Consistent User Actions

This morning I was in my local Tesco supermarket and noticed a classic case of inconsistency between the message and the action.

I am a seriously big fan of the self service checkouts in Supermarkets. Not only have they reduced queues but they’ve made it entirely possible to dehumanise the entire experience of food shopping; which, when the customer service is often so bad, can actually be a positive thing.

I’m also a fan of using my own bags, so I press the “Are You Using Your Own Bags?” option. At this point I receive two messages which don’t match the action:

A voice suggests I place my bags on the packing section and then press “Go”

The screen suggests I place my bags on the packing section and then press “Go” but shows me a button labelled “Continue”

It may seem trivial to point this out, that both mediums suggests “Go” and the actual next step saying “Continue” but it had me scanning the real estate for a few seconds before realising it was a mistake. Other users may not find this so trivial.

And in many contexts, this simply doesn’t matter, but as a Tester it’s important to check for consistency between prompts, advice, help, information, guidance and the actual action or process.

In some contexts this consistency could be very important.