Last night my family and I traveled down to St. Cloud, Florida, where we have a nice little town home. Unfortunately, we forgot to put our Sunpass back in the vehicle after loaning it to some family members. This device lets us fly through toll booths without stopping because it automatically makes payments for us. We stopped at a gas station on the Florida Turnpike and bought a Sunpass transponder preloaded with $20.
This afternoon I got online to register it so it would automatically replenish when it dipped down to a certain level, only to be foiled by a horrendous website. I ended up closing my laptop and calling the 1-800 service number.
The website LOOKED nice, but each field was trying to HELP ME. When I would enter my phone number in typical area code/prefix/last 4 digits style, it was setup to automatically tab to the next field when the last digit was entered. Coupling that with my inbuilt habit of hitting the tab key caused me to end up on the wrong field. DON’T HELP ME LIKE THAT! Most websites require uses to either click on the next field, or use the tab key, so why must you hinder me by going against the established norm. Instead, effort would have been much better spent by making sure the tab keys cycled through the proper order of fields.
Part of the registration process includes filling in your name and home address. I entered the street address then hit tab, and thought I was on the state field. I was already using the DOWN arrow key to go through the list, when I realized that wasn’t it. Instead it was for the county. County? Who uses this for personal information? Well, I scanned the list, only to discover it was Florida counties. At the top was “Out of State”. The city/state/zip code field were on the second column, in a non-standard location. PUT YOUR FIELDS IN PRACTICAL LOCATIONS. Address are entered by street address (1 and 2 for apartments), city, state, and zip code. Special stuff like county can come after that. Do this, and your users won’t love you, but at least they won’t hate you for showing your lack of user experience skills.