It is great when you can take situations in your everyday life and relate them to the web.
First, I am going to discuss a well designed product with one major problem that I used to use daily. Then I will discuss how we can use experiences from our every day lives to make the web a better place.
So, my parents have this Bosch dishwasher that they bought a few years ago. It really was awesome. It is super quiet, cleans well, and has a nice stainless steel finish. In the store and online, this thing looks great, and it’s easy to see why my parents bought it. But, there is just one big flaw…
As you can see by the photo, this is as slick as a dishwasher can get. The nice clean front with no buttons or switches to get in the way, its looks really nice. Since it’s so quiet when it runs, you don’t hear all those horrible dish-washing sounds.
This is where the major problem comes in. It’s so quiet, that you don’t even realize it’s running. You have to open the door to see the control panel on the top of the door.
It’s nice to have that out of view and gives the kitchen a sleek design. But there is no external display that lets you know that the dishwasher is running. There is no lock on the door for when it is running.
So how could this have been solved?
How about: thorough, in-home product testing? I’m sure they had a test dishwasher setup, and I bet they knew how long it took to run. They didn’t need to open it to see if it was still running. But if they had a regular person testing it, I’m sure they would encounter the same problem that I did.
How is This Related to the Web?
This shows the importance of having users not close to the development of the site or application to be there to test. Just thinking about things like this remind you to slow down and make sure everything is tested thoroughly.
Steve Krug is the master of usability testing and shows the true value of it. A simple example that he gave when I went to An Event Apart was to go to Magazines.com and to “buy” a subscription to The New Yorker without using the search.
It takes a while. A little too long.
So everyone, test your web sites and applications…or you might just open the dishwasher and have all the water run out.
Think About It
Can you think of other “problems” from your everyday life that could improve the way you develop websites?