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1. "This Better Be Worth the Wait"

Everything we offer on the Web is subject to higher expectations because customers have to wait for it.

On the Internet we have to wait for things to download; that's a given. Slow download speed is still rated by customers as the biggest negative in their experience of the Web, but they live with it. Customers get mad when they wait for a page to download and then find there's very little on it. Sometimes it's just obvious that that part of the site is under construction. Customers feel that companies should make the effort to complete each page before offering it online.

Under construction

This doesn't necessarily mean that a business should refrain from presenting a page that is "under construction," but it does need to be handled appropriately. Customers will feel cheated if they spend time following a path only to find their ultimate destination under construction.

Dead ends

It is surprising the number of times a customer comes to a "dead end" on a Web site, a point where no new content is delivered. This is especially true of Web sites where a standard navigation (such as frames) has been used across all product content. A page should not be offered if there is no new content available on it.

Multiplicity

Another common frustration is taking one path to find information and then taking another, only to find yourself receiving exactly the same information. Customers expect different paths to reflect different customer needs, and they get annoyed when they find the same information having taken different paths. This is particularly problematic in relation to calculative or scenario-based functionality, where the customer sees quite different variables and considerations leading to exactly the same outcome. If the outcome is the same for all the different variables, why would a customer bother going through the process of generating scenarios always to end up at the same place?

Gratuitous content and functionality

Download time also makes customers more sensitive to time wasting. Customers will see anything that doesn't exist for a reason as gratuitous. This does-n't mean they don't want graphics or other interesting and creative devices on Web sites; they just want these things to be a worthwhile part of the journey, and, therefore, worth the wait.

Blunders

Navigation leading to nothing

Say a Web site offers "tips from other customers" as part of the standard navigation for evaluating products. However, only one in five products actually has customer tips associated. When the customer clicks on "customer tips," chances are, there won't be any. This will get annoying after a while. The level of annoyance would be even greater if it was something fundamental, like product prices, that was sporadically available.

Worthless downloads

Consider a company who has run a series of TV ads and has decided to profile those ads on their Web site. Customers can click on a picture of a screen shot from each of the TV ads and this starts a download. The download takes about five minutes. Customers who complete the download find it to be a reproduction of the TV ad, nothing more, nothing less. They wonder why they bothered taking the time to see something they've already seen on TV. After all, TV is a better medium for the ad anyway. They expect the Web site to give them more information, to complement the ads, not just reproduce them.

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