Each of every one of us experiences something at every moment. When you are surfing the Internet, you experience difference websites; when you eat at a restaurant, you experience the dishes and services; even when you talk to someone, you experience their communication styles. Your experience is what you feel; it’s personal, unique to YOU.
I design user experience in the Internet world, and love capturing different experiences in my life. It’s not hard to find experiences are not so pleasant:
- You rush into an elevator and press the button, only find out that what you pressed was the label — you mistakenly pressed the label because it looked like a big black button;
- You are in a hurry to pay for your parking. This parking meter is full of instructions, but you still cannot figure out how to use it;
- You received a perfectly wrapped package. But the wrapper is so perfect, so tight, that it’s so hard to open it (I’ve used my teeth to do this, just imagine that);
- You’re browsing a website, a survey window suddenly popped up. It says. “Thank you for agreeing to participate in this short survey. It should take only about 5 minutes to complete.” And you wonder, when did I agree? Why should I take 5 minutes of my life to complete this survey?
These problems are small, but they bother us, to some degree. They are like bee stings, not necessarily dangerous, but annoying if it happens often.
What about good experiences? They allow us to accomplish what we want to do smoothly. It is that simple. But if it’s that easy, why there are still so many unpleasant experiences in every corner of our lives. What makes the difference?
Here’s my experience of booking a flight. End of last year, I needed to book flight tickets to Florida. It was a couple of weeks before departure, and ticket prices were rising every minute. I was in such a hurry, that I decided to purchase tickets on my touch screen smart phone, on the ferry back home.
I opened the website, and the entire website crowded into my screen.
I did lots of pinching and zooming with my fingers, so that I can see the info clearly.
When it was time to pay, instead of the checkout page, it displayed a gazillion offerings that I didn’t need. I scrolled the page up and down several times, and finally found the tiny button to skip this page.
After this, to make long story short, I tried to pay 5 times, but the website was so slow and didn’t respond. I gave up. After 40 minutes. Feeling so frustrated, I switched to another website. Everything on the interface was big and clear.
When the page was loading, it offered me some quick tips. When it came to traveler information and payment.
The input boxes were big, and it was easy to type. I booked my tickets in 8 minutes.
40 minutes vs. 8 minutes, what makes the differences?
There are many reasons. The most important one is that the people or organizations that create the good experiences think a little more about their users, they care more about what their users would do, when they would do it and how they do it.
The 2nd website knew that I was on my phone. I used it, instead of my laptop, because I was on-the-go. It optimized everything for my phone screen. It made text big, the speed was fast, and no unnecessary info and that’s really what all I needed at that moment. They thought about users like me.
What about great experiences? Other than letting us accomplish what we want to do, they go a step farther. Maybe they add a little fun, maybe there’s something special that makes us smile, we enjoy it, we remember it, and we tell others about it.
It’s fun to stay at Disney World Resorts. When you arrive at your room after a long flight, a Mickey Mouse is waiting for you on your bed.
Snapchat is a smart phone application. Every time you refresh the page, instead of the boring page loader, you see a cute little dancer.
Business cards do not have to be boring. A simple message on the back can add a little sweetness to the other person’s day.
What’s the big deal to make experience good and great? Why should you care?
We’ve entered an era of overwhelming amount of choices. And experience will matter. It will become one of the key differentiators that separate you, your products and your services from rest of the competition.
Good experience makes our lives easier, and great experience make them enjoyable. In a sea of choices, do you stand out by providing such experiences?
It is time NOW to fix the unpleasant experience, improve the good, and strive to make it great. Enjoyize experience.
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I gave this as a short speech at my Toastmasters club, enjoy!
(You can also find this video on YouKu.com)