A few years ago I managed an online Calendar service. One of the biggest buttons on the front page was titled “Add a Birthday”. It was huge, bold and you just couldn’t miss it. Or so I thought. I kept getting emails from users asking me “How do I add a Birthday in your calendar”. It was extremely frustrating to me to just keep replying “You add a birthday by clicking the big ‘add a birthday’ button’.
Then one day I sat down and had a few users work with my website in front of me. I didn’t guide them but just watched as they browsed around and tried stuff. Then I found out that people thought that the way to add a birthday to a calendar was by double clicking the calendar. They kept double clicking and after trying it three times they would turn around and say “I don’t understand how to add a birthday”.
It was an amazing experience and taught me a lot about how people interact with technology.
You would think that the iPhone is the easiest and most user friendly device there is. But check out this slideshow with a test on how people really use the iPhone if they don’t have any prior experience with the device. Some of the slides will make no sense but most ‘mistakes’ are actually very logical. Does a looking glass represent ‘Search’ or ‘Zoom in’? Is the ‘Plus’ sign to enlarge something or to add stuff?
It is more proof of how extremely hard it is to predict what people actually want and think. Enjoy!