Monday, August 30, 2010

Delivering UX

In April, I ordered a pizza from Papa John's web site for carryout. And why is that important today?

Their web site isn't very well done, but, though clunky, it mostly works. This post is about one small but significant flaw.

You see, four months ago, I chose carryout instead of delivery. And today's order automatically defaulted to carryout as well. So, while we were waiting at home for the pizza to be delivered, it was sitting on a shelf at the restaurant getting cold.

I wouldn't be surprised if the Papa John's web staff thinks it's my fault. After all, the menu page has a small box off to the side that says "Carryout" on it. It's so in-your-face that I only noticed it when I went back to the site. It's sandwiched between the boxes for the shopping cart, Papa's Points, and an ad for their mobile ordering app -- on a page with more than 70 ordering options and tons of tiny text. It's also equally ignorable on the shopping cart page, and not prominent on the Checkout page (it's at the top, with my address, not at the bottom, next to submit order). Did the developers really think that this information was that unimportant? And did they really think that almost everything on the page should be the same font size?

And, aside from all that, is it actually true that people order the same way every time? Should have a default rather than a choice on the checkout page (like two buttons "Order for Delivery" and "Order for Carryout")?

There are so many ways to fix this problem that I'm going to leave it as an exercise for the reader. Pick one or two or three -- but there's no excuse for lack of clarity.

On the positive side, the Papa John's staff was quite courteous. They remade the pizza and delivered it, no extra charge. But the problem could have -- and should have -- been avoided.