Give your users some positive feedback

Paul Boag

I am currently in the process of writing a post for Smashing Magazine about the importance of providing users with positive feedback.

I won’t pre-empt the article here, but I did want to share one example that I didn’t include in the post.

It relates to an ecommerce site we built for an audience that lacked confidence in their own abilities. This user group was actually reasonably good at using the web, but they thought they weren’t. They would constantly second guess their actions and worry they had made a mistake.

One example of this was adding items to the shopping cart. They would add an item and then convince themselves they hadn’t done it correctly. They would then add it again, so complicating their user experience.

We solved this problem by making it bloody obvious they had added something to the basket. In total there were seven indications something had been added…

  • The number of items in the basket would increment by one.
  • The basket would highlight as something was added.
  • The item purchased physically move to the basket, using CSS animation.
  • The basket showed the item visibly in the basket.
  • The thumbnail of the item displayed a highlighted border.
  • The thumbnail was overlaid with the text “1 in basket”.
  • The “add to basket” button updated to read “add more”.

Admittedly we probably didn’t need quite this many indicators, but it did work and we saw a dramatic increase in conversion.

My point here is that it is so easy to miss page updates. It is extremely important to give the user positive feedback, whether it is something as important as adding an item to your basket or as trivial as clicking on a link.