Archive for the ‘user experience’ Category

Here’s a great presentation by Sally Hogshead about the seven “fascination” triggers (or “buy mechanisms”). This Slideshare precedes Sally’s book “Fascinate” due to be released next month – sure to be another hit

This is definitely worth bookmarking and checking out. Also, check out Sally’s website. Great info.


One early morning this week I stopped by my local office supply store (a store that rhymes with shtaples) to pick up a few needed items for my current to-do list.

I noticed a young-ish couple at the end of an aisle with puzzled looks on their faces, pressing the corners of a video screen mounted above what seemed to be, from a distance, a printer display. I edged closer, intrigued by their confusion. Now, I’m not one who normally enjoys office supply store voyeurism, but my interest is always piqued when I see interactive in store advertising. So of course, I had to watch.

Once they walked away bewildered (and not purchasing said product) I headed over to check out the display myself. Sure enough, it had the appearance of an interactive kiosk. However, it was NOT an interactive kiosk. Just a video display. Icons on each corner of the screen gave the impression that one could go “home”, “print”, “go forward” or “go backward”. Pressing on the “buttons” did nothing. Except make that couple very confused. And embarrassed.

See a video of the kiosk here.

What supported this assumption of interactivity? Perhaps the fact that this advertising was for HP’s new web printer – where you can print directly from the web without being connected to a computer in any way. Why wouldn’t such a high tech product be supported by an interactive kiosk? Had I not watched the couple before me be fooled by the usability (or lack thereof), I probably would have reacted the same way my first time at the kiosk.

Most customers don’t like to feel fooled, or feel LIKE fools. I know I don’t. I can guarantee I will not have a second go at any experience that leaves me feeling negative. So if you are going to create advertising that even remotely has the appearance of being interactive, you better make sure that it is. Otherwise, provide content in the form of print support so that customers know that the kiosk is a video only display. In this day and age, people have come to expect a rock solid ad campaign for high tech products (thanks a LOT, Apple) so you either need to give the customers what they want, or quit trying to fake them out.

What’s the lesson? If it’s going to look like a duck, and sound like a duck, make sure it’s a duck. Otherwise the brand just might get goosed.


Interactive kiosks are becoming more and more common these days, drawing in users with interactivity. Here’s an example of an interactive kiosk display that works well:

Seth says:

Now, more than ever, we need to shake things up.

Now, more than ever, we need a different way of thinking, a useful way to focus and the energy to turn the game around. I hope a new ebook I’ve organized will get you started on that path. It took months, but I think you’ll find it worth it the effort. (Download here).

Here are more than seventy big thinkers, each sharing an idea for you to think about as we head into the new year. From bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert to brilliant tech thinker Kevin Kelly, from publisher Tim O’Reilly to radio host Dave Ramsey, there are some important people riffing about important ideas here. The ebook includes Tom Peters, Jackie Huba and Jason Fried, along with Gina Trapani, Bill Taylor and Alan Webber.

Here’s the deal: it’s free. Download it here. Or from any of the many sites around the web that are posting it with insightful commentary. Tweet it, email it, post it on your own site. I think it might be fun to make up your own riff and post it on your blog or online profile as well. It’s a good exercise. Can we get this in the hands of 5 million people? You can find an easy to use version on Scribd as well and from wepapers. Please share.

Have fun. Here’s to a year with ideas even bigger than these. Here’s a lens with all the links plus an astonishing array of books by our authors.

Heather Says: Seth – thanks for this great E-Book. I found it to be a great read, and a valuable learning experience. Stay tuned for my riff.

Want to page through the EBook now? Here it is:

Times have sure changed since I was in junior high. Long gone are the days of your basic book-report and boring poster board presentations. Now it’s websites, and movie creations posted to YouTube. Thanks to advanced technologies, teachers and students alike are treated to an “experience” that is far more powerful than the old book-report in front of the class fallback.

It’s really rewarding to watch your children embrace both the old school and new school, simultaneously, as my eldest did this week when preparing her version of a online movie presentation of George Orwell’s “Animal Farm”.

Over the course of a week she story-boarded, scripted, voiced, enlisted her sisters voices, shot video, rendered, and uploaded her movie to present in class tomorrow.

Here’s the video:

Yes, I’m proud.

Kudos to Ribbit Mobile for figuring out why their Ribbit instructions on the website wouldn’t work for the Blackberry.  For those of you experiencing the same thing, all you need to do is enter *712064531140 and press SEND/CALL on your Blackberry. Then log back into Ribbit Mobile to complete registration.

Then you can use their service. I’ve been using it for several days now, allowing calls to go through to VM and getting the texts sent to me. Their voice recognition software is only as good as the voice mail that is left. But never fear, you can still hear the original voicemail either by calling the new VM number they give you or listening to it directly from the web interface.  I still stand by my original post – Ribbit needs to work the bugs out of the user interface, but they still get two thumbs up for figuring out the problem and sending me directions for resolution.

As a writer who works in the interactive design industry I’m frequently exposed to new technologies far sooner than the average consumer. I like to think of myself as a post-Beta Beta tester. Most times I have great experiences with a new technology or web experience and can’t wait to tell everyone about it. Sometimes, though, I have the rare experience of a new technology that isn’t completely prepared to be presented to the public. Case in point:

Yesterday I received an invite from a UX friend to check out Ribbit. Their claim to fame, besides giving Google Voice a run for it’s money, is their conditional call forwarding technology that allows users to receive their voice mails as text messages.  Since I’m a fan of anything that sounds like it will make my life easier, and/or is high tech or web related, I decided to give it a try.

The sign-up process itself was fairly easy – a basic fill in form, with easy to follow call outs. When it came to activating the service, however, things got a little dicey. I’m pretty savvy when it comes to tech and products, but in this case, I was flummoxed as how to perform the task they wanted me to accomplish.

Looks simple enough, right? Nope. No it’s not. I didn’t have the option of having two numbers entered into my phone before hitting the call button. I can’t think of any time when any Blackberry user would – so this was incredibly foreign to me. Of course, my first “thought” was that I was doing something wrong.  Though, being a stubborn techie, I gave it a go anyway entering in the numbers in the only way that made sense. There were no directions for my specific phone, after all, and their own site said that Blackberry users (me) and Verizon Wireless customers (also, me) could use their service.
This is where “content” should have come in. Before this screen should have been another screen which allowed me to choose my phone style and wireless carrier, and then the UI should have provided me with step by step “phone specific” Ribbit install instructions.
But no such luck. I had moved forward, fingers crossed, that their simple graphic would get me where they wanted to go. Mea Culpa. I got a big #fail.

Another problem? You’re zero for two here, Ribbit. This. Is. Not. Awesome.  Properly placed “content” could have stopped this problem before it started. Remember, one of the most important aspects of user experience is making the user feel positive emotion so that not only will they return, but also pass along the information about the business/product/service. At this fail point, I’ve got zero positive emotion bringing me back. By now I had decided I’d give up on Ribbit. I just don’t need a piece of technology that makes me feel like I making a mistake because their processes are missing a few steps.

I wish I could say I left Ribbit and it’s issues behind. Except now I have a new problem. I can no longer get to my voice mails through my Blackberry. When I try, I get a shrill alarm sound that goes off in my ear and the call won’t go through. The only way I can hear my messages is to call my number from another line.  That’s pretty sad when you need a second phone to check the messages on your mobile phone. It sort of defeats the purpose of being mobile.  In the meantime, I am waiting for a developer/rep from Ribbit to figure out how to undo what their instructions had me do. It’s been more than 24 hours since first contact, and all they’ve done so far is ask me to tell them exactly what happened, step by step. No answers on how to undo the voicemail problem, however.

What’s the lesson? Don’t rush to be a post-Beta Beta unless you’ve done your homework. And if you have that gut feeling that a website isn’t giving you all the instructions? Stop.

Take my advice, dear reader.  Wait until they work the bugs out.