UX of Failure

The UX of Failure

Modern web design, the rise of digital marketing and the subsequent explosion of web-based brand interaction has caused Marketers to place significant emphasis on design in the context of customer interaction. This flow of information is a cornerstone of the discipline of website design called "user experience," or UX for short.

Good UX is intuitive and delightful. Poor UX is frustrating and infinitely dangerous to your brand.

Unfortunately, when focusing on web or app design, most companies only focus on the UX in the context of success. When testing, for instance, prescribed data is entered in a proper manner without consideration for error, confusion, or the potential learning curve. No thought pondered imagining how a customer may see things for the first time or might act differently than an experienced web developer.

In fact, it is quite common when testing new applications and website features for a web design firm to script interaction with specific input data. (i.e. To test this, enter such and such a phrase into this specific input box and then click submit) The result of such a tightly controlled review process is a very neglected component to the user experience; The UX of failure.

The point where your website fails or where a process breaks down is the most dangerous point of customer interaction. It is a critical juncture where a customer can be won by exceptional service, or lost to frustration and bureaucracy.

Omitting a review of what your end-user experience looks like when it breaks down can be a costly mistake since it takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience.

Is there no recourse for your customer but to quit or abandon their interaction? Are your customers being presented with cryptic error messages rather than straightforward instructions on what to do next?

“The point where your website fails or where a process breaks down is the most dangerous point of customer interaction.”

Thinking like a consumer applies to all of the potential outcomes of a customers’ interaction, not merely the successful conversion.

For instance, Marketers often place significant effort and attention toward channeling a client or customer successfully through the sales funnel. 'How can I get this prospective customer to click my ad?’, 'To read my landing page?', 'To fill out my contact form?’.

Ask yourself, however, what happens after submit is clicked? What about the step that immediately follows this successful conversion?

Reviewing the ‘thank you,’ page on your website is time well spent. Ensuring your thank you page conveys a proper expectation of what will happen next, and that the overall design is consistent with the amount of effort it took to get a customer to that point, are all valuable components in the concerted effort to provide an excellent user experience.

What happens if there is a service interruption? Does your database error page contain cryptic error codes or does it display concise apology for the temporary inconvenience and offer your toll-free customer service number as an alternative?

Sweat the small stuff. Break forms. Click unexpected objects. Enter bad data. Try to force failure. If you can't – great! Just ask your web developer to break it for you so that you can review the presentation and messaging. Focusing on failure will be the best investment of time you'll hope never to see.

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