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Sunday, September 03, 2006

Chili's website design

Question # 3 Chili's On-line Design Activity

Human Factors Issues in site design

Human Factors Design Issues

Function. Customers want to order food for delivery which often indicates a desire to save time or have a convenient alternative to cooking or eating out, so the web site would need to be fast, easy to use, and reliable.

The site should be consistent. As covered in class, this is a primary concern. Navigation should be uniform…if the forward button is blue and in the bottom right hand corner it should be exactly the same on every page. If the background is black with red chili peppers in New York, I would expect to see the same thing in Ocala with the same navigation and ordering process. The site should be clear, require little to no learning, and NOT offer "surprises". By this I mean taking me to a "special offer" or advertisement without my express desire. Control of what I see, for how long, etcetera should be my decision…after all, I probably just want food quickly. Special offers and other "surprises" can be clearly marked but not forced.

The customers need to know what is available so a complete menu should be available. The on-line menu should be similar in design to the "regular" menu for people who are regular Chili's patrons, but have additional information available to take the place of asking a waitress questions…for example, photographs of all foods and approximate serving size. Because loading time needs to be kept to a minimum, a written description with a few featured dishes would be on the main page with links to "see' the photo of all other foods.

Customers often have questions about content due to restricted diets. Since a waitress or cook is not available, a complete listing of ingredients, calories, and related information should be included. Once again, to keep the site fast, this would be another option linked to the main page but not part of the primary page.

Ordering should be simple! If a menu item is selected it should be "added to the grocery list' type arrangement. This is a familiar "shopping" method on the net which many customers would be familiar with. So, consistency with Chili's regular menu and consistency with on-line ordering can both be used.

On-line customers want the same choices as regular patrons. If a salad normally has a choice of dressing, it should be available on-line too. So, for potatoes, salads, and other items which typically have several selection choices, the choices should be made available by "clicking' in the little dots to indicate the selection.

Customers should have a complete "run down" of the order available before making it complete, and the ability to make changes before it become final. If an order is incorrect in the restaurant then it can be sent back. When delivering an order this is not convenient or at times…possible. Customers should then verify that is indeed the correct order and then place the final order with payment.

Some regular customers may appreciate being "remembered". A cookie option may be convenient…assuming the security issues from below are taken into account. However, this would probably require a password to ensure others don't order on the account and "bill it" to an unsuspecting parent or co-worker.

The on-line order form should be devoted to information about food and the order. Frankly, the history of Chili's, the current value of stock, or other corporate information is not the primary reason for the visit…so a link to the company home page is fine, but it should not compete with the primary purpose. It might make me wait for dinner…NOT a good thing!

Security, Data Integrity, Reliability, and Availability

Customers will need verification of billing information which should be kept automated so they do not have to calculate the total…including tax…with an option for tips clearly available. The form should be printable.

Customers will need a secure form for payment and for their personal address, phone number, and other information.

The site should be easily viewed by all browsers without having to download a special program, endure error scripts and other irritating messages.

The site should be accessible to handicapped patrons in the same manner the restaurant is expected to comply with the ADA. Alternative means of viewing information should be available, for example, text only versions for persons who use a screen reader.

The site should be "up and running" all the time. A professional ISP service is needed with professional "know how" for hardware and software issues. There is nothing more irritating than irregular service. Customers (especially me) won't return if they have to wait on a meal in person, so it is doubtful customers will use the on-line service if it takes 35 minutes for the restaurant to receive the order… much less if "traffic" is heavy, pages fail to load, orders don't confirm, duplicate orders are processed, etcetera.

Customer service should be made available for problems, both on-line help and more standard forms of communication…like a published phone number in case of hardware or software problems.


Chili's web site. http://www.chili' 

Class notes.

Darnell, M. (1998). Bad human factors design. On-line. Available:

Shneiderman, B. (1992). Designing the User Interface: strategies for effective human-computer interaction.



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