Link to an Unavailable Feature, Small Thing that Matters Much

There are times when displaying things that are not available to the users is useful. For example on an online store. Users’s interests in alternative stuffs might increase when they see a lot of stuffs were sold out. The fear of missing out things. But for unavailable feature, especially when the user is frustrated, that would make the experience really really bad, because it disappoints the user’s expectation and confidence.

This is my personal experience. I subscribed to an annual plan for Adobe Photoshop Creative Cloud (Photoshop CC). They started to charge my credit card in June 2013, but until now (Nov 2013), the Photoshop CC is not working on my Mac. It keeps asking for serial number. I had a chat with the Customer Service, he promised to fix this in 2-3 days, but still nothing. Then I called the Customer Service directly, again he promised to fix this in a week. Still nothing. So today I went to my Creative Cloud account, and I found a Help link.

Adobe CC - No Chat

I clicked on the Chat, and it said “We’re sorry, but our records indicate you aren’t eligible for this support option.” I mentioned about confidence earlier. I strongly suggest you to read this article – Getting Confidence From Lincoln by Jared M. Spool. I quoted a section from the article:

Confidence Was The Key
In our analysis of the data, we did isolate a factor we didn’t expect. With each click, users told us they were more confident they would succeed on those sites where they actually did succeed. Somehow, they were predicting their success.

We measured each user’s confidence with two questions. Before they clicked, we asked “Do you think clicking on this link will lead you to the info you seek?” with a 7-point scale that had the endpoints marked as “Not at all” and “Extremely Likely”. After they clicked and had a quick chance to inspect the result page, we asked “Do you think this page is getting you closer to your goal?” with the same 7-point scale.

We were amazed when we discovered the answers from the first three clicks strongly predicted whether the user would eventually succeed or fail, even if the clickstream was 15 or 20 clicks long. Not only that, but as long as every subsequent click had high confidence values, the user was very likely to succeed. As soon as the confidence values dropped, so did the likelihood of the users finding their desired content.

So expectation is related to confidence, and confidence is related to the likehood of users finding their desired content, their goals. Any website/app that we created should serve business goals and users goals. It looks like a small thing, displaying link to an unavailable feature, but its impact is huge to the success of your website/app.

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