Monday, April 5, 2010

Demanding Kisses Before You've Been Introduced

We've all had the experience: going to a web site and immediately being accosted for information.

Just in case you haven't, let me share the experience that prompted this post. I was reading a forum. Somebody posted a link to a recipe that looked interesting. I clicked on it and was presented with the atrocity below. This is not the first time this has happened (Checker Auto Parts, I'm looking at you!), and I'm sure it won't be the last.

I have two words for the marketers and product managers who are doing this:


Maybe I'm not talking to the right crowd here. Maybe it is just engineers who aren't being empathetic with their users that are complaining about not knowing how to query the database without a zip code.

But I doubt it.

Anybody involved with marketing knows the value of information about users. The more information we have, the better we can focus the conversations we have with the user. And it is just so easy to add another field to a form (or to drop a form in there at all).

I'm sure you've heard that marketing is like dating, and I think that is a good analogy. The best relationships start slowly, giving a little, taking a little, building trust over time.

As a corporate entity, we are already at a disadvantage and are starting the relationship with little trust. We need to do everything we can to build that trust, and the surest way not to do that is to start demanding information before you've gotten through the introductions.

So, next time you are designing something, instead of thinking "How much information can I get from the user here?", try thinking "What is the absolute minimum information I need to create a compelling experience here?"

And maybe you'll get a goodnight kiss after all.

Photo Credit: JD Lasica.

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