Login Form Design
Posted 29 October 2007 - 11:08 AM
Or, is it more ideal to replace the form on the homepage with a “Sorry, account management is down for routine maintenance” message? I can see arguments for both sides… New users/first time visitors will get negative emotions from seeing something ‘down’.. although users will be frustrated that they had to log in, then get an error message. Furthermore, they might go back and try again and be more dissatisfied.
Posted 29 October 2007 - 12:01 PM
You do not mention "down" instead, you give a message such as...
"Currently, NNN is receiving routine maintainance and security updates.
We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause you - NNN will be fully functional within a short time period.
Thank you for your patience and understanding."
Posted 29 October 2007 - 12:30 PM
If there's a way to offer a warning for scheduled downtime, this helps usability by creating credibility and signals an interest in customer satisfaction.
If permitted, I'd add a toll free phone number and/or email to customer service rep on the page, to show a way of being available and offering an alternative contact.
Like you said, you don't want to lose existing customers and don't want to send a negative signal to new or potential customers.
Definitely don't let someone go through any steps, only to end up at a dead-end.
Posted 29 October 2007 - 01:13 PM
Unfulfilled expectation: We'll be open at 9:00 a.m. Somebody comes back at 9:30 a.m. and you're still closed.
No expectation created: We're closed (Huh?, when will you be open)
Don't leave people hanging. Every site has to go through some maintenance at some point or another. I think people expect that and will be tolerant. What they won't be tolerant of is if you say, 'come back soon' only to find that when they return (soon), you're still down.
Communicate clearly and usabilbility will improve.
Posted 29 October 2007 - 02:37 PM
New users/first time visitors will get negative emotions from seeing something ‘down’.. although users will be frustrated that they had to log in, then get an error message. Furthermore, they might go back and try again and be more dissatisfied.
New users will also be frustrated by going to the time and effort of creating a new account, then finding themselves unable to log in. Or, if your registration process is linked to the system which is down, they'll be frustrated by their inability to create new accounts.
There's never really any advantage from NOT giving users as much advance warning as possible about functions which won't work. If possible, advance scheduled notice that the system will be down is great. But even if that isn't possible, you should ABSOLUTELY let them know that the system is down before they attempt to use it.
Posted 29 October 2007 - 02:47 PM
If you expect it to be up by 2 PM...
"Service should be resumed by 5pm"
"Service should be resumed by Evening Time"
The first pads out the time margin by 3 Hours (always good - if you get it done sooner - even better )
The second is so flamming general, you should beable to get it (not only the padded time, but several hours rather than a specific).
Posted 31 December 2007 - 02:36 PM
The best unavailable message I saw was a highlighted message above the form login saying that there was scheduled maintenance and information backup. Then, it gave a time, telephone number and link to contact form.
Posted 02 January 2008 - 02:35 PM
However, if the site is simply having technical difficulties, I would be up-front about that (still disable the logon form of course) and advise users that technicians are working to restore service asap.
Obviously you can't forewarn users about an unplanned outage, so you might as well fess-up and try to do better next time.
Edited by xb90, 02 January 2008 - 02:36 PM.
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