"Stop! Before we can show you our products we need to know who you are."

Imagine this. You’re about to head through the doors of your local supermarket. Suddenly an overenthusiastic customer assistant stops you by standing directly in front of you and asks “Welcome! Before I can show you any of our products, I need to know who you are. What is your job role?”

Now for a more realistic, yet equally absurd scenario. Imagine you’re at work and you’ve heard about this company which sells great tools which could potentially help you with a project you’re working on. You head to their website to check out their products.

By this point you’re already thinking in terms of specific products. So when you arrive at the vendors website, you click the products tab hoping to browse all products. Instead you are greeted with a screen which asks you to first select your job role. At this point you start asking yourself lots of questions:

  • “If I select the wrong option will still get to see all of the products,, or will I have to click back and select another option?”
  • “None of those job titles match my role - is this not for me?”
  • “Do you actually have any products, or are you selling consultancy?” This is something I’ve seen time and time again in the enterprise software market and to be honest it sucks.

If you’re doing this, then please stop! It’s a horrible user experience. By asking users who they are when they’re exploring your product pages you’re:

  • Getting in the way of users exploring your products.
  • Making potential users feel uncomfortable by asking questions about who they are before they’ve even seen what you offer.
  • Creating a opaque and ambiguous first impression of your product offering. At the point at which your potential customer (or end user) is most engaged and ready to ask you lots of questions about your products block them from exploring by forcing them to tell you their job role!