Usability Opportunity #2

I’ve received numerous emails from my alma mater asking me to update my information for their alumni directory. Upon receiving the FINAL request, I decided to oblige, whereby I was directed to a portal from a third party who aggregates the information, and I met a form with this portion on it:

Notice the address fields: street address 1… street address 2… zip code? Have you ever seen it in that order anywhere else? I believe the convention goes something like [city], [state] [zip]. Putting them out of order will slow down any user, and particularly those who are just doing it to get it out of the way (such as myself). In this case, it appears as though they try to do some behind-the-scenes lookup on the zip code to pre-fill your city/state for you (next on the form). That’s a nice thought, but the change didn’t happen until I gave those fields focus. So I put in my current zip code and began typing “Nashville,” and then the “city” box filled as I typed, leaving me with something like “NasNashville.” One more thing to slow me down.

Anyway, that was just another thing I came across recently as a user. I don’t often catch myself thinking like a “typical user,” so it’s nice to have those moments and realize how frustrating bad design can be; it motivates me to work better on any user experiences myself, as I wouldn’t want anyone to leave saying “I can’t believe they changed the order of the address fields. It was so weird,” or worse yet, “It didn’t take my address? I don’t have time for this. I’m outta here.”

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