UX tip: make it easy to find
A couple of weeks ago, I stopped by the RV storage unit on my way home to drop off some sleeping bags we let family borrow. It was then I noticed the 29′ travel trailer was lop-sided.
That’s right. Somewhere along the way, the rear right tire flattened.
Well, I knew I wanted to move the travel trailer to a covered location. I’ve just been waiting for an opening, and sure enough, one came open the day after my flat-tire discovery. So, this past Saturday, I knew what my doom… er, weekend chore would be.
This immediately expedited the need for me to change out the tire. Mind you, I’ve never changed anything other than a truck or car tires for big vehicles. I reckoned it was the same changing an RV tire. But first, I would air up the tire to see if it would fill and hold for a spell.
After airing up the flat-tire with my air compressor out in the 100°F+ temperatures with no breeze and buzzards happily circling overhead, it worked! Now, I just needed to make sure the proper tire pressure was to specification including the other tires to ensure my travel the 6 miles south to the new location would be successful.
UX tip: be intentional and stick with the familiar
With most passenger vehicles, if you look at the driver’s door when opened, you’ll get the tire pressure you need. So, I searched there.
There was nothing in the door. There was nothing around the wheel well. So I tried again. Certainly, it would be on the control panel inside near the doorway then. Nope!
UX tip: don’t make them think
Ugh. So, against my better judgment, I decided to chance it. I backed up my truck and attached the trailer onto the hitch, attached the stabilizer bars, plugged in the trailer cord to the truck, and I was on the road.
I arrive on location, back up into my nice shaded spot. Thank goodness nothing happened along the way.
Ah, lovely shade. Yes, it was still hot – but as you can imagine, it was at least 10-20°F cooler! By now, I was given the gift of a migraine sun-induced headache that even the canteen I brought could not quench.
UX tip: don’t make finding it be an accident
As I always do when backing up, I stop short of the back wall and walk back to see how much room I have left when I don’t have someone guiding me. Sure enough, guess what I found adjacent to the rear-left turn signal light? That’s right. It was the the tire pressure specification sticker!
Minimize user frustration
Who in their right mind would think to put something so important like that in such an obscure place? Who, pray tell? That, my friends, is a lesson in a bad user experience (UX). I was the user. And, the experience flat out stunk.
UX tip: minimize risk (and danger!)
I needlessly took a chance driving with improperly inflated tires that I shouldn’t have had to take. It’s a safety issue. I was lucky. The next time, I might not be. I’ve seen YouTube videos of trailers turning over while going down the road. That could’ve been me!
Here’s what you should do
This lesson was a good reminder of why it’s important to have strong UX. In particular, these components were directly related to my situation:
- Findability – make it easy to find
- Consistency – by following standard real-world convention, there should be no guesswork or frustration when searching for something
- Usability – make it easy to use/utilize
- Readability – ensure your user base can easily read or view the contents
Regardless, you know the manufacturer of my travel trailer will be getting a suggestion from me. I just hope it doesn’t go into the junk pile as someone’s safety could be at play here.
Recommended Books On User Experience:
- Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products
by Nir Eyal
- Don’t Make Me Think, Revisited: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
by Steve Krug
- Sketching User Experiences: The Workbook
by Saul Greenberg
- The Elements of User Experience: User-Centered Design for the Web and Beyond
by Jesse James Garrett
- UX Strategy: How to Devise Innovative Digital Products that People Want
by Jaime Levy
Don earned his BA degree in Sociology with a minor in Communication Studies from Texas Tech University and has continued staying atop the latest technological advances. He's earned his User Experience Certification (UXC) and nearing completion of his UX Master Certification (UXMC) from the reknown Nielsen Norman Group (NN/g).
His works have been published in numerous publications including the New York Times and Houston Chronicle. Don also enjoys kayaking, traveling, photography, genealogy, his wife and two young daughters, and of course, his dog.