I had a teacher in 6th grade who disliked me. Not sure why. He was both our class teacher and taught us English literature. I was the new kid in town and new to the school and (worse) I was from Bombay (Mumbai to you younger folks). That automatically meant my Hindi was way better than my English.
He’d point out every mistake I’d make in front of the entire class for the first few weeks. Grammatical errors, misplaced pronouns, adjective modifiers, were all mentioned in every essay, every book report and composition for everyone in the class to mock. Seemed to me he liked picking on me. In fact since this was the ’80’s even calling my “stup*d” was par for the course.
What’s he got to do with SaaS applications?
Many of the applications I use are like that teacher. I hate them. I have to use them, but I hate using them.
I make mistakes. Every user makes mistakes. As humans we are all prone to making mistakes.
Your application does not have to make me feel stup*d each time I make a mistake. We all have significant others who perform that role very well thank you.
Your application has to help me recover from that error.
Let me give you an example:
I was trying to setup an account with a new SaaS app.
Username, password (twice) and 3 seconds later:
“That username is taken already” in BOLD RED.
10 seconds later, new user name, password (twice again) and again:
“That username is taken already” in SCREAMING BOLD RED.
15 seconds later, new user name, password (twice) and:
“Your passwords dont match” in BLOOD (mine) RED.
I gave up with the signup.
What you could do?
1. Give me username suggestions that you believe dont exist in your database already.
2. Check after I have typed the password the first time and give me some responsive feedback before I submit the 2nd time so you can see if the passwords match.
3. Use my email address as a user name.
But dont remind me that I am “stup*d”. I know that already.
P.S. That teacher from the 6th grade. Turned out to be my champion by 8th. The trick – my mom’s bisi bele bath. Two days a month I’d get mom to cook rich, flavorful and finger-licking BBB and suddenly he was my “protector”. The way to a man’s heart is absolutely through his stomach.