Why user flow matters!

I’ve reached an age that most of my friends are either getting married or having kids. Different cultures have different customs. In Asia, it is very common to give the newly weds “red pockets” or “red envelopes” filled with physical cash to congratulate their union. In the States, gift registry is the way to go.

So today, I want to talk about gift registry websites in the States. Recently, I have been invited to two baby showers. Among close friends, I am known for the person that always gives great gifts with a great story to tell, but for this time, I had to pick out gifts for one of the showers…just out of convenience. Why is that?

The first baby shower registry I received from Friend A was a registry on Amazon. In average, I shop on Amazon at least 2 to 3 times a month for household necessities, so I must say the sense of familiarity makes the purchasing process very much at ease. Once I’ve selected the item from the site, Amazon collects the payment and the gift sends directly to Friend A’s home address (with the actually address encrypted for privacy purpose). From the user flow standpoint, here’s what I had to do: click on the registry link, enter the registry page, select a gift based on my budget, add to cart, and finalize purchase.

The second baby shower registry was the problematic one. Friend B used this website called Babylist. The way this site works is essentially consolidating different products from different sites, so users can treat it like a one-stop shopping platform (supposedly). The idea was great but the reality was horrible. As I mentioned before, I always love picking out gifts with a story to tell later. So for Friend B, I decided to pick out all the “bath essentials”, such as a little floating duck, baby shampoos, and etc. I wanted to be the auntie that talks about “oh remember the first time you were with the yellow duckie?” Anyhow, after I finished selecting multiple items from the “bath essential” on the site, I was taken to a confirmation page where I was asked to purchase all the products I selected on their original websites. What does that mean? Suppose I chose a Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Shampoo & Wash, then now I have to go onto Burt’s Bee’s site to make a purchase. And the yellow duckie, well, it’s from Target, so I have to purchase it separately on Target’s website. What about the towels? It was from Amazon, so now I have to go on Amazon. Additionally, I have to pay shipping from all these different websites. But the trouble doesn’t end here… I need to ask my friend what her address is, so that I can make sure the products can be sent to her. I can certainly type out the user flow here but I think you get the point by now.

So what did I do for Friend B at the end? Well, I couldn’t give her the gifts I was initially going to give. Instead, I had to pick out only ONE item, so that I wouldn’t have to go onto 3-4 different sites to make purchases. Interestingly, guess where I bought that ONE item from? Amazon!

The lesson I’m trying to address here is … it is very essential to think about the user flow when you design a product. If you can minimize the steps the users have to go through, you’ll have a higher chance of making a sales. At the end of the day, we’re living in a world with abundance of alternative choices we could make. If your product is not well-designed, you will quickly loose customers to your competitors.

This experience truly taught me the value of a good user flow. Truly!

P/S I asked my friend why she chose Babylist and she told me because the UI looks cute. After hearing the trouble I had to go through….she realized that must have been the reason why so many gifts are still yet to be purchased by her other beloved friends. Now she wish she had switched to Amazon’s registry!

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