When we ‘asume the user knows’

I’ll confess I’m an Amazon virgin. Why?

Now, don’t look at me like that. I know it’s weird, but I just enjoy bookstores too much. Nevertheless, when a book’s not there, it’s not there, and I decided I’d give Amazon a try.

Since I was a first-timer, after deciding to start the check out process, they asked for me to register, which is actually a very fast step. It’s fast… but it could be better, wouldn’t you agree? I just happened to encounter a tiny problem…

This may not seem like much of a problem at first glance. Well, no, now that I think about it, it does even at first glance! Let’s review in a more obvious kind of way…

I asumed it was because my password didn’t have any numbers or special characters in it, but… is this really the best way to let me know? Of course not.

It was, in fact, because of the lack of numbers. But I’m a user that quickly asumed that. I can bet you a lot of money my father would’ve been staring at the screen for a really long time. And he is used to buying stuff online.

This problem, though, is not an e-commerce specific scenario. It’s the password, after all. But looking a little beyond the actual data, we can see it’s a problem generated by lack of information.

Is it really too difficult to include something on the lines of ‘Your password should have numbers’?

There’s a link that leads you to tips on how to create a password, but the word ‘tips’ doesn’t imply obligation. It implies suggestion.

And I’m asuming it was because of the numbers… and not because of the length.

Really, now that I think about it… was it the length?

We need to avoid confusing our poor users like this. Correct vocabulary, choice of words, and, of course, enough information (just enough) are key aspects of our site’s communication with the users.

For the record, the rest of the check-out process is very user-friendly. I liked it.