Target recently launched a new version of their website to much fanfare. The font is sleeker, images sharper, and the captions are clever. Unfortunately, their assertion that it’s “easier to use” didn’t hold up when we put Target.com to the test with real people on our panel.
1) Short attention span for lengthy pages
While the new look is cleaner, users felt pages never seemed to end when they scrolled down. One customer comments that the home page keeps “going… and going… and going.” People will walk 500 miles for love, but prefer not to scroll forever down a page to view more content.
Moreover, this customer finds the product review page overwhelms her with too much information. She has no idea why she needs to see “top rated pics on Target.com” when shopping for a bookcase! When customers are distracted by too many options, it discourages them from taking decisive action.
2) There’s no place like…
Web visitors expect one Home page. Clicking the dog in the top left corner takes you to Target’s Home page. However, clicking the Home link, located in the middle of the navigation bar, takes you to another page called Home which lists home goods categories. While this may be clear in a store, it is disorienting on a webpage.
Test users also found the white text on red background of the navigation bar hard to read. One pointed out that it was initially unclear that he could actually click on any of the categories on top, since they did not appear to be buttons.
We were also not sure why “karaoke” warranted its own category, while the store locator is very hard to find. (Can you find the store locator in the image above?)
3) Hard to see product ratings
As the customer browses through search results, she comments how it is hard to see the number of stars a product received because of the colors used.
We’ve watched numerous user test videos of ecommerce sites, and again and again, users tell us they want reviews to be prominent in search results. Customers are motivated by social proof. If they can’t see the stars, they won’t see the light.
4) Shopping cart loses your info
While on the shopping cart page, partially checked out, the customer follows a link to answer a shipping question on another page. When she returns to the shopping cart, all the information she previously entered is gone. She has to reenter it, and is obviously frustrated. To make matters worse, when she changes shipping options, the personal info vanishes again. Target should store this information during a user session.
5) Insecure shoppers don’t make purchases
One customer said she wouldn’t make a purchase from Target.com because there are no security measures or verifications for credit cards. Having just one security seal would statistically increase conversions. We recommend that Target takes visible steps to reassure customers their credit cards are safe.
6) Previously undisclosed charges scared off customer at final step
When the user arrives at the final total, the cost of shipping combined with taxes discourages her from completing the purchase. In fact, she explicitly states she would rather shop on Amazon.com, which frequently offers free shipping with their products.
The most important button on your site is the final purchase button. Even if a low price lures customers in, total with shipping costs could turn them away.
Absorbing some of the shipping cost into the product price may help better manage customer expectations.
Overall, while we appreciate their witty puns and crisp images, Target should have tested their new site with real people before they put it out to the world.
According to UX expert Laura Klein, Target is not alone: “Too many companies aren’t testing iteratively. If you test as you go, you can find a lot of the problems before you do the final big launch or redesign, which saves a lot of time and money.”
To us, it feels like Target threw the baby out with the bathwater. However, we credit them for their bold new move, that some are even calling “courageous.”
Let us know your thoughts on Target’s redesign, and tell us about other sites we should put to the test.
(Update 9/14: Target servers went down when millions of hungry shoppers rushed online at midnight September 13 for the anticipated release of the Missoni line, and it seems like they might have bigger fish to fry.)
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