Posted by: bellaviaresearch | January 11, 2010

Hyundai’s New Site: UX Falls Short

As reported in MediaPost’s “Online Media Daily” newsletter, Hyundai just launched a new website.  I was curious to see what sort of customer experience it offers.

One of my neighbors bought a Hyundai last year and loves it.  I am not a Hyundai customer, and I’ve never visited their site or considered one of their vehicles.So I approached the site wondering if there was a vehicle that could work for my family.

The CUVs look like the right sort of vehicle for schlepping around young kids and their bikes (even though I don’t know what a “CUV” is.  Thank you google!  It’s a “Crossover”).  Turns out that Hyundai has a few CUVs.  One immediate burning question for me:  Which of these is best for my family?

Which CUV is best for my family? No clue.

Sitting on the CUV page, there simply isn’t enough information here for me to tell which one of these is most likely to meet my needs.  How is the Tuscon different from the Santa Fe different from the Veracruz?  Clearly price, but what are the other major differences?  Does one sit more than the other?  Have a third row?  Is one more souped up than the other?  There isn’t enough information here for me to tell at a glance.  I guess I have to futz around with the sliders to figure that out, or go elsewhere on this site.

What I want here is some clue that points me in the right direction, meaning towards the CUV that is most likely to be a good fit for me.  I’m sure the info is here somewhere, but I’m not the sort of customer who likes to dig around and waste my limited time.

And that’s not unusual. I once had a customer in a usability test get so frustrated that she stood up and stormed toward the door, with all sorts of colorful language  that the backroom found quite useful for understanding her level of frustration with their website!

Which Santa Fe? No clue.

From the CUV lineup page, I take the safe middle ground and pursue the Santa Fe. But once I’m on the Santa Fe page, I have three Santa Fe’s to choose from.  Again, I can’t easily figure out which one to pursue.  Once again, there isn’t enough information to allow me to make a smart choice, so at a glance I can determine which path is most likely to be fruitful for me.

In conjunction with their agency iCrossing, Hyundai determined that “an important consideration was the number of clicks required to reach information consumers might need to make buying decisions,” and they intended for this new website to provide “simple navigation that allows consumers to explore all the creative elements on the site.” In my opinion, the number of clicks to complete a goal is a shallow metric that generally misses the user experience mark. Customers don’t really care how many clicks it takes for them to fulfill their goals, they really only care about whether the site offers what they need and feels intuitive. If it takes “too many” clicks, customers don’t like that; but what they respond best to is a site that really understands their needs.

In my opinion, for someone looking to answer the question “which Hyundai is best for me and my family,” this beautiful new site falls short of offering a good user experience.  There may be many other wonderful things about this site, but for me it falls short on this fundamental issue.  Based on my time on the new Hyundai site, I have no idea which car is best for me; so far, all I can tell is that they have different price tags.  Was there customer research behind this design?  I can’t imagine I’m the only one out there whose needs aren’t met by this design. Have a different opinion or something to add?  I’d love to hear from you.

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