A Few Current Pet Peeves with Experience Design

by Jeannie Walters

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Sometimes we humans get a little too excited about the latest way to do something. Designers are no exception. Not just web or graphic designers, either, but the folks who make our appliances and cars and double strollers. It’s not the designer’s fault. It’s the way humans get so excited about the “coolest” way to do something that we forget it might not be the “best” way.

Design has to work. Design of anything – product, service, your home, and everything in between – is part of the greater experience you are offering.  In some cases, it works, but not as seamlessly as it could. Are you sure you are designing for the customer experience? Or just to be the latest and greatest? Think about usability in the greater sense of the word – how are your customers using your products from start to finish?

Here, a few recent examples from my life:

oven dial1. An all-too-sensitive dial to set the temperature on our oven.

Tell me how this makes sense. If you want to set the temp to 425, you better have a steady hand. It’s cool, it looks nice, but it’s not ideal. Using buttons or just providing some way to let the user make delicate adjustments (arrows?) would be great.

2. Dropdown fields to select “year born” starting in 1900 and going to 2011.

Ugh. It’s faster and easier to type in the year compared to this. And how many 110 year olds are signing up for an online application? Think about your average user, don’t ignore the outliers, but don’t get lazy.

3. Teeny, tiny necklace clasps

Every woman knows the feeling of breaking a nail, squinting and eventually giving in to a hand cramp with these things. Husbands don’t care for them much, either.

4. Questions on polls that don’t allow for every answer.

While you can not necessarily accommodate for all situations, it’s important you allow an out that makes sense. “Do you live in a townhouse, condo or apartment?” No.

5. Toy packaging.

The need to reduce shoplifting is one thing, the need to frustrate, injure and confound parents is another. Amazon made strides with their “frustration-free packaging” and I think others should take note. That is part of the experience, so you better believe it is valuable.

That’s my hodge-podge of a list. What’s yours?

Featured photo credit: emagic

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Jeannie Walters

Jeannie Walters is the CEO/Founder of Experience Investigators, a global Customer Experience consulting firm. She has 20 years of experience helping companies improve loyalty and retention, employee engagement, and overall customer experience. Jeannie is a Certified Customer Experience Professional (CCXP,) a charter member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA,) a Professional Member of the National Speakers Association, LinkedIn Learning instructor, TEDx speaker, and President-Elect of the National Speakers Association Illinois chapter. Learn more here.

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