On a frequent basis, we all try to complete a task online and get horribly frustrated. Forms are unintuitive, important pages are hidden, instructions are wrong—sites can be plain unhelpful.
When you have to force yourself through a task that’s valuable, but you have an unnecessarily difficult time, your bad experience can also give value to the people behind that website or service. As a UX Designer, I can tell you that clear, honest communication about what task was being worked on and why it was considered difficult is extraordinarily helpful and helps me make things better faster.
So, allow me to give you a boilerplate email that you can send that stands the best chance of creating change. Send it through a contact form for the company, or hunt down the best email you can find that might relate.
Not everyone will care, but I can promise you that this tone and level of detail will give your feedback the best chance of being heard and accepted.
Please forward this message to your design/UX department responsible for [website/service].
Today, I was using [website/service], and I was trying to [task you were trying to complete]. I had more trouble than I think I should have. I hope this feedback might help you improve!
When I tried to [specific part of task], I was expecting to [define ideal experience for this part], but I ended up having trouble because [describe specific problem you noticed].
[Repeat the sentence above as many times as is needed. Try to be specific, but also try not to list more than 3-5 in this email.]
I [was/was not] able to complete all of what I came to do, but I believe some changes could make [task you were trying to complete] much easier for people like me.
If you have any questions, please feel free to reply to this email. I’m happy to help.
This is a helpful format for two main reasons.
First, most people responsible for design/UX are interested in the dissonance between what someone expects to be able to do with ease and what they’re actually able to do. This can, oftentimes, be hard to measure without feedback. Structuring your feedback in a way that contrasts your expectations with reality helps a designer understand the situation quickly. It also lets them focus on your desired outcome, which is truly the most important thing to design for.
Second, a clear, but generally nice tone invites conversation. Quick, angry emails about how awful something was might get heard, but will lack the potential for true engagement and empowerment to make things better.
My hope is that having a boilerplate for you to come back to will help you avoid angry emails (or no email at all), so that you can send helpful ones instead. I encourage you to save this as a template in your email program and channel your frustration into feedback the next time your online experience is lacking.