Archive for the ‘Usability’ Category
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You are currently browsing the archives for the Usability category.
It’s funny (and necessary) when i check on my parent’s email accounts to see if “all is well”.
As usual there would be lot of junk/spam/newsletters. For example, i would have mentioned a website/service for my father to check it out. He always manages to sign up for the newsletter unintentionally/intentionally adding more clutter to the inbox.
The primary/promotion/social tabs don’t fool anyone. My parents have no idea about that! That makes sense only to the Power users. Why did it ever get enabled for my parents?
My father’s primary task on email right now is to find the right “mate” for our male golden retriever and a bride for his son, my brother [What a situation!!! no bias here though we love our dog more :-P]
So, there is “hell” of Spam in his inbox from “e-com” websites regarding pets for “sale” [well, that is the reality 🙁 ] and lots of profile matches for my brother’s matrimonial profile on various matrimonial websites. How would you solve this? In a country where “arranged” marriages are a norm even in urban areas, my father has taken to technology to solve this situation. It is not just my parents but other urban families too have jumped on the online matrimonial bandwagon.
In fact, few of my friends & relatives were hitched this way. It is no longer “uncool”, it has become a necessity as many of them have no time to date/ are too shy/ or considered dating taboo! [we’re 3rd world duh!]
Coming back to the problem of electronic mail which still seems complex to my parents : “spam” still being an eternal problem, yet they manage to keep it all [zero!] read. I hope these systems become more intelligent and more empathetic towards the older generation.
Talking about mailers, i noticed that my father took those very personally and he actually replied to them! So now, there is more “mailer daemon” error code emails & frankly my parents till have no idea what “mailer daemon” stands for or what it does. Come on!! we really need to change that, how about “Return to Sender” instead? of all the metaphors used, how come this was neglected? huh?
No matter what fancy technology email has evolved with, there is still some level of frustration with new features & etiquette of the whole email system because they are not designed with normal human users in mind.
There is NO excuse for BAD design.
Machines can be stubborn as hell.
Imagine you have a couple of days to the due date on your credit card payment (you have no internet at home & don’t trust these internet parlors) so you have decided to drop a cheque at the bank’s ATM as (phew!). Simple ain’t it?
Well, the misadventure starts here:
Step 1: locate the nearest ATM using the ATM locator from the website (piece of cake?)
Step 2: Visit the closet ATM which is also the popular because of it’s location in the middle of the city
Step 3: Enter the ATM, find the machine/slot to drop your cheque into the machine and your’re done!
Wow! that is the ideal situation isn’t it? Here is what we faced!
Step 3: Enter the ATM, locate the machine and drop in the cheque and voila!
The cheque is spitted out by the machine so……
Step 4: Insert the cheque carefully into the machine and again it spits out!
(3 times a charm so let’s get it right this time)
Step 5: Insert the cheque carefully into the machine and voila it spits out!
Frustration mounting up! i’ve got a million things to do…. Why isn’t this simple?
What made this machine so full of hate that it rejected my cheque? Why me???
Another customer walks right in and waits for his turn so we decide let’s give him a chance with his cheque instead and viola! The machine just accepts his cheque in the first try itself!
Why me??? Why does the machine hate me?????
After asking for some help from the customer who could successfully get his cheque in, the sudden realization was that the cheque leaf was not “torn” properly from the cheque book hence…. Maybe the machine couldn’t accept it [what??? Where did this mumbo-jumbo come from? Are we 3rd world? Oh my! We are 3rd world!]
So a new cheque leaf is torn out from the cheque book and filled out to be inserted into the machine again and…… wait for it….. it spits it out again!!!!!
We decide that the ATM is jinxed for us [3rd world belief] so that we decide to locate another branch of the ATM, another good 6-7 kms from present location and proceed to find it. My foursquare as usual disappoints when it is in need
So I find it on google maps instead and reach the location amid chaotic traffic
After literally dropping a prayer in the heart… really I want to end this nightmare today… the brand new machine at this ATM is located [makes you feel that since it’s new, it’ll be more nice]
The cheque is inserted to be spit out again and the deja-vu is repeated with a another’s customer turn and his cheque getting accepted.
We give up and discover a quaint bakery with fresh baked cashew cookies.
Next day is Sunday and the ATM circus is apparently useless.
Monday I directly go to the main branch and submit the cheque for collection at the counter. Why? Because the damn machines they had installed were faulty and were taken out for exorcism.
A good book to read:
Microinteractions by Dan Saffer
Had to help Dad reactivate his online trading account with PIPIP bank….boy oh boy…first we had received an activation process by snail mail. The instructions were not clear on how to reactivate, there was only activation info. Used the password in that reactivation process and logged in…it worked…grrrrr…
Then had to fill in rest of the info provided in the activation sheet…again there was no mention whether it was activation or reactivation.
On submission there was a link to login again without logging me out..how did that happen?
After I logged in….again there was no info whether my reactivation was successful or not!
Seriously who build such interfaces which is not humanized and keep you anxious throughout the process.
And don’t even get me started on the multi Browser compatibility…Come on this is 2010 🙁
Talk about virtual keyboard..yeah they are secure but Imagine i strained my eyes to get a look at the keys….imagine my Dad would have to Zoom-in and click on them 🙁
Phew….I just logged in after an hour later to check and found the profile active.
Even after all this frustration if they hadn’t activated the account…I would have just closed that account for Dad 😛
I believe i have the average height of an average Indian female. Now, standing inside a bus (regular BMTC), can be pretty painful if your hand just reaches when you need to hold and you got to painfully stretch your hand and stand!
I shifted from my 2-wheeler to opt for the comfy ride of the Volvo from work to home, (also due to stress & hyper-tension caused by the honkers and the undisciplined traffic!) but Bravo! to the traffic cops and volunteers, they are doing us a big favor by managing the ever-growing mammoth traffic in Bangalore.
The Volvos are much more comfortable with AC & radio to drown the Bangalore traffic. Also sometimes they play Tom & Jerry cartoons over & over again on the display during the peak hours.
My post just sounds like a Volvo advt promotion post but believe me it just took the load off traveling on my own.
Do you get nervous standing being a first timer at a different bank’s ATM thinking about how the interface will be like (hoping the same as your old bank’s ATM interface) & how you would take out the cash with ease and take pride that you would have taken the least time inside the ATM than any of the members of the queue?
OK…i’m in, now what? i swipe the card, then i look at the monitor….stare to figure where to ‘touch’…i realize unlike PIPIP bank’s ATM there is no buttons alongside the monitor, should i press the numbers or should i touch the monitor?….yes it is the monitor…..boy, if they were recording me on the security cam, i’m sure they would have had a blast!! and i’m taking more time than usual!
People behind me might think what a ‘dork’ i am….keeping them waiting. The information architecture is similar so i have no problem navigating and then i do the needful of withdrawing the cash.
Now my dilemma is, am i out the system? (it is very clear in my previous bank’s ATM) what if i am not logged out? i can’t figure out from the screen because it is showing me something that i cant seem to comprehend …because i’m tensed about getting out there as fast as possible. Now i don’t want the next person behind me to come and withdraw all my cash right? so i press multiple buttons and leave!
what was that??
Did i just behave like that? or do people generally freak out every time they need to use a new system?
As more applications are moving on to the internet, it is getting more challenging to create user experiences for the non-IT savvy people.
10 Usability Nightmares You Should Be Aware Of is worthwhile read, found when i was browsing for more categories to be added to the customised usability checklist, while doing a Heuristic Evaluation of an application.