1. Read pages 1-52 of The Design of Everyday Things by Donald A. Norman [PDF]
2A. Have you ever fallen in love with an everyday object? Is there an object that you use every day or frequently that you appreciate for it’s touch, appearance or usability? Most of us have attachments to things. Post to your blog an object that appeals to you because of the way you interact with it. Describe the appeal of the object to you and analyze what you love about it and why. Here is an example.
2B. Also post to your blog an example of a frustrating user experience. This can be a physical or digital experience. Be prepared to share with the class the object you love, the experience that frustrates you and sketches of how you would fix the frustrating user experience. Think beyond the obvious digital interfaces but focus on everyday interactions.
3. Order a dominos Pizza and set up the Uber app and go for a ride. Enjoy both experiences and notice how well designed the Uber app is and how engaging the Dominos Pizza ordering experience is.
1. The reading was very interesting. The topics covered were affordances of objects, the importance of understanding the psychology of the user, the importance of relying on mental mapping and conceptual models, when and why people feel helpless, the four principles of good design — visibility, good conceptual models, good mapping, and feedback. Thinking about the user, you must think about their goal, intention, the world they are in, and the physical execution of the action.
2A. I’m in love with my sodastream. Firstly, it’s appealing because i love seltzer, but the experience of making the seltzer is pleasant – even fun. I fill the bottle to the waterline marked on the bottle. The waterline itself is a cute squiggle graphic – not a straight line.
The bottle is a great size to hold as well. Then, on the machine itself there are only two buttons. The first is a large black area the I push to tilt the head back, allowing me to screw the water bottle into the machine.
The black button is delightful too because it’s so big. Big buttons are fun to push. Then I screw the bottle on – there’s no question of if it’s on all the way or not. Then I press the only other button as many times as I like until I head a loud distinguishable noise. And of course the clear bottle allows me to see the bubbles. It’s an overall great experience and it encourages me to drink more water!
2B. One online service I’ve been using and frustrated by is codeacademy.com. At first glance it’s a super slick UI, seems smart and easy to use. They definitely have good aesthetics that feel current. However, when doing the most recent tutorial about ‘git’ I have a few frustrations. I’m realizing that their mapping is not great. There are certain sections of the tutorial where they are simulating a terminal window for you, but they do not make that explicit. Just framing the dark area inside a terminal window would help.
Then, the left sidebar makes the same mistake over and over again – They don’t differentiate between the ‘just read’ area and the ‘follow these instructions’ area. So you find yourself following the instructions only to realize that the instructions below are actually a bit different than the code (that looks like you should copy paste it) above. Then, they won’t let you move forward until you’ve completed the step you’re on, but in some cases it’s very unclear what you have done wrong, so you dont know how to move forward and you have to email them or go to their help forum.
3A. Ordering a Pizza — I am a huge fan of Seamless Web, so I have not ordered directly from an individual company in a long time. I was excited to try the dominos ordering system because it was recommended by our teacher as a ‘delightful UX’ experience. Sadly, it was the opposite. Every step of the way was a pain point. Firstly, going to the home page was a mess, there were walls of text, images didn’t pop or entice me, and I could barely spot the order button.
Once I found the ‘order now button’ an actual popup appeared. It had three options and two were indistinguishable (image below).
Then I realized i had entered into some coupon offer, but I kept going. I was shown the headers of a menu, but not the menu items.
I had to toggle them all open one by one. I finally selected pizza and was shown a picture of a pizza. Here was a missed opportunity for some fun UI. Why not let me drag the diameter of the pizza to turn it from a medium to a large? Why not let me drag the toppings I wanted on? There are lots of fun things they could have done here instead of the default drop down of sizes. Once I finally completed the order there was a funny ‘pizza tracker’ and it was definitely pleasant to see the steps of progress from ‘your pizza maker is Sebastian’ and ‘Sebastian just put your pizza in the oven’ and ‘The delivery is on its way’. Then came the physical interaction. I was unaware of if I was supposed to tip the driver or not. I looked back on the site and there was a small disclaimer that the tip was not included but there was a delivery fee. And it was not made clear if I could put the tip on my credit card or not, so i gave him cash when he arrived. He was a bicyclist and he had to wear this terrible covering over his helmet that said Dominos. I felt that was tacky and I sort of felt like he was a walking advertisement for Dominos. Being on the bike is one thing but the helmet was weird.
3B. Uber – I love Uber, except for the price surges. All of my Uber experiences have been wonderful and seamless. Its amazing to not exchange money. It’s amazing to see a map of your driver approaching your location. It’s amazing to know that the driver has GPS and is taking the fastest route. AND it’s amazing to be in a cab service and not be worried about the meter ticking up. The digital and physical interaction were both great.
3Bonus. I had a terrible Lyft ride recently and the only way I can describe it is ‘when the algorithm goes bad.’ It was a very cold and snowy night in Brooklyn. I called a Lyft and got a text message saying ‘Driver is Here. Be Ready’ so I went outside, looked at the app, and the animation of the driver showed him driving away. Then, the driver cancelled the ride. When I went back into the app to call another ride, the price had gone up by $7. My assumption is that the driver saw the fare change and wanted more money. I checked it a gain a few seconds later and the fare had gone down $3. I ended up waiting in the cold for a while and had to pay the $7 extra.