Saturday, January 06, 2007

user requirements

What would you say about a company that left a key piece of information on its web site in the wrong language? It is clearly a user requirements mistake - how can spanish speakers benefit from the information if they can't understand it? This seems like a silly argument (but see below), but in fact many companies do this with technical terminology and company jargon. In both cases, the customer can't use the information.

But in this case, it was likely an intentional effort to confuse users. The company sells generic versions of pharmaceuticals and was forced by a lawsuit to put a disclosure on its web site that its product was not the same as the brand name and in fact had never been tested for effectiveness. They didn't want potential customers to know this, so they used the wrong language. Unfortunately, we can use Human Factors for evil purposes as well.