Category Archives: UX

Angry Birds Go! Report

Last week I decided to fill in a bit of free time by compiling a brief report on the free to play (f2p) game Angry Birds Go!

I chose Angry Birds Go! mainly because I remember it getting a bit of flack on release for its heavy handed monetisation (primarily the expensive premium carts), yet since then it seems to have largely dropped off everyone’s radar. I thought this made it an interesting case – was the monetisation really too harsh, or were other issues stopping the game from achieving its potential?

You can see the full report embedded below, or download the PDF file (probably better, since Slideshare seems to have scuppered some of the fonts & graphics).

The Delightful New User Experience of Another Case Solved

Another Case Solved is a free to play match 3 puzzle game available on iOS (maybe Android too, I am too lazy to check. Though not too lazy to type this disclaimer, despite it rapidly becoming about the same level of work. Possibly even more, now) where you play a detective, matching symbols to collect clues and solve cases.


EA’s End User Licence Agreement screen. Click for full sized.

When you first start it up, you get this delightfully dour box, taking up the entire screen. If this doesn’t scream “hey kids, hold on to your socks, because what’s about to happen here is fun, fun, fun!” then I honestly don’t know what does.

Look, it’s even helpfully highlighting the “accept” button for you. Because if you press “decline” you get a popup alert over the top of this saying “you must agree to EA’s Privacy and Cookie Policy, Terms of Service and EULA to play this game”, which then dumps you back here.

Quite why it bothers having a “decline” button I haven’t worked out. Maybe it’s a clever part of the puzzle game.

Anyway, this is awful and somewhere a lawyer should feel bad that they are, without doubt, churning users from their game before they have even reached the title screen.

How to Deceive and Mislead Your Customers in an Attempt to Get a Sale

An offer to upgrade Parallels Desktop.

An offer to upgrade Parallels Desktop. Click for full size.

Being a Mac kind of guy (sorry), I still find I have to use Windows at work for the occasional bit of software that either isn’t available, or isn’t a 100% feature match across versions (it won’t surprise you to find out most of this stuff is Microsoft Office).

Occasionally Parallels pops up a little offer window attempting to up-sell me to the latest version. Today the offer really caught my eye, but not really for the right reasons.

On quickly looking at this, it implies that the upgrade is being offered at a huge discount of 79% off, with another 6 apps thrown in to the offer for free. You get this impression because of the large text that says “Upgrade to Parallels Desktop 9 79% off and get 6 more apps for free”.

However when you look at the prices (the small ones in red, heavily scored out so as to be deliberately difficult to read), the upgrade usually costs £34.99. The same price as this offer.

What Parallels are actually offering is “Upgrade to version 9 at full cost and get 6 more apps for free, giving you a total discount of 79% over the cost of buying all 7 things individually” which is not the same thing.

I doubt very much that the people who put this offer’s copy together didn’t know what they were doing. I wonder if they thought about how it could hurt their user’s perception of their brand, though – deliberately attempting to mislead in order to convert a sale is not the basis of a long term happy customer relationship.

(Incidentally, they really should make more of the “limited time” of this offer to increase conversions. That particular piece of information is very easy to miss, despite being repeated.)

What’s Worth More in Retail, £5.50 or a Happy Customer?

So, here I am trying to buy just over £300’s worth of furniture from an online retailer. Nothing terribly unusual about that – I’ve spent way more in single online orders in the past, I consider myself a pretty confident online shopper, and this is a well known UK retailer.

There are a couple of things about this transaction that are really rubbing me up the wrong way though.

Firstly, I keep getting error pages during the checkout process. The last time this happened was during the “taking our payment” stage, which has left me not entirely sure if the order’s been placed or not. (The website being so flaky at the moment, I’m not entirely sure I trust the accounts / your orders section.)

The error page also has a line on it saying that if I’d like to place an order, I can phone them up. Calls will cost at least 5p per minute. Now hang on, why on earth would you charge your customers for the privilege of buying something from you? Ok there are certain cases where I can see the benefits of this, but really only if you charge your customers a lot so buying from you becomes a desirable status symbol. Charging a small overhead just makes me feel like you’re penny pinching.

I have no idea how long the order call would take. My experience of corporate phone lines makes me think 5-10 minutes of being on hold, followed by 5 minutes for the order. But maybe the computer system is misbehaving for their phone staff as well, so the call will either be wasted, or take much longer. But I’m going to estimate that placing my £300 order would cost me somewhere between 50p and £1.

Similarly, I am being charged £5 for delivery. This is a flat fee, and doesn’t scale depending on the number, size, or weight of items I’m buying. Again, it’s possible to look at this as “wow, having two pieces of heavy furniture delivered for so little is a bargain”, but since I don’t really have any anchor here I’m seeing it as “wow, I’m spending £300+ and they’re trying to stiff me for an extra £5”.

So overall my opinion of this retailer has plummeted, mainly through the perception that they’re trying to unfairly add an extra 2% cost on to my order.  User experience – it’s not all about the colour of buttons, you know.