Defensive Design

A little while ago I read 37Signals' Defensive Design for the Web. It's a fantastic little reference, covering a whole slew of web design no-no's — I'm noticing all sorts of user experience issues these days that just irk me.

For example, Medium Footwear's online store. This is the 'shoe size' dropdown for the Olive Traditionalist:

Medium Footwear shoe size dropdown

What does this mean? None of these are my size (12). Does this shoe only come in these sizes? Or does it reflect their current inventory? If it's simply out of stock, why can't I just order it so that it ships when it's re-stocked? I emailed their Customer Service folks to check since I dig the shoe; here's their response:
"Eric - The sizes on the website reflect our current inventory. So, we are currently out of the traditionalist in olive in that size. We will be receiving more traditionalists on 1/15/05, but only in the colors chocolate and black. We have discontinued the olive color. Let me know if you'd like me to send you some retailers in your area that may have it."
While an excellent response (thanks Sherri!), this entire process could have occurred on the site itself with some good old fashioned Defensive Design.

Don't get me started on the fact that their entire site is in Flash, which means none of their content is linkable...

1 comment:

  1. Villains on Haight Street in SF also carries Medium shoes, so you might look there.