Tuesday 12 October 2010

FTFY - Argos


Argos might not purvey deliciously crafted goods like made.com, but it’s great at pinch when you need a new set of rechargeable batteries. I do like their service, especially the self serve kiosks, but there is one thing I can’t stand - their crafty strategy when reserving an item.

So to continue my FTFY (fixed that for you) style blog posts I’m going to look at the screen that bugs me and see if I can make it more suitable to me. There’s two things that bug me about this screen -

Argos Screen - Pet Peeves

1 - I Agree, That’s What I’m Doing.

This is the page that I arrive when I’m reserving my goods, so whilst I agree with the sentiment of the graphic, it’s worthless on the page. Because this page has a single intention, which is to get me to finish the reservation, then the graphic has to go as it’s just visual cruft.

2 - Trixy Little Argoses

I despise opt-out mentality, it’s toxic to building trust and it wreaks of a business that cares primarily about bottom lines. This one is doubly sneaky because you have to opt out of sharing your details with Argos and the Home Retail Group. This pattern might not be the worst or darkest out there on the web, but it’s not the best.

In the original version this bit of the screen also contains the privacy policy bumph, which to me doesn’t show enough respect towards the user.

My Fixes

My fixes

1 - Goodbye Useless Graphic

I removed the useless graphic, it’s just clutter on a revenue generating page and it makes no sense to have it there.

2 - Don’t Trick Me

Secondly I’ve fixed the whole problem area that I identified above. By default the user now has to opt-in and this was no brainer.

I can hear the screams coming from boardrooms across the world as they realise that they’re not going to collect as much user data. So what? The net result might be that their costs are reduced for sending texts and emails, whilst at the same time only sending emails to people that want them. I’ll always disagree with the “business strategy” of more is more, but that’s my perspective, not yours.

I’m using radio buttons instead of a checkboxes so that the user only has to check one box. With the current design a user could check one box believing that they said no to both, but then find out this wasn’t the case. The responsibility here is to Argos to make sure they’re being clear with the user - not relying on the user to make a mistake so they harvest more of the tasty user bounty.

You’ll also notice that in my design there are no options for communication preferences in terms of telephone, sms or email. This is deliberate as in my opinion telephone and sms marketing. Unless I can call or text the CEO of a company at a time that suits me, to talk about whatever I want, then they may not call me to tell me about their “great deals”.

3 - Clearer Privacy Policy Area

I’ve split the privacy policy out into it’s own area and hopefully made it clearer. What I couldn’t demonstrate here is that JavaScript could be used to alter the wording depending on the users choices from the communication preferences.

Comparison of the before and after

The proof is in the pudding, what do you think of the changes that I’ve made? Let me know in the comments.

Before & After

Argos Screen My Version

The Greys

Original Grey

Jamie Grey


I like Argos and I continue to use their shops as I really like the reserve and collect approach, especially when you can bypass the queue at the till by using their self servce kiosks - which are a breeze to use. But I just wish they’d fix this as everytime I go through this process I have to remember to check those boxes. At the very least they could drop a far expiring cookie and remember my preferences.