I attended the Google Analytics Summit this year in Mountain View and they showed a couple of fun videos of what some online experiences were like, but in real life terms. The point of them was to show how someone can use Google Analytics to learn about their users and not to do the dumb stuff that happens in the videos.
The first one is for ‘landing pages’ and a guy is looking for Olives, and he starts getting harangued by the wrong product, related products to the wrong product, combined purchases, forced shopping cart adds, unnecessary confirmations, and ultimately never finding the actual product he wants.
Site Search is another great one. First the products are organized totally unintuitively (by color), and then doing a search, repeating the search, going to advanced search, the search itself doesn’t work very well, provides meaningless low priority returns, then additional filters to bring up the product he wanted originally.
Online checkout shows a guy forced to login to buy bread, unable to remember his login in order to buy a loaf of bread, forces him to agree to some tremendously long terms of service, then times him out because he took too long, gives him a captcha, then quotes a different price than he saw originally, adding different costs he wasn’t aware of, before he eventually gives up.
I really geekily enjoy these videos because I spend so much time considering and working on usability and conversion, and helping people improve user experiences, usability of their websites, and ultimately helping them to work better. I think anyone who has used the internet in the past several years can probably really understand where this guy is coming from. Online ecommerce in particular should be as easy as possible, and convey trust, and help the user get exactly what he wants.