UX Trust

I've been paying a lot of attention to my behavior and expectations when using different kind of products. It may be web or mobile apps, but anything from a refrigeator to a car also delivers a user experience (UX) that you either like or dislike.

Let's start with a question: On your refrigerator, do you turn the knob clockwise (up) or counter-clockwise (down) to decrease the temperature?

I'm almost 100% sure that in order to lower the temperature you'll have to turn the knob clockwise (up). It's a classic mental vs. implementation model conflict, but the reason you need to turn it up is because what you adjust is the function of the frige, which is cooling. So when you turn up the function of cooling, you lower the temperature.

It's only because you're so technically ingrained that you even question this.

Let's try another one: In my car there's a four step knob to adjust the interval of the windscreen wiper. There's a little icon indicating a step by step increase towards the right.

If I want to decrease the interval (making the wipe more often), should I move it right or left?

One of the first times I drove the car in the rain, I thought I should move it left (towards the lower step of the icon). I wanted to decrease the time between each wipe, so lower should equal less time waiting?

Again, my way of thinking in implementation details is tricking me. I want to increase the function of the wipers, so of course I should move it right = more rain, more wiping, less time waiting.

A lot of these details you can find in most products are trivial stuff. But I bet that lots and lots of them took time and effort to really get right, some of them even user tests and design iterations going back and forth between options. It's not irrelevant if your car is easy to operate or it completely aligns with your thinking to make it feel natural.

Whenever I bump into UX details that is a little more complex I often repeats the action 4-5 times and just smiles of pure appreciation of the work that went into getting the result that just worked.

My favorite example of this is when re-dialing a number on the iPhone. First you have to type in a number on the keypad screen, dial it and then pretent you forgot something and hang up.

Then go to your favorites and call any number there (not the one you entered, though).

Then hang up and go back to the keypad screen and press the green dial button twice. Which number will you reach? The one you entered, or the most recent call from your favorites?

The one you entered, of course. It's re-dial - you didn't dial when you pressed to call your favorite person!

*smile*

Martin H. Normark

Product and UX Hacker. Web and iOS developer.

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