Fire your bouncer

Imagine a new grocery store opening up. Visualize yourself going to that store; it’s a pleasant day, the sun is shining. You find a great parking spot, you grab a cart on your way in, and carefully cross the street. The storefront is nice and tidy. You are about to enter, then without warning… A huge redneck pops up in front of the door, blocking the entrance.

Not just any redneck an “uber-redneck,” He’s at least a towering 7 feet, arms crossed, sunglasses on hair’s a mess, and it’s scowling. You think I’ll bet it has 3 teeth, and 2 of those are in its pocket.

Morning coffee, sketches, thoughts on user experience.

You realize there’s just no way into the store without some interaction with the bouncer. Without warning, he blurts out, “SIGN UP FOR A CHANCE, 5 PEOPLE WILL WIN $100”.

You politely respond. No, thank you. He gives you the stink eye and thankfully steps out of your way.

Suppose you own a website and prevent a user from entering without first interacting with a stupid pop-up or take-over modal. That’s kind of like the redneck above, and it’s horrible UX or “HUX” (the redneck in me wants to write “shux,” which stands for something else but on my path to enlightenment). Fire that bouncer, get out of the way, and let the users accomplish their goals.

I get it. You want to build your email list. How about interacting with the user “after” they get to know you. Maybe a slide-up modal after they click around a bit. But the modal does not prevent them from their goals, and it’s off to the side a bit.

One of the farm stores we frequent has this exact annoying take-over modal on their website “SIGN UP FOR A CHANCE, 5 PEOPLE WILL WIN $100”. This website never shows any winners or dates for the drawing, just the same annoying pop-over. I’m guessing their marketing director gives coupons to the store as gifts. Happy birthday, here’s 10% off your next purchase. Thanks, Mom!

Great design and UX and about building relationships and the best relationships are reciprocal and long-lasting. Is your website trying to build relationships by considering the user’s wants and needs, or is it all about your needs?

There’s a cheap and fast way to find out if your website is empathetic or a selfish pig. Run through your website (or application) with a set of tasks in mind, using personas. Personas are imaginary people based on actual customer data. They represent segments of your target audience. I like the science behind, and their downloadable kit makes user testing with science-based personas a snap.