.

And yet it didn’t sign me up.

Worse still, I was taken to a long form, quite some distance down the page:

If I was on an iPad, the form would not have been on screen.

And here again, I am asked to 'declare' what I want to gain? Without any clear instructions of what this meant or did.

The email address and password I previously entered were of course gone as well.


You just lost me Kelloggs. You just let me down and my experience was poor.

I don't know what I wan't to 'gain' or 'declare'. You're input field doesn't even look like an input field.

Great marketing concept: 'What do you want to gain?'. Full credit.

Positive. Against the usual 'loss' campaigns associated with weight a fitness.

And yet dashed by poor web execution.


A lost opportunity?

The lost opportunity should be pretty evident.

If My Special K had signed me up from the homepage like it told me it could and would, I would have been super impressed.

One click and I would have had a profile and account.

I would have happily then filled in the blanks like my age and weight and goals.

I know it seems like a small deal, though it is an example of how poor usability destroyed my experience.

It set the scene. It set my expectations of the experience. Ironically, no 'small deal'.

It made me pause, think about things, become bored and walk away.

I made my effort, it didn’t work. Game over.

Good thing I don’t mind the taste of Special K.