Archives

Hey, How Do I Give You My Money? #wtfUX

Posted by Daniel Brown |01 Sep 15 |

September 1, 2015

Having watched the online shopping process evolve from the very beginning, it would seem that the “basics” elements were settled some time ago: search or browse, select, refine, purchase, and ship. The last two are sometimes combined in some variant of the “buy it now” button, but regardless of what precedes it, the ultimate goal of a shopping site (for both vendor and shopper) is to complete purchases.

With so much research perofmed and so many existing examples of successful shopping sites, how did istockphoto.com manage to miss the mark so badly There I was, ready to hand them my money (a crucial and delicate moment in the shopping process) and it took me a good 15 seconds to find the “buy” button on this page.

Go ahead, take a moment (or 53) and locate the “buy” button.

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By Daniel Brown

             

Which Button to Press at the Pump? #wtfUX

Posted by Daniel Brown |05 Aug 15 |

August 5, 2015

Probably one of the most fundamental considerations of user experience is to not make the user feel like an idiot. It’s not a commonly vocalized goal, but is a good “baseline” philosophy—right after “don’t kill your users” and “don’t blow things up.”

Speaking of flammable situations, gas pumps are the kind of device that (almost) all of us interact on a regular basis. It shouldn’t be a complex interaction, but I’m often surprised. Americans love choice, and we get to choose between multiple brands of gasoline and different octane levels. We are confronted, then, with the “fuel dashboard” at the pump.

odd gas panel design

The good: Large, simple graphics make it clear what the options are while the slightly more difficult to read LCD displays let you know what the going (seemingly random) price per-…read more
By Daniel Brown

             

The Trouble with Car Headlights #wtfUX?

Posted by Daniel Brown |16 Jul 15 |

July 16, 2015

Car designers have gotten smarter about being safer, from finding ways to avoid collisions in the first place (anti-lock brakes, traction control, etc.) to the structure of the car and the materials used to help protect the occupants. Yet, somewhere along the way, a fundamental element of safety got overlooked—it’ i’s (still) possible to operate a moving vehicle at night with its light off.

How is it possible in 2015 to put your car in gear with the engine running and your lights off at night? How is this an acceptable combination of parameters? My car won’t even let me put it in gear unless the brake pedal is pressed. However, once I’ve passed that test, I’m free to accelerate as quickly as I want into inky blackness. How did such a key aspect of safe driving get left to a (forgetful) human brain? When would “unseeing and invisible” be the preferred status of a moving vehicle?

Given the combination of plentiful street lighting and light from surrounding signage, it’s…read more
By Daniel Brown

             

The Trouble with Car Headlights #wtfUX?

Posted by Daniel Brown |16 Jul 15 |

July 16, 2015

Car designers have gotten smarter about being safer, from finding ways to avoid collisions in the first place (anti-lock brakes, traction control, etc.) to the structure of the car and the materials used to help protect the occupants. Yet, somewhere along the way, a fundamental element of safety got overlooked—it’ i’s (still) possible to operate a moving vehicle at night with its light off.

How is it possible in 2015 to put your car in gear with the engine running and your lights off at night? How is this an acceptable combination of parameters? My car won’t even let me put it in gear unless the brake pedal is pressed. However, once I’ve passed that test, I’m free to accelerate as quickly as I want into inky blackness. How did such a key aspect of safe driving get left to a (forgetful) human brain? When would “unseeing and invisible” be the preferred status of a moving vehicle?

Given the combination of plentiful street lighting and light from surrounding signage, it’s…read more
By Daniel Brown

             

The Trouble with Caps Lock #wtfUX

Posted by Daniel Brown |17 Jun 15 |

June 17, 2015

Despite all the battles fought between Mac OS and Windows for operating system supremacy over the years, for users it’s now largely a matter of personal preference (not to mention budget). There are areas where each excels and where each lags.

However, if there is one fall-down, fatal, unbelievably horrible aspect of Windows that would be easy to fix and would leave no one wanting the old way of working, this is it.

iF i TURN ON CAPS LOCK, AND THEN i TRY TO USE THE SHIFT KEY, WINDOWS reverses THE CAPS SETTINGS. aT NO TIME IN ALL OF COMPUTER-USING HUMAN HISTORY HAS ANYONE ever FOUND THIS TO BE USEFUL.

But wait, there’s another surprise in store.

Obviously, Windows has inherited many bad habits from its past since people tend to get annoyed when features are changed or removed, no matter how outdated and useless that feature might be. (Think “paint bucket tool”…read more
By Daniel Brown

             

Don’t Make it Hard for Users to Provide Feedback #wtfUX

Posted by Daniel Brown |03 Jun 15 |

June 3, 2015

While most users provide feedback “for the greater good,” it’s still wise to thank them and encourage them to continue doing so. At the very least, avoid doing things that discourage them from submitting feedback.

Bug reports, feature requests, and general feedback help to populate a company’s “to-do list”—a carefully-curated and painstakingly-prioritized roadmap that defines the features of the product. Each of those features has the potential to further empower existing users and attract new ones.

Within the last few months, I’ve provided feedback to a variety of companies, but two experiences stand out.

The first was with Evernote. I had an idea about how to improve Skitch that would save me from having to jump into Photoshop to get the effect I wanted. A day or two later, they sent me the following message:

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By Daniel Brown