Today I had the fortune to learn about the folks at Mattapan Mobile Farm Stand and their plans to deliver locally grown fresh food into areas that are in need of freshly grown food. They’re also planning on on doing it on bike. How cool is that? What a good thing to have happening around us. But, as you can imagine, they need cash and are trying to raise $7k to get the project started. This isn’t a massive sum but it’s not trivial either so there is an active social campaign underway to gather this initial seed money. Again, all cool stuff and the kind of thing I’m generally happy to support so I did. But it wasn’t easy. Not that parting with my money wasn’t easy but actually getting my money to them wasn’t easy and here’s why:
As I suspect a lot of people did, I saw a tweet about the Mattapan Mobile Farm Stand on my phone. I thought it was great and wanted to help. I clicked the link to take me to the contribution page and selected the contribution amount and clicked next. From here I was taken to the payment page where I saw that Paypal was one of my options which was great as I’m a fan/user of their service. When I selected Paypal however the authentication process of Paypal was loaded inside a modal box as was the final confirmation screen of Paypal. Have you tried interacting with any type of nested box on any mobile browser on any type of phone? Painful.
At this point I had to really want to contribute to the project because the incentive was there to bail. Too many boxes, too many hidden navigation buttons and way too many questions. I’m not blaming the site developers at all (but I wish they’d think mobile) but it did make me wonder why the process was so tedious. There were over 5 steps involved in me making a very small donation which just feels like a lot of friction for a simply task. If there aren’t already better systems then there should be. I can imagine something more like Eventbrite that already has my Paypal info (or LevelUp, Square, etc.) and the link I click from Twitter on my iPhone takes me directly to this page (or app) and I simply selected the amount and hit submit. 2 steps.
Maybe this already exists and I’m just not seeing it but the last few times I’ve run into cases where I’ve wanted to donate money I’ve run into this exact same scenario so if better software does exist the people looking for money aren’t using it. So there’s a software problem or a marketing problem but either way trying to give money away shouldn’t be a difficult task.