Kudos to Half Price Books for Guest Account Creation after Checkout

I’ve studied a lot of in-depth research on e-commerce and one of the more disruptive user experiences is requiring customers to create accounts before allowing them to give you money.

Of the top 100 sites evaluated by the Baymard Institute in a 2012 study, 76% allowed guest checkout.

graph: 35% of companies grossing over $1 billion and 21% of the rest require an account to make an online purchase
Graphs: 76% don’t require an account to purchase, courtesy Baymard Institute

But only one of these companies (ranked #1 of 100) allowed a guest user to create an account after checkout. The checkout process should be linear, so asking a customer to create an account at the end of the purchasing process makes sense and is a better user experience.

It’s difficult to find examples of sites doing this since it requires making a purchase, but I did come across one finally: Half Price Books, a Texas-based used books chain.

Screenshot: HPB.com page allowing a customer to create an account after checking out

Good job! Now just remove the password confirmation field 🙂

Online Emergency Department Check-in Mishap

Earlier this evening, my partner’s car was hit by a guy running a red light. He sustained a concussion and wanted to go to the hospital. Here is dashcam video of the accident.

After calling insurance to find out which hospital he could visit (turns out, not the closest one!), I looked it up online to verify the address. On that page, I saw that the emergency department offered online check-in so that you can wait at home.

screen shot of the Seton ER hospital home page with a form to locate a hospital
Screenshot: Seton ER home page

Being in a hurry since this was an emergency, I was scanning the page quickly. Only two things caught my eye:

  1. The headline that reads “Mini Emergency?” at which point,
  2. I scrolled down, saw the location I wanted, and clicked “Go”

What I did not notice was the most important information on the page—the statement about what conditions not to use online check-in for:

If you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, go directly to the ER or dial 9‑1‑1. Signs or symptoms of an acute emergency may include…head injury or other major trauma…

Design Recommendations

  1. Move the when-not-to-use-this information to be in context with the page’s main heading
  2. Make the small, gray font with poor contrast easier to read
  3. Transform the long, boring block with a bullet list
  4. Reduce the branding that takes up valuable real estate and obfuscates important information
  5. Under the covers, fix the order of headings
screenshot of design changes to the Seton ER homepage with important information highlighted
Screenshot: Updated Seton ER homepage

In the bathroom, I saw this great example of people making their own user experiences better. The lock was installed backwards.

Photo of a bathroom door lock where the lock is reversed so someone drew locked and unlocked icons on the door
Lock on the ER bathroom door

Blood Bank Questionnaire UI – Part 2

In Part 1, I explored issues and possible improvements to the blood bank’s questionnaire interface for each question. In this part, I’ll look at the end screen of the process.

screen shot of the questionnaire's end screen that asks the user to review the answers to all questions
Questionnaire end screen UI

The glaring issue with this screen is that it requires the user to remember each question based on a short, obviously programmer-named description like “BLD TRANSFUSION”. I question the need to review a dump of all the questions and answers. The progressive nature of the questionnaire and the ability to jump back and forth between questions provides the user adequate opportunity to review and change answers.

Design Possibilities

  1. Determine how necessary this end screen really is. How often do people use it? How often do users go back and change answers at the end? If it’s very low, get rid of it.
  2. Rather than show all questions, maybe show only those questions users skipped and give them another chance to answer.

    end screen mock up that asks users if they would like to answer any questions skipped during the questionnaire
  3. Change the format of the questionnaire to show multiple questions at a time, and progress through only a few screens where questions are grouped together by type. For example, travel, sexual activity, and disease exposure.

    questionnaire screen with 4 questions in a Current Health section