What's Wonga with sliders?
11th August 2011
Leading the charge of the short term loan market is Wonga.com . Self-proclaimed as one of the ‘UK’s most innovative businesses’, they offer borrowers loans within minutes and market themselves on the ease of use and immediacy of cash advances. In 11 minutes you can have a loan agreement approved and £400 on its way into your account. It’s (seemingly) that simple.
Of course, as an online-only lender, the success of Wonga.com’s entire proposition relies on an intuitive and transparent online application process. Their latest campaign features the newest tool on their site – the ‘slider’ feature.
The advertising, which features 3 elderly puppets, explains the slider. It makes borrowing so easy to understand that even the oldest, and perhaps by association, most technophobic users amongst us will be able to complete the process. However has Wonga.com made an error of judgment in mixing their metaphors in this way?
It is well known in the accessibility community that sliders are a far from ideal interaction for those with motor impairments, and in particular the elderly community who experience a multitude of problems when attempting fine motor movements. Poor eyesight, limited motor skills and a general lack of familiarity with online processes can all contribute to a user’s inability to confidently and efficiently complete an online loan application. It appears Wonga.com have been guilty of designing a sliding metaphor because they can, rather than because they should.
The slider interfaces are potentially difficult for many users due to the reliance on fine motor controls; the usability of the sliders is also far from ideal. On Wonga.com the visual connection between the slider position and amount/date range selected is not strong. In conjunction with this the visual design of the page places a shadow at the top and right of the text input field, an unexpected positioning for such a shadow, the result is that the interaction is made less clear than it could be.
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This article was written by Jamie Sands. Jamie is a Usability Consultant at User Vision, a usability and accessibility consultancy that helps clients gain a competitive advantage through improved ease of use.