Earlier this morning, while dropping my daughter off at daycare – we walked into the classroom and greeted Ms. Lauren, my daughter’s daycare teacher as we do everyday. We’ve now done this hundred of times. So many times – that we’ve come to expect a certain reaction when we walk into the room. My daughter’s friends usually rush to greet her and discuss each other’s choice of furry stuffed animal that day, or new dress, or the temporary tattoo she happens to be sporting that day. There’s some variety but ultimately when you boil it down – it’s the same reaction every day for the past two years.
As my daughter and I did our usual pivot to hang our coats and place our backpacks in our designated space, Ms. Lauren walked over to the intercom and buzzed the front desk. This is where our experience has changed – and for visitors to your website, they may be expecting a certain similarity from visiting your site or a majority of other sites on the web. Take for instance – the ability to click on a logo in the upper-left hand corner and return to the home page. I happen to firmly believe that this has become the standard practice for web developers and I was shocked to meet a web-user who had never used that practice before. But what about something all web users are familiar with such as how navigation works? When I click on a navigation I expect a certain thing to happen. There comes a point when your audience just expects a certain reaction from the tools they use to navigate your website.
Ms. Lauren spoke into the intercom ‘I have a code six.’
I stopped in my tracks. My morning routine had been shaken by what sounded like a serious problem. A code six? Is that like police code for something? Is little Billy packing spit wads?
The website design interface is very similar to our everyday interfaces. We don’t expect to hear ‘code six’ in an environment for children – I expect to hear something like ‘we got a code zebra’ or ‘the bunny is getting bigger’. Something that’s more suitable for that environment. Imagine for a second if our daycare experience was a actually a visit to the daycare website and that little interaction was really me navigation not through the classroom but through the website. Suddenly, I click on what I believe is going to be ‘HOME’ and I get a ‘CODE 6’.
Suddenly I’m confused and rather than trying to understand – I’ve left the room.