Who here likes coffee???
Imagine a cold winter Monday morning. And because its Seattle, imagine a cold, windy, rainy winter Monday morning. You reach office and the first thing you want is a hot cup of coffee. Lets assume you want Latte (I know you want Espresso shots – but my game, my rules). Honestly, I just have screen shots for Latte so will have to play along with that.
Continuing with our game, you tap ‘latte’ and it brings up the screen below:
What do you think Coffee1 and Coffee2 on the screen means? Think about it before you look at the answer.
I did a short impromptu usability study on this at work, asking people about what Coffee1 and coffee2 stands for? I said I am new in the organization and confused about the machine. Everyone was kind enough to guide me and some also shared stories of having the same dilemma.
Most people said that for months they thought that if you press coffee 1, the coffee maker dispenses coffee from left side and if you press coffee 2, the coffee maker dispenses coffee from right side. That was my first guess too. But soon I realized that even if I switch the position of my cup to right side and press 1, it still dispenses coffee in my cup.
So actually, coffee 1 and coffee 2 are simply two types of coffee, boxes of which are hidden behind the coffee machine (Seems so obvious now. right!).
This short experiment taught me many things:
- User don’t see all the options, they click on the first option they think we will do the trick. In this case if anyone looked at all the options, the last two options would have cleared the doubt to certain extent (because they don’t say coffee 1 or coffee 2).
- Users don’t want to think about these petty everyday things. When my colleague said that Coffee 1 dispensed coffee from left nozzle, I said then why wont they write left and right instead of coffee 1 and coffee 2.
- Some navigation and solutions seem so obvious to us. I bet those of you who did not stop to think about the right answer and kept reading through must be thinking – “Of course they are types of coffee what else would it be” but I bet most of us would commit the same mistake as my colleagues did.
This experiment cannot stress enough the importance of usability testing and how it can impact both – users and businesses – positively.
As I am writing this article I am thinking: why does this machine has two dispensers if only one user can use it at a time? Need to find out! An experiment for next time maybe.