I’m not trying to be difficult when I ask that question. I’m trying to learn the user’s expectations, because this is an important thing to understand when evaluating the usability of a product.
In my many years of watching and running usability tests, I’ve noticed a pattern of behavior for users encountering a new screen:
- Scan quickly
- Click the first call to action that seems remotely relevant to the task at hand
- Declare the product confusing if that call to action doesn’t do what they expect
Calls to Action Should Be ExplicitUsers should always know, or at least have a good idea of, what will happen if they click on a call to action. One way to do that is to make the copy or icon associated with the call to action really obvious and descriptive while still keeping it concise enough that people have a chance of reading it.
Recently, a company was testing landing pages. There were two pages, and the ONLY difference between the two was the copy on a button. One said “Login” and the other said “Login with Facebook.” Both buttons popped open the Facebook Connect dialog asking them to enter their Facebook information.
The percentage of people who clicked on the button was not statistically different. However, nearly twice as many people who clicked on the “Login with Facebook” button actually completed the step and ended up logging in.
Why is that? Because they weren’t surprised by the Facebook dialog. The people who simply expected to log in to the site were thrown by suddenly being asked to enter their Facebook credentials. The other group understood what was about to be asked of them, and they continued on.
Ironically, some people who might have been happy to login in with Facebook most likely didn’t want to click the plain Login button at all, since they didn’t want to create a whole new account or weren’t sure they could log in if they didn’t already have an account.