Encountered a classic mistake this morning. I read about buywithme.com, a new startup competing with Groupon and other buyer-aggregating deal sites. The first time you hit their site, you see a nice simple starting web page that has a place for your email address, a drop-down for your location, and a huge button that says SEE TODAY’S DEAL.
So I, not unreasonably, clicked on the giant SEE TODAY’S DEAL button.
I’m taken to a follow-up page that points out that I need to enter my email address in order to find out today’s deal. The message?
“ENTER EMAIL — 1 error prohibited this lead from being saved.”
As far as I’m concerned, they might as well have popped up a mysterious error code and listed a .dll not being found or something. Your “lead” wasn’t saved? Talk about not using the language of the customer, who does not see himself as a lead to be bombarded with emails but as a consumer looking for information. (It’s a good thing I used a spam-collecting account to get past that gatekeeper.)
The lesson, as always, is that engineers and UI designers tend to look at things from the inside out instead of the outside in. Don’t get so trapped in your own specs and internal jargon that you forget to do your best Tron impersonation and “fight for the users.” (I’ll warn you that, should you ever join the Dark Side, it’s just as easy to make that mistake in sales and marketing!)