Online User Accounts
The My Account area of a website is where a customer visits to find their personal and financial details and history of account transactions, orders, deliveries etc. It tends to relate poorly to the transactional parts of the site simply because it is more of a record area rather than a sales or conversion driver.
However, recently this area has started to gain significance as users now trust internet security in terms of trusting brands to safely deal with their personal and financial information. As people buy more online and use sites for repeat business they also have more reason to search order history, delivery dates and other information as they track their orders or audit previous buys.
Amazon’s website has very much set the tone and standard for this feature. This is due to Amazon being a broad site selling a wide range of products and so users tend to make a significant number of purchases from there frequently. This gives site-owners at least a decent starting point in constructing their own area.
Amazon’s My Account facility features sections on orders, payment, settings and messages in the main area but also includes other sections such as your lists, your recommendations and then personal features such as your music, your video, your kindle and so on. This combines having an area of record with a selling and promotional tool that encourages revisiting and future purchase. Obviously, Amazon is in a privileged position in respect of the range and variety of services it can include here but it is possible for other sites to construct a similar model on a smaller, more focused scale.
Usability Testing in the Account Space
There are some simple principles that you can follow in creating and usability testing your account space. These are all based around transparency and simplicity. Remember; the user doesn’t have to set up or use an account – it is to your benefit (and potentially theirs) that they undertake the process. Keeping this in mind, don’t make it unnecessarily lengthy and complicated to complete.
Some best practices in account set up include:
- Making sure you explain everything you are going to ask for so the user knows precisely what is required of them.
- Pre-warning users of things that are not going to be able to do or things that are compulsory eg. not being able to use your DOB as a password or requiring an upper case letter or numeral in a password.
- Not letting security issues totally dictate; accept a lower level and make restrictions or requirements as few as possible.
- Avoiding repeatedly asking for the same data by creating secure devices that replicate it if needed – and don’t ask for information that you don’t really need at the registration stage.
If you observe these straightforward guidelines your account area will perform and test effectively; but if you would like more information to discuss how the My Account area on your website might function get in touch on +44(0)800 0246 24, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us for a for a brief discussion.We are always ready to listen and give advice.