In an earlier post, I wrote about how a site can sway the user into certain actions (such as making a purchase) through personification. Recently, I saw something that took this principle a little too far in my opinion.
After browsing for some shoes on Zappos, I had left an item in my shopping cart without paying for it. A day went by, and I subsequently received the following email:
My first reaction was, “Awww, isn’t that cute?” my shopping cart wants me to complete the purchase. I smiled, decided I didn’t need the shoes, and went to the Zappos site to remove this item from my cart so I would no longer get this email notification.
After removing the shoes from my shopping cart, I was surprised to find this:
Your shopping cart is empty, and it’s a little sad.
This was the point where I cringed a bit on the inside and realized that too much of a good thing (personification of shopping tools and actions) can be bad. Obviously, there isn’t a hard and fast rule to determine the right amount of personification, but I think what bothered me about this user experience is that I was being pushed toward making a certain choice by way of personification, and after I made the opposite choice, I was still pushed toward that same original choice by way of personification. The conclusion would be that such a tactic is better used in limited doses.
I like this content from Amazon.com:
Your Shopping Cart lives to serve. Give it purpose–fill it with books, CDs, DVDs, toys, electronics, and more.
While it’s a bit silly to think of the cart as “living to serve” as it’s obviously not a living entity, it’s a clever way to try to entice the user into adding items to their cart.
An observation and an idea for the Amazon shopping cart.
One thing I noticed about the Amazon shopping cart is that their call to action for a user to remove an item from their cart is a link with the text: “delete”. I was expecting to “remove” but was surprised to see “delete”. I think this subtle word difference is done on purpose in order to discourage users from clicking on that link. As a user, I place a very negative connotation on the word “delete”. It implies that by clicking on such a link, you will cause a permanent change. The word “remove” is much more innocent and temporary. It’s much easier to bring something back when it has been “removed” than when it has been “deleted”.
So what happens if I click on delete?
Interestingly enough, the confirmation text says that the item was “removed”. =)
Now, on to an idea for how to improve on the delete/remove functionality. As a user, I may have removed the item by mistake and want to immediately bring it back – an undo function. I’m surprised Amazon doesn’t have this.
Here’s a concept mock of how it could look. By clicking on the undo link, the item is immediately brought back into the cart.