I’m about to head out of Paris and go to speak in London which I’m completely excited about. Paris was amazing, but confusing. The people were awesome, but they really need to label things better. I have no idea how people can find their way around or know what to actually see? Even the exit signs are green instead of red and when I needed to use the bathroom, they just made fun of me saying “wee wee” when I asked if I could use the toilet. Yes I have to wee wee, that’s why I’m asking!
Seeing the Eiffel Tower was amazing, but walking over was extremely unfortunate. Going to England I wanted to make sure I could speak enough English to get by, since I have a panel and a solo presentation. I know that some words can sound the same but mean different things, so I did my research and didn’t want to make this mistake and accidentally offend someone.
I was on a tour and just finished walking around the Eiffel Tower and really had to use the bathroom. So I asked someone where I could find a clean “Loo” and someone put me on a bus that said the next stop on the tour bus was the Loo’ve, I was impressed with how well I had studied and that it was actually working! The tour guide even said it’s the biggest one in the world; so instead of using some small “crappy” port a potty at the Eiffel Tower, I decided to hold it. Who wouldn’t want to use the biggest bathroom ever? Anyways, I get there and it’s a giant building with a huge line. It was a cool looking building so I assumed the toilets would be equally as amazing.
Unfortunately when I was waiting in line they had these fountains outside making it insane to have to hold and not go. Why would you put fountains by the largest bathroom in the world knowing people would have to wait in line. That was not user friendly. I finally got inside and instead of seeing a giant “Loo”’vre, it was a giant room filled with people. I thought to myself, “Awkward…I don’t want to stand around and have to go with all of them watching”. I was soo confused so I asked someone where the actual “Loo”vre was and they said it was a museum. Anyways, I asked why they would name it after a Toilet. It was very confusing. I did end up deciding to stay (after I used the real bathroom) and asked what I should see.
They said they had a huge collection of Madonnas, and I went crazy. I was shocked that the French would have a huge collection of Madonna’s career and tours on display! It would make sense since she loves lingerie, she’s religious and she also loves fashion. We have the American history museum in the US with a ton of artifacts from pop culture so why wouldn’t the French and the largest museum in the world. Since she is one of the most famous people in the world, why shouldn’t they have a section dedicated to her? The one I was most excited about was Madonna on the Rocks. Who wouldn’t want to see her with vodka on ice?
Again, I was disappointed when they not only got her hair wrong and left out her adopted kid. I didn’t think it was fair. First off, one of her children is a girl and they had two boys in the painting. I am ok with Artists taking their own artistic freedom, but it’s not nice to pick on someone’s children by making one of them the wrong gender and it’s even worse to leave one out completely. The painting was a bit old so they could have painted it before she adopted her other baby and I was over-reacting. Next I went to Notre Dame to see the Hunchback.
Did you know he wasn’t there? I was shocked. They sold a ton of fan merchandise to tourists, named stores after him and spent tons of money just to pretend he was on vacation. Someone else had the nerve to tell me he didn’t even exist! I was pissed! If he had the flu I could understand taking a day off, but pretending he wasn’t there was rude. At least when you see a broadway show and the star isn’t performing, they leave a note and let you know so you can cancel your tickets. They don’t make up some fake story about how he never existed, etc… Next was the Opera.
If you know me, the thing I love almost as much as Madonna is theatre, and one of my favorite shows is Phantom of the Opera which took place in France. Again, a no show! Not only was the Opera house not built back when the characters would have been alive, but there was nothing there about Christine or the Phantom. I was seriously disappointed. Why would they make these stories up and even if they did make them up, why not at least have an actual building where it could take place instead of some modern one that couldn’t have existed back then. The Opera in Paris is a newer building that couldn’t possibly have housed the two characters. It was a real disappointment.
Ok, this is meant to be funny so please don’t take it serious. Below you will find out why I wrote this satirical post about a negative user experience.
The French people were some of the most friendly and amazing people I have ever met.
The city is gorgeous and the history is incredible. If you haven’t had a chance to go I highly recommend it. I also stayed at a hotel called Hotel Gabriel in Republique and the staff there was amazing. The night shift person Nelson helped me cheer up when I was a bit homesick and he really went above and beyond what he needed to do to make me feel welcome. If it wasn’t for him I would have had a horrible time and not been able to fall in love with Paris. If anyone from Hotel Gabriel reads this, Nelson is an amazing person to have working for you. If it wasn’t for him I probably would have left a bit depressed and not had nearly as much fun. Thank you for having him on your team!
Now let’s use this post to think about your website’s user experience.
Who are you alienating by not properly explaining things or using words that can mean something else?
Make sure you know where your audience is coming from and if you are not writing in your native language, make sure it is easily understood and that you don’t confuse anyone. Double check everything and have a native speaker read through to make sure your site and your copy makes sense to the general readership so the majority, if not everyone, can find their way through.
Do you have your paths to find more information or to checkout clearly marked?
If you don’t have a clear and easy path to find what your visitors are looking for, how can you expect to provide the best possible experience. Use your analytics, even Google Analytics offers funnels and sales paths and see where people drop off, get confused, use the back button and then figure out how you can make the pages or copy better to keep them happy and reach the goals you set for them on your site.
What obstacles do you have to checking out or reaching a goal?
Do you have lines, create blocks to stop them from reaching their end goal or is your path too confusing. By preventing people from reaching their goals you create a bad user experience. This could cause you to lose backlinks, sales and potential customers.
All of these things were addressed above in the story. You can also find other things like is the site’s title or url easy to understand when someone says it and the person needs to remember it and type it in. Think about what is on your website and if someone gets lost or confused, what do you have in place to help them find what they want. Then think about what you can do that will help to make them want to come back again or if it’s a Blogger or Journalist want to link to you. By using the examples of my trip to Paris, you can really help to increase the user experience of your website which can also help to increase conversions, pageviews and help your site grow.