UX of Everyday Things

Drunk Kayla & Uber UX

I had a few after-work drinks last Friday and caught an Uber home — this was always the plan, although I probably had one (or three) too many drinks on an empty stomach and was a little drunk (not part of the original intention). I lost my phone and this is a story of that UX. 

Bad Error Messages Are Harming Your Users - The UX of Error Messages

Bad Error Messages Are Harming Your Users - The UX of Error Messages

Research shows error messages increase cortisol (the stress hormone) levels in individuals when they were interacting with computers that faced a system breakdown. Our error messages are physically harming individuals; we have a responsibility to consider the UX as to not affect our users health.

UX of Travel - Booking Flights

I'm recently back from a holiday. A proper holiday. As in, not staying a few extra days at the end of a conference, or after business, but a proper holiday. But, being me, I of course still had UX running through my head. 

In the process of looking for flights, on multiple websites, I became extremely frustrated. The UX of travel is highly documented elsewhere (think the posts on re-designing boarding passes) and I've not analysed anything in great detail. Just a passing note to say: why can't I search for flights based on the arrival time, as opposed to departure time. Think about it, when you are on holiday you might need to be somewhere by a particular time, and it would be much easier than trial and error of different times and looking at when they arrive (especially because of the time difference, even if you know it's a 14 hour flight that math is well beyond my comfort level). The websites that are trying to aggregate and provide a better experience should consider putting in the arrival time feature. 

What do you think? Would you use this feature?

UX of Faucets

I was recently staying in a brand spanking new house, literally brand new no one else has stayed in there before. It's interesting to see the few issues that have arose from incorrect installation as the builders weren't considering UX. 

Remembering that UX is not just what happens when we interact with the product, but the feelings and experience before, during and after use. 

Picture this. It's 10degrees (50F) and you want a shower to warm up. The house is cold because it's new and heaters have never been turned on. It's tiled which isn't helping with the temperature and you're covered in goosebumps. You get in to the shower and you see a faucet that looks like the one pictured. Generally, turning left is hot (red) and turning right is cold (blue), however this particular faucet had blue indication on the right (hot) and red on the left (hot). So, despite my natural expectations, I followed the labels on the tap and nothing but cold water came out. I waited a few seconds and the water had not warmed. I turned on the bathroom sink to make sure the hot water was working and confirmed that it was. With arms going blue from the old, I decided to try moving the faucet to the other side where it indicated cold water would come out. A viola hot water! 

Bad UX indeed. 

UX of le Grill

After a sleepless night, I decided to give up on trying to make it to the land of nod and get up and do some work. After a few hours I decided it was breakfast time, and I could have a nice cooked breakfast before heading to work. Being in the new house, I was working with an oven I'd never come across. I decided to grill an English muffin and upon looking at the nob on the oven it was not evident at all what symbol was what. I clicked them around a bit, putting my hand in the oven to see what was on and no luck. I ended up having to get out the oven instructions (quoting The Simpsons "le grill - what the hell is that!") and decode what the funny symbols were meant to be. 

Iconography is difficult. This is why we need to user test! 

Iconography is difficult. This is why we need to user test! 

UX of Everyday Things - Ultrasounds

Today I has an ultrasound; nothing serious or exciting to report, other than my UX observations. 

The machine used was a Phillips xMatrix not dissimilar to the device pictured, taken from  www.jakenmedical.com. 

Being a UX designer, while trying to take my mind off the procedure, I was studying the buttons and making mental notes about how the operator knew just what to do with these seemingly randomly placed, and unlabelled, buttons and how much training he must have had. This confusing interface lives in an environment where mistakes must be eliminated. 

As he was operating the machine I noted the positives of his experience. The machine enabled him to attach different sized sensors, with long cables to reach the patient (i.e me) without dislodging from the ports. The machine is "easily" operated with one hand, while the other is used to manipulator the sensors over the patients body. 

I was thinking how well everything was going, all about the UX when I experienced the bad UX I thought such a confusing design afforded - the operator had been entering the wrong labels on the images, and there was no way for the system to go back and change the label to what the organ really was. He then had to delete said images, and redo those parts of the ultrasound, giving me a prolonged ultrasound and a negative experience for all.

My 20 minute ethnography was insightful, it would be an interesting exercise to redesign these machines to improve the UX for both patient and operator.