Thursday, November 19, 2015

Great Form (@AmericanExpress)

I love this email subscription/preferences form from American Express.  When you click "Unsubscribe" in a newsletter, it shows you the item you just changed (not shown here), and then says "While you're here, here's some other subscriptions you can change.")

When you move your mouse over an option, a box appears around the option, a detail link appears to give you more information and the switch itself wiggles to let you know that it's something to interact with.  (Not sure how it works on mobile which lacks mouseover but am too lazy at the moment to test.  I assume that touching anywhere in the space draws the box and offers up the details link.)

(click to enlarge)
I proposed something similar about four years ago at a previous job where we were exploring a potentially confusing and complex series of newsletter choices.  It wasn't 100% the same (mine used red/green and didn't include the words "on" and "off") but it was pretty clear from those who used it, which newsletters you were subscribed to, which ones you weren't.

I demoed my prototype on an iPad so that people could see how subscribers might interact with it on a mobile device.  The iPad was still pretty new but I figured on/off toggles would make their way to the web because it just made sense.  Checkboxes for newsletter subscriptions usually work, but occasionally you'll get some insane website where it's like "check the box to tell us which newsletters you don't want" or some other such nonsense that makes it hard to trust any checkboxes.  But on/off - super simple.  I was shot down.  Two years later when I left, it was still an all-or-nothing subscription system.  In retrospect, I was simply too early.  (Is this an "I told you so?")

Kudos to American Express for bringing granularity (better to be able to turn individual pieces on and off) without complexity (easy to see what's out and learn more about each choice).  The only thing I don't like is that these don't function like a switch - unlike a light switch, these selections don't actually apply until/unless you also click "Save" at the bottom of the page.  I bet a lot of people neglect to do that and don't understand why they're still receiving email.

And for being a bit of validation and encouragement for me.