When was the last time you experienced joy in the process of renewing your domains?
Every so often I get an email from my domain hosting service, GoDaddy, reminding me it's that time of the year. I've collected a few over the years that have become things (www.critbuns.com, www.airbnb.com) and some that haven't become things. Regardless, I've endured GoDaddy's absence of human-centered design approach for over a decade. Conversion is the important lifeblood of a business model, but what's the point if the experience of converting is shitty? What are you really building? Really great, enduring businesses are more than just ATM machines. They create an emotional connection with their customers and deliver on a promise that goes beyond function. This happens when metrics and great design make love. Left brain and right brain create, well, the full brain. One hemisphere doesn't survive without the other. GoDaddy is a great example of all the utility you could ever want in domain management, hosting, etc, yet lacking on the emotional side. The minute I find a competing service with equal utility + that I actually look forward to interacting with, I'm switching. Which is what this post is about.
In 2009 I wrote about GoDaddy's user interface, and a VP responded (below). The conversation covers my frustration. I really appreciated her outreach and reply. This won a lot of points. Four more years of service, in fact. Unfortunately, not much has improved (on the front end) since then. I'm tired of cringing each time I think about logging in to their service. They redesign all the time, but instead of improving, it's like they redistribute the old elements into a different location. This increases the cognitive load as I have to figure out a new set of UI patterns. These days I avoid entering my GoDaddy account for as long as I can. This is a clear sign it's time to move on. I asked the Twitter who they thought provided great service, and here's the unvetted list. Post other services only with great interface design / customer experience in the comments. I'll update this post with the winner after exploring each service's interface – and emotional – fulfillment.