Strange Findings

We were doing a usability test recently on a site that I’ve been working on for a major sports retailer. In the tests, we were testing a hover functionality which would prompt the user to click for more information about that product.

Using the normal paradigm of ‘Information’ being in the form of an “i” icon, the creative folks created a small icon in the lower left-hand corner of the thumbnail. However, when our users were tested, we had several make an observation – the SAME observation – that seemed so obvious once they said it, but hadn’t dawned on everyone. They didn’t click on the blue “i”, even when prompted. When asked why, they said almost the same thing:

“I saw that blue “i” and thought it was a server error – that’s the same “i” that Internet Explorer uses when a page won’t work.”

We were amazed, but even though it was developed independently, it was nearly the same icon that IE uses for error pages – and the users made that association. We quickly made adjustments, but it was an eye-opener in that we were so used to the product, so used to usability, etc., that we didn’t see one small, obvious – but important – flaw.


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