I have been using Wufoo
free of charge for about a year now and have been a satisfied user. It wasn't until last week when I had my first little hiccup that I realized how awesome this web app really is. In case you don't know about Wufoo
... an Internet application that helps anybody build amazing online forms. When you design a form with Wufoo, it automatically builds the database, back-end and scripts needed to make collecting and understanding your data easy, fast and fun. Because we host everything, all you need is a browser, an Internet connection and a few minutes to build a form and start using it right away."
If you need anything from a contact form to an online survey, Wufoo
is a wonderful solution that drops right into your site adapting seamlessly to your design. Their product, however is not what prompted me to write this post. After having a few e-mails get lost in the shuffle I decided to submit a support request. I described my problem and made it to the bottom of the form fields to find something very interesting: they wanted to know my "Emotional State". I clicked on the drop down and asked myself "How DO
I feel about this?", a question I overlooked asking myself earlier in the pending situation. As I scanned the drop-down menu this conversation with myself raced through my head:
"No I am not excited. I am delightfully distracted by the Dino in the upper right hand corner of their site, but not excited about this situation. "Rarrr!" Cute. Confused? No, I am certain there is a problem. I troubleshot every possibility on my end and I know there is nothing I can do. Worried? Well, concerned. What if there is an important e-mail. I know the Chief of Staff has nothing important to talk to me about, but what if someone important like Dooce
wants to get in touch with me. Oh, that is concerning. Upset? If I have missed something urgent in my e-mail box I will feel upset. Panicked? No, There must be a solution. Angry? Of course not. I have been using this service for free for a whole year, how can I really be angry? Worried, Hmph. I am surprisingly worried about this situation." As I made my selection and moved the curser to hit the submit button a feeling washed over me that was unlike anything I had ever felt with a webservice online. I felt like they cared. I felt confident that my problem would be solved. I felt like I was contacting PEOPLE who have beating hearts, and families, who had felt worried about their missing contact e-mails too. How very humane of them! Shortly after this experience my problem was resolved with a giant clump of e-mails to my box and all was right in the world again. Now here I am, blogging about an incident that could have gone downhill very quickly but was positively effected by a detail in their User Interface. A drop down menu that ignores corporate jargon, came to terms with the fact there may actually be a flaw in THEIR
system, and inquired about my emotional state. Imagine if Comcast asked you how you were feeling when your cable went out. Would you think before verbally attacking that poor overworked repair guy? I would love to see a Health Insurance provider have an emotional state Check-in as part of their interface. Imagine feeling like someone actually wanted to help you. Why are humane details like this so often ignored online? I challenge UI designers and Information architects to consider this more often and maybe even track the satisfaction of their customers. As Naz Hamid said at SXSW, "Design is in the Details".