The User Experience Blog

November 20, 2009

Slick User Experience

When was the last time you found yourself saying, “oh cool…a calculator!!!”

Well unless you have a thing for calculators (a different user experience all together, so I’m told 😉 ), then calculators don’t float anyone’s boat, much less write about the User Experience of an online payment calculator. One of the first user interface devices on the WWW was the advent of payment calculators. But why did it take so long to find one with such a user friendly experience???

Take a look at the image below and see what I am referring to. There are the 3 slider bars so you can see in real time what your payments will be for the vehicle, not having to refresh the page each time! No more of the old fashioned method of put in a variable, hit calculate, see what the difference is and then write down notes to yourself to view the payments. With this interface you adjust the variables in real time and the payments are reflected back to the user!

What a great User Experience! As the end user I dont have to write down notes, compare, refresh, enter data, refresh, rinse & repeat. The user experiences instant results with the adjustments and can quickly move on to a purchase.
So what? So what I’m in Human Resources…I’m in the tire kicking business…remember this: if you make the user experience friendly and where the information is readily available not only will the customer be more inclined to buy (and keep you in business) but your job became that much easier!

A great example of a making a product with the end user in mind when they built the device! Good job!

September 24, 2009

Put Me Back On Hold!!!

There was a time, not in this decade or the current century…but there was a time, back in the 1990’s that I experienced the BEST user experience for being on hold. I even told the Customer Service Rep to put me back on hold!

Stop and ask yourself, what could possibly make a user experience so great from being on hold that a person would prefer to sit on hold instead of having their issue resolved? And this was for a Fortune 100 company!!!

Now to add another ingredient to this user experience pie…the telephone hold music/service was for a company called……………………………….Microsoft.   Yup.   I called Microsoft with a headset question and the experience was the BEST user experience for a telephone wait system.

What made this user experience so outstanding that more than ten years later I am thinking of it, I remember the company and now blogging about it?

  1. It was a live person on the hold channel,

  2. The person would play great, upbeat songs while waiting,

  3. The live person/Disc Jockey would come on after the song and give an update;

    “Those of you waiting for hardware support, there are now 8 of you waiting with the longest person in que waiting for 5 minutes”

    “Those of you waiting for video game support, there are 12 of you waiting with the longest person in que waiting for 9 minutes”

    “Those of you wait………..”

    “I know that the representatives are making progress towards answering all of your calls but while we wait, here’s another tune by XYZ band!!!

  4. The music was upbeat/tempo/positive

  5. The DJ would update after each song and was upbeat/positive

This is/was a great user experience service!!!!Leave a comment here if you know of this service being used or of another great similar service!

The Best Phone Hold Wait Service

The Best Phone Hold Wait Service

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The results are in from last week’s poll question and the results are pretty astounding:

  • 90% of 200 votes were split between the frustration of calling a government office for an answer and the long tailed voice message recording
  • Everyone can customize their greeting, why not customize the ending of the message? Eliminate the message, shorten the directions, or just go to beep?  (remember the phone answering machines…we never left directions on how to hold on or push one….just a silly/clever message).
  • The astounding part…the phone carriers can do something about there messages. But we have to demand it!

July 22, 2009

Benjamin Floyd, The User Experience. Does the Message Match the Image

The User Experience…does the message match?

This reminds me of the silly signs and newspaper ads Jay Leno used to show once a week. Why didn’t anyone/someone/everyone notice this? Ask yourself…would you want to attend this seminar?

Happiness Lecture

July 16, 2009

Benjamin Floyd, The User Experience. Time for a New Convention?

A convention is simply a standard.  Not the convention hall or a group of people meeting but rather a conventional standard accepted by the mainstream of the population. Only an extreme innovation can break a traditional convention and thus become a new convention in itself.

For example, here are a list of accepted conventions in use today:

  • The numbers laid out on an ATM machine
  • Looking for the shopping cart symbol online to buy something or to check out.
  • The keyboard (which hasn’t drastically changed in close to 80 years).

As some people may know, the majority of websites no longer need the “www” typed at the front of a web address. Most hosting servers ignore the WWW and simply take the unique address, such “theUserExperience.wordpress.com“…there is a quantifiablie metric to give your boss!!! Instead of typing the 3 letters and the “dot”, you have just increased your productivity! Think of how much more company time you can spend surfing the WWW by NOT typing in the WWW. But I digress.

So I am looking at my keyboard the other day and it dawned on me that it is time for an update to the keyboard!  There should be a “.com” button.  Statistically the “.com” address is still by far the most used Internet address extension in use. iPhone has integrated their browser with a “.com” button….why not break the convention of a traditional keyboard and ADD a new button….the “Dot.Com” button. Simply have one button that you click and it puts in a complete “.com” for the address.

So on the front end we are saving the time, steps, and keystrokes by not typing in the “WWW.”, IF you know this information.

But we can carry this over to the back end of the Internet and simply create a new button on each/every keyboard with a “.com” button.
Yes, I am aware that there are keyboards & mice that can be programmed to run an application, put in this extension, a host of things. But this takes time and special skill. What I am proposing is a new convention to the old keyboard by adding one button, strategically placed, that will increase the User Experience by simply clicking one button.

My thoughts: once you used this button for a day, most people would not want to use the older keyboards and would upgrade. Perhaps we can start a stimulus package to recall the old keyboards and start the new ones rolling!!!  🙂

Here is a very rough drawing of where I put the button and how it would take dominance on a keyboard as the Internet has become so integral in most aspects of life.

New Convention with a new Keyboard

New Convention with a new Keyboard by TheUserExperience.Wordpress.coom

Your thoughts? Comments? I would appreciate the feedback on not just this idea but breaking a convention and starting a new one.

July 5, 2009

Benjamin Floyd, The User Experience. The Customer AFTER the Purchase

Filed under: Uncategorized — theuserexperience @ 10:08 pm
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The following quote is from Krylon Spray Paint’s home page:

Kyrolon Home Page Quote

When the customer goes to make the purchase it is easy to know which color is inside the can…

Cans with Caps

Now after the purchase and a couple of uses, what color is inside the same can?

Spray Paint Color is Now....

Why can’t a LARGE sample of the color be on the outside of the can and not just on the cap?


Innovation…must pertain to their large variety of colors, not the simple innovation of making the user experience a good one!

June 22, 2009

Benjamin Floyd, The User Experience. What happened? Why did it change?

Filed under: Uncategorized — theuserexperience @ 11:34 pm
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First the word was “natural“.  Mother Earth grew it and the farmers did nothing special to it. They sent it to market.

Now everything is “organic“. Mother Earth grew it and the farmers did nothing special to it. They sent it to market.

Now there are nationwide stores charging astronomical prices (and getting it!!!) by changing the word from “natural” to “organic“.

So what happened? Why did it change?   $$$$$$$  And that changed the User Experience. By this one simple word change an entirely user experience is perceived.

June 15, 2009

Benjamin Floyd, The User Experience. Ego versus the User Experience

Filed under: Uncategorized — theuserexperience @ 9:58 am
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Take a look at the following sign.

Ego vs User Experience

Ego vs User Experience

Ego versus the User Experience. This is a brand new orthodontics store that opened. What exactly makes this a bad user experience BEFORE the customer walks in the door?

  1. The doctor’s last name is obviously PAYNE.

  2. The word/name PAYNE is the LARGEST word on the signage, not the fact this is an orthodontics store.

  3. Does it matter what the doctor’s name is on the signage? Will this draw customers in?

  4. Payne is pronounced the exact same way as the word P-A-I-N.

  5. Which customer would like to step forward and PAY good money to have braces that are painful? (those people that have been through braces realize there will be pain but why advertise it as a good thing)?

  6. What do children say when they read where they are going to have braces placed? Will they pronounce the word as P-A-I-N? You bet!

Too many businesses put their self image/ego in front of the customer. Watch television ads of owners of small businesses, auto dealerships, or in this case, an orthodontist. Have they accomplished a good business to afford being on television? Obviously. Have they accomplished a great task by going through medical school and dentistry school? Of course. But to sell… you must sell the user experience.

Placing your name or face into the marketing is usually not the best way to convey the user experience the customer will have with the company.  The objective is to have customers wanting to come back to the business.  Provide the outstanding user experience and the customers will come… not because of the name or face with the product/service.

May 24, 2009

Benjamin Floyd, The User Experience. National Stores that Missed the Boat

Filed under: Uncategorized — theuserexperience @ 9:49 am
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There are certain “given” items for businesses to have in this day & age. The main item is to have a web page. However so many companies miss the boat when it comes to their web page.  They dont stop and ask a simple question:

Why would a customer (or potential customer) come to our website?

Take a look at these 4 U.S. national chain stores and ask yourself these questions:

  1. Why would a customer come to this website?
    > To buy something or look up the information for the nearest store?
  2. Why is the store locate button buried or blended into the page?
  3. Is it reasonable to expect that the majority of customers coming to this website looking for store location information or to browse/shop?

These national chains have the money to design an information rich website but lost the user experience. If a customer is frustrated with finding the nearest store location, what is their pre-disposition to the store? Or to coming back to the website?

Home Depot

Walgreens

Sears

Best Buy

May 21, 2009

Benjamin Floyd, The User Experience. 20-50% More!!!

Filed under: Uncategorized — theuserexperience @ 8:43 am
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Has anyone noticed the latest marketing ploy being utilized by a growing number of food companies? They look alot like this:

  • 20% MORE
    More Taste Than The Other Potato Chips

  • 30% More
    Taste Than The Other Leading Mustard

I would guess that you have seen these as bloggers tend to read. But the vast majority of people will not take the time to read the fine print. It is a sentence that clearly states that it is just a number referring to the taste, not the quantity.

When a user approaches the display the LARGE print gives the impression that there is 20 or 30 percent more product in this package. But that is not the case. It is a random number that the company is using for the illusion of a better deal, which, it isn’t.

The user experience is this: A short term gain for a long term loss. Once people begin to realize that this short term marketing ploy is referring to something other than quantity, there will be backlash. John F Kennedy once said, “Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names”! That statement will hold true for this user experience.

A short term increase in sales however people will NOT forget the feeling of having been “used” or “taken advantage of”. I know I wont. I find it insulting and a clear demonstratition of a user experience that can not have a long term upside.

In these tough times, people want a better deal for their money, not the illusion of a better deal.

May 6, 2009

Benjamin Floyd, The User Experience. Stop and Think

Filed under: Uncategorized — theuserexperience @ 5:12 pm
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Stop and Think

Why didn’t someone stop and think 10, 20 years ago for the following recent “inventions/improvements”?

  • Ketchup bottles being inverted, easy to squeeze, no watery liquid?
  • Baby strollers with built in bottle holders?
  • The customer service needed button in large department/box stores?
  • Square headed screws instead of “flat/Phillips” screws?

Why are manhole covers always round? Because over 100 years ago the designers stopped and thought about the problem they were solving. And the geometric shape of a circle is the only design that can be used and NOT have the cover fall into the hole.

When looking at your product or service, stop and think: How will the user actually use this product? How can our product/service be re-designed to make the simple change that makes a big difference in the use/outcome?

For example, why does a brand of shampoo and conditioner come in identical containers? Brand identity and recognition. Great. But why not make the caps different colors so you can tell them apart? Or a raised letter “S” and “C” on the shampoo and conditioner impressed on the caps? Why do you have to stop and read the bottle each time?

Stop and think.

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