Shoppers will need to manage their account features from time to time. There are many reasons for this:
- A customer who has moved house will need to change their shipping address.
- A customer whose credit card has expired, got lost, cancelled, or changed will need to update their credit card information.
- A customer might just want to track their most recent order.
- A customer might want to view their purchase history in an attempt to monitor spending, find out when they purchased a particular item, or find a tax deductible expense while filing their return.
This is where an account dashboard comes in. It groups all account-related features together in one place for customer convenience. While there are a few ways of doing this, cards are a leading option for many sites.
What are cards again?
Cards are rectangular boxes that group related features together for easy scanning. The number of cards you have and the number of elements they contain depends on the quantity and complexity of your account features.
Here is an example of dashboard cards implemented brilliantly by the outdoor recreation retailer Recreational Equipment Inc (REI):
REI’s implementation is perfect. It’s simple and it’s effective. The design of the cards is consistent in terms of headers, constituent links, and the width of the cards. The only variation is in the height which is acceptable as cards don’t contain the same quantity of information. The cards do their job, which is to let customers see the account features they are interested in at a glance. Anything that distracts from this basic purpose needs to be completely avoided.
You should avoid distractions of any kind on the dashboard. That means no pop-ups and no advertisements of any kind, even for sitewide promotions. They pull customers’ attention from the primary function of managing their account features and might even cause some annoyance.
Avoid visual clutter
Limit the quantity of information displayed on individual cards and on the dashboard in general. Rely on text and links instead of cluttering everything there. Don’t show a customer’s credit card issuer, card number, expiration date, and cardholder name on the dashboard. Just have a “Manage Credit Card” link instead.
Images should also be avoided as they draw customer’s attention and distract from the primary purpose. They contribute to visual clutter which makes it harder to spot specific account features. If you have to use imagery, stick to icons and use them sparingly. Amazon is a great inspiration: