For some time now I have been trying to be careful about the way I write, which in my opinion is an expression of respect for anyone who would like to read my posts.
aims to avoid offense and fulfill the ideals of egalitarianism by avoiding expressions that express or imply ideas that are sexist, racist, or otherwise biased, prejudiced, or denigrating to any particular group of people (and sometimes animals as well). Use of inclusive language might be considered a form of political correctness; often the term “political correctness” is used to refer to this practice, either as a neutral description by supporters or commentators in general or with negative connotations among its opponents. Its supporters argue that language is often used to perpetuate and spread prejudice and that creating intention around using inclusive language can help create more productive, safe, and profitable organizations and societies. Wikipedia
In short, the point is to include in your statements, whether written or spoken, all those who would like to be the audience and not exclude anyone.
The Polish language, which is my mother tongue, is very gender-specific and when we talk or write about something, we usually describe reality with the words:
powiedziała / powiedział (said) Pan / Pani (Mr / Mrs) zobaczła / zobaczył (saw)
and yet not everyone wants to be labeled that way.
On the other hand – in Poland – many names of professions – as a thing from the times of the People’s Republic of Poland (1952-1989) – have no female equivalent (prime minister, farmer, doctor, etc.), which for many years clearly defined the gender of people who could potentially perform a given profession.
In the world that is constantly fighting for equal rights for people of different skin color – in Poland we are discussing basic human rights and whether people of different gender have the same rights and privileges.
Let’s get back to business
Is a tech blog a good place for language discussions?
Mindfulness and respect are one thing, but the business needs of adapting to a changing world can surprise you.
The most interesting example was noticed by my children when registering on the Scratch platform:
Your sex: Woman/Man/Non-binary/Other/I don’t want to say.
This started a discussion in our home about gender, world diversity and mutual respect.
However, this form appears to be unique. So far, I have not come across a similar one anywhere else. I also do not fully understand the need to specify the gender when registering to the website, unless the website wants to personalize the sales offer. But – ok.
The old days
For many years, when you set up an account on a website (e-mail, online store) – sometimes you were asked for your gender. Usually the choice was Female / Male.
But what if you don’t identify with any of these genders?
Along with the changing awareness, in order to avoid verbal clashes in Polish language, many companies have opted for a more impersonal and less formal approach to the client.
Currently, instead of Mr / Mrs – websites treat us as good friends.
Even more interesting forms are “personalized” emails, which are automatically sent, for example, by online stores, to inform the customer about the current status of the order or service.
You can also treat the customer impersonally, but nevertheless with more respect: ‘Dear Customer‘.
Even the most vigilant ones make mistakes and unforeseen situations. I received an email several times from one website starting with:
Many times, especially in correspondence from non-Polish speakers, I am Mr. or Herr.
It taught me that something that is obvious to me – my identification as a woman – is not clear to someone else just after knowing my name.
I do not have a problem with that.
This issue does not only concern the Polish language
Many languages are gender-specific.
In Polish, many words contain gender, but there are situations where English or German-speaking people have a bigger problem that generates a challenge similar to the e-mail correspondence above.
From what I know about German language, it is natural and obvious to use Herr (Mr) or Frau (Mrs) in front of a given name or surname in correspondence (including e-mail).
In order to facilitate proper contact with the customer, the choice of a courtesy form when registering for an online store is not unusual. Until we want to give the user a different choice.
In Germany they came up with the idea of a third option – and for some time you can find the form of ‘Divers’ (various) or ‘Keine Angabe’ (No information) in the registration forms.
In the form, the change looks fine.
After registering in the store or while processing the order, the store will send the customer e-mails. And what will a store taught to label people polite before their first and last names send?
Hello Keine Angabe Jan Kowalski
With these changes, software testers always have something to do 🤓
And finally words of wisdom.
There is no one right way to apply a language that does not exclude anyone.
We must constantly try to make everyone feel comfortable as a recipient of content.
In the end, the sender is responsible for the quality of the message.
My dream came true – I took myself to a real amusement park for testers.
Online stores have always been my love – in part because very rarely – and in the past year, I even made my purchases sporadically – and partly because I live on the outskirts of civilization, so it is more convenient to buy this way.
I pay online, buy online – one of the few analog things in my life are books (which I also order online).
Some people claim that one of the worst curses is to tell someone “May all your dreams come true” – according to the principle “Be careful what you wish for“. I had concerns about starting store testing, mainly due to potential disgust for a large part of my own non-work life.
After some time, I think that it was a good decision and the only thing I was disgusted with are the shops not related to my work that I accidentally visited when looking for products or services on the Internet. S
Shops, that are bad from the user’s point of view:
– no one has ever tested them mobile
– they have a design from the eighties
– they “shout” with banners and pop-ups such as:”Subscribe to the newsletter and get a 5% discount”
If you run / develop an online store – remember about the principles of Nielsen’s Heuristics.
The lengthy introduction was to bring you to my subjective list of favorite and most tragic stores of 2020 (based in Poland, using the Polish language !!!) and some of the most interesting mistakes found while shopping.
Remember that various “curiosities” I usually post on Twitter @KingaTest under #neverstoptesting
I must also note that this post is not sponsored. It is also not objective, because my shopping interests cover only a part of the e-commerce market, and the list is also burdened with a large cognitive error.
However, I would like my list to be as substantive as possible and show you, if you have a real influence on how an online store looks and functions, what not to do, and what solutions are desired and work well both in the browser on the computer and in the smaller smartphone window .
At the same time, I would like to point out that every year there are more and more online stores in Poland, and their quality is getting better. The following examples refer to the extremes – both good and bad – the vast majority of stores in Poland are user-friendly, have an acceptable design, do not crash, and from 2020 even endure performance tests during Black Friday, for which all developers, testers and people applause to those working with these products.
One more thing – as a software tester, I understand the old dilemma and an attempt to maintain a balance between the store owner’s budget – and consumer expectations in relation to the operation and appearance of the website.
You can not have everything. However, you can always strive for better quality and this is the main goal of this post.
Frontend mobile collection
As I mentioned above, many stores are clearly not designed for mobile. It is interesting because the share of the mobile devices market, and thus purchases made via smartphone browsers (also in Poland), is greater than the share of desktop devices. The data comes from here.
Let me exaggerate a bit, to conclude that the owners of online stores consciously or less consciously get rid of many customers because they do not consider it important to present their offer in an acceptable way on a smartphone screen.
Typically these are “only” the errors at the user interface layer. It’s not that the store looks “ugly” – it’s just a subjective feeling. Seemingly insignificant UI errors mean that some products cannot be added to the cart, it is impossible to find the desired items because the search is too small to use and as a result, the potential sale does not take place.
It also influences the general feeling of the buyer about the seller and the store – and instead of nice associations with professionalism and aesthetics – using the store will evoke associations with the torment.
As a result – the customer will be less willing to return to the store and will not recommend it to his friends.
Sometimes visual errors are “funny” and acceptable
The creators of the Mango store guessed that mobile sales were important, they just did not take into account all screen resolutions – perhaps as a rule – it is too exclusive a store for owners of cheap smartphones with a small display.
On my cheap-low-end-smartphone, categories fall into each other. This bug has been around for as long as I can remember, I even reported it to Mango once, but nobody really cared. It works. Next!
Smyk has ups and downs. Apparently, the store is displayed correctly, but when it comes to the time of promotion / sale / black fidays (insert any shopping holiday here) – category names are loaded … “in layers”: D This is probably the best word.
First, we get something like this:
After that, the correctly styled page loads. It happens even to the best.
In some cases, the store in the mobile version is unusable
An example from the Hebe mobile website, where the “talk to a consultant” button, which cannot be turned off, is covered by the “Add to cart” button.
And – for the “real-life user” – believe me – it is impossible to omit. It’s a … feature.
In this case, the consumer does not have to face the eternal choice – to have or be. It was decided for him that he would conduct a cultural conversation with the chat-bot, and not waste his fortune on cosmetics.
The worst – this store – which stopped at the Nokia 6310 stage and does not even try to reach smartphone users:
I like aros.pl for a wide range and good prices, but you can’t use this store on your phone. I don’t always want to mess around and turn on my computer to buy something, so I buy in the competition’s stores.
Hereby let’s move on to my subjective classification of the best and most annoying PL online shops in 2020
Chapeau bas for the developers of this app. I’ve been using it for over a year and she has never shown me the middle finger in the form of 500 or 400. It is clear, intuitive, and thoughtful. You can see that someone first thought about the need, designed the paths that the client navigates through the application, and then programmed it.
In most mobile sites and shopping apps, the first two steps are overlooked in favor of pushing overstocking and “promotion”. According to the opinion from the Google store, in 2018 – when the application was created – it had many mishaps – but can “mishaps” still make an impression in the year of Cyberpunk? Today it is a completely different product than in 2018.
+ Direct link to Order History from the main screen
+ Possibility to add products to the basket from each subpage (including promotional newsletters) – honestly – this is the first time I saw such a feature and I am enchanted
+ Large buttons and easy navigation
+ Access to My Profile from the main application screen
+ Cheeky, but genius in terms of sales functionality: “Check if you’re not running out of…” – the application presents on the main screen several products bought previously
– Much more intuitive as an application for online shopping – less useful when shopping in the store (access to the Rossmann Card)
– The need to press the “Recalculate” button when changing the number of products in the basket – the basket does not refresh automatically (I sincerely hate such a solution)
It’s been a long time since I literally threw the keyboard after an hour of struggling with the payment. IKEA has done it. Hats off.
I hesitate – whether an online store or a mobile application deserves priority – you have to decide for yourself.
In 8 out of 10 cases, entering the store menu looked like this:
Links take a long time to load, and pictures that tend to not display have been “pushed” into the menu. As for the showcase of the store – it does not encourage further exploration of the content (unless in search of errors).
The main disadvantages of the online store:
– Performance problems
– Unintuitive menu
– Problems with proper operation in Chrome
– Problems with the correct location after the postal code, which functionality is the only way to complete the purchasing process
– Nightmare navigation
The main disadvantages of the mobile application:
– problems with finalizing the order
– unavailable buttons
– IKEA Family card cannot be authorized
– no possibility to log into your own account
– no “user friendly” error handling (“Err Not Found”) – the shopping list is not kept in the application and clears up after refreshing the application
– the list of products is incomplete compared to the browser store – no purchase history
And above all – trying to solve problems, whether with the application or with the browser store, leads to a conversation with the chat-bot, which is far from “help”.
Perhaps that is why Sephora is so intrusively trying to force users of mobile devices to install the application. I described my adventures with the crashing Sephora application a long time ago, so it seems to me that it is a controversial activity when it comes to increasing sales.
– Repeating the same information and directing to one subpage from (sic!) Three places on the main page. Why not 5? 6?
This is obviously not the most annoying thing about using Sephora.
What? What? You will ask. I’m happy to answer.
– The store does not show the current inventory levels when presenting the product list. What does it mean? Seemingly, all products are available for sale, only after entering the product details it turns out that the product is unavailable and cannot be added to the basket. In my opinion, this is the second most frustrating thing about online shopping – it wastes my time and makes me distrust the offer presented by the store.
Good practice: many stores, if an item is missing – its picture grayed out or it gives the word “Product unavailable” – or it does not show it on the list.
And what are your favourite online shops?
Amazon will be soon available in Poland so it might be a game-changer. We’ll see.