I have been obsessed with user experience for a long time.
Except for most of that time I didn’t know how to label it.
I would just get very passionate about how things interacted. I hated anything that made me stop to think or make mistakes through normal usage.
Early chip-based point-of-sales systems, like the one pictured here, had me triggered to frustration.
When you inserted your card to pay the screen would read:
Any shopper in a rush would be anxiously holding on their card waiting for the payment to process so they could remove it.
But from their peripheral they could read the bottom line on the terminal screen.
Most of the time I had my wits about me and knew it was just part of the whole message (the part I wanted to see). But other times I acted more instinctively and yanked my card out of the machine as directed, cancelling my transaction.
When I would complain to peers the response would invariably be that it was my own fault. The machine was working as designed and I was making the mistake.
But I know now what I didn’t know then.
A product is not designed for the user if the user can so readily make mistakes using it.
If the manufacturers had done a little field research they might have caught this problem. Perhaps one of their designers might have suggested a new set of instructions for the limited-character display.
Or some variation of clear instruction that could not be misconstrued by peripheral vision.
When i started to learn about user experience for the web I reflected back on my experience using these old terminals and the frustrations they caused me.
They were the first time I was getting really passionate about user experience.
If you are as passionate about UX as me, what negative or positive experience set you off?