Contact forms are always at the bottom of a webpage and always look the same. This challenge is the opportunity to break the rules!
My “Contact Us” Story
Have you ever had an Amazon order that’s shown as delivered but you had no idea where it went? I have. A few times, in fact. My first time trying to resolve that issue did not go very well. So did the second time. And the third time.
As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, here is a journey map of my experience with resolving the missing Amazon package mystery:
Why “Contact Us”?
Why do people need to “Contact Us”? Sometimes they are curious or friendly or adventurous, and there is also a good chance they need help. Most of the time, people have a specific issue or two in their mind, and they want an answer or a solution. A.S.A.P.
Whether people like to admit it or not, they are likely confused and stressed when they make their way to “Contact Us”. If it is hard to find or does not help establish the relationship with “us” quickly, people may soon get frustrated and discouraged. That kind of negative feelings could accumulate over time and amplify in scale.
Design Strategy — Be Contextual
My design strategy is to be contextual — nowadays almost our every click and tap can be tracked by the companies, and it’s common they use those data to predict what we like or influence our future actions. So why can’t that be the solution to help customers with their issues?
If Amazon can use what product pages I browsed in the past to predict what I might be interested in buying next, then they could also know the context when I have a problem with a particular order.
If most customers’ mental models were like mine, when there’s something wrong with an order, they’re likely to start with the order details, and look for whether they can get help from right there, then placing “Contact Us” in a more prominent position seems reasonable. Since the context could be specified with a known order already, there’s no need to ask people to choose why they “Contact Us”.