How Google is Losing Nexus One Buyers
I went to Google's page expecting to be able to quickly understand what all the fuss is about -- without having to watch a video, view it in 3D mode, look at a gallery, or anything equally time-consuming (this is the age of 140 characters and short attention spans, remember?). I'm not in the market for the Google phone, but I was curious about it, and for argument's sake let's say I were interested: shouldn't the homepage address my immediate questions? You know, like:
1. What are its features?
Google fails to answer 3 out of 5 of those fundamental questions. Apple answers all of them and more. Google's page suggests they do not yet know how to sell their phone, or don't care to sell to anyone but pre-sold geeks, whereas Apple are the world masters at selling to everyone, geek and mere mortal.
Does Google's phone have an app store? Who knows? It ain't mentioned on the home page, so I guess not!
I was especially curious about Nexus One's syncing capability. I hear, via word of mouth, that it is awesome, automatic, and seamless -- way better than iPhone's clunky old-skool manual syncing. I wanted to know about it right away from the home page of, you know, the official site. But guess what? I could not find any mention of syncing (or any other features), and I could not find a "Features" link, so I took a chance and clicked on "Technical Specifications", which sent me here:
What can I do here? Good grief, there isn't even any navigation! Fundamental design failure. I mean, what is the NUMBER ONE BEHAVIOR the company wants out of people when they land on this page? BUY THE PHONE, right? Where is the affordance to BUY? How do I navigate back to the home page? How do I find out the features & benefits? How do I learn more about why I should buy this phone? Incredibly, Google does not let me do anything on this page. It might as well be a PDF or a printed product sales sheet.
One might say, Google is practicing "ship early and often", and the page is "good enough". Well, it doesn't pass my "Boris" test (as in Gudonov, or, "Good Enough"). Or as Cory Doctorow recently put it so eloquently, "close enough for rock and roll." Such major omissions on Google's part are, in my opinion, pretty inexcusable. With a few minutes of improvements, I bet Google would see an instant increase in buy orders.
Based on the current design of the Nexus One site, Google seems to be only interested in selling to technical customers, geeks, who are already ready to buy and need little to no information about the phone.. Hence, the loudest, most obvious call-to-action on the homepage is the blue "Get your phone" button (no mention of "buy", notice). But if you are one of the 6.9 billion other people in the world, those who are not super geniuses, and maybe you need some REASONS to buy before you proceed, you are not given a lot of helpful information.
Contrast this with Apple, who are keenly aware that customers have many, many choices from many, many vendors, and furthermore Apple is keenly aware that customers are keenly aware of this. So Apple's iPhone site gives you all kinds of eye candy and lots of clear information and calls-to-action to find out more so that you will quickly a) be informed and b) be ready to buy. I have to conclude from Google's design that they either overlooked this "other market" or are not interested in it at this time.
Google, I suggest you rev the Nexus One site pronto. Study Apple's site, identify the TOP THREE behaviors / actions you want out of users on each page of your site, and provide clear, obvious affordances (links, buttons, whatever) that the user sees right away, so the user can do something rather than leave unsatisfied. Like I did.
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