I thought I would share an example I used in the Web Site Usability Workshop that I conducted with Dave, Frank and Joanna earlier this week at the ASAE Tech conference.

I started off by asking anyone in the room who likes burritos to raise their hand. 90 out of the 100+ people in the room shot their hand up. I had the right crowd!

What is the number one thing a freshmex burrito restaurant chain’s web site should do? Get you into one of their restaurants to buy a burrito. Simple enough.

Now, go look at BajaFresh.com. The store locator has a convenient search box right at the top to put in your address or zip code and find the closest store. Simple and effective.

Now go to the Chipotle.com web site. Look out for the flying burrito zeppelin! What is that spinning tomato/tortilla chip/hot pepper thingy doing in the middle of the page? How can I find a store? No way to tell without mousing over the chip and then futzing with an animated menu with no labels displayed by default. The only plain text link on the home page is to the privacy policy. (For once, a lawyer has a positive usability impact on a web site design!)

Both sites have a store locator feature. Only BajaFresh makes it easy to find and use that key functionality.

I asked the people in the room, “Who has the more usable site?” Answer: “BajaFresh!”

Then I asked, who probably paid more for their web site? “Chipotle!”

A usable burrito site doesn’t have to be an expensive one.

The lessons here include:

  • A great product can be undone by poor usability;
  • Usability can be a competitive advantage if your site makes it easier to do business with you;
  • If your product is sub-par, making it usable alone won’t help much;
  • Flying burrito zeppelins are kind of distracting.

One thought on “Burritobility

  1. Pingback: High Context Consulting » Blog Archive » Usability and Branding: You Can Have Both

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