Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My experience with it and they

When the web was first introduced, it was a mere shadow of what we see before us today. Some websites have so many things going on; people may find it difficult to know where to look first. The more time spent on the web, the more likely it will be to have to enter some type of information to get something desired in return. There are many different feelings about entering personal information into a website and many different factors can influence their responses such as religion, education, age and experience. People may wonder, “Where does the information go?”, “Who will see it?”, “Is it safe?”, “Do I have to?”

One of the means of finding out what someone was thinking as they used a site was by recording them during their visit and playing it back while they attempt to recall their thoughts at the time. Personally, just by being recorded and knowing I am being recorded, my interaction would be changed. I would be more concerned with the way my actions would be viewed than in having an honest interaction with a site. Being recorded would change where I went, how and what information I entered and my motivation (am I trying to impress someone). Wondering “Who will see this?” and “What will they think?” is a strong motivation for changing your behavior.

The study chose instead to use a different technique using questions which were as neutral as possible in order to get the most honest responses. However, while recounting information, details could very well have been left out for a variety of reasons. The participants may have felt something to be embarrassing, unnecessary or even forgotten. The study even points out that some of the participants from the study intentionally lied to change the statistics at the information destination. Everybody lies from time to time, it’s a fact of life; so why put them in a position where they feel as though they have no other choice?

People visit sites with such intentions as buying things, looking for things and getting information. If they do not like the look or feel of a site or feel the site is not trustworthy, they will abandon their task before completion. Therefore, putting people at ease when they visit a site is of the utmost importance. The use of language that is easy for people to understand is vital so as not to exclude anyone. Feeling at ease may mean the difference between continuing with their task or moving on to another site. When I complete information on a site, I want to know, at a minimum, where it’s going, if it’s secure and if it will be shared. If completing the information results in a negative interaction, people may be unwilling to visit the site again or unwilling to attempt to complete the task again. The most likely result will be to visit sites that do not require completing information, which is not always necessary for the task at hand.

Some of the participants in the study made use of the term it with reference to a site, which may indicate there is no connection, no recognition of a human being on the other end. In this case, the site seemed an inanimate object to them. However, some of the participants made use of the term they with reference to a site (some even on the same site, but two different pages), which may indicate they felt some sort of connection with the author, or as the study calls it, the producer. At the very least, the participant recognized there was a person at the other end of the site.

Completing information on a website is, to me, a nuisance. The time spent filling out a form is time I would rather spend doing something else. Today, I spend a half an hour filling out the same form over and over as each time I needed to go back and make a change, the site deleted all of the information I had previously completed. The site has an excellent reputation (floral delivery); however, it needs some work in other areas. I’m sure they do not want to know what I was thinking while on their site. Note to self – fill out the form carefully the first time!

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